The dredging was carried out under a Licence drafted and signed by the Penwith District Council with the approval of Hayle Council. Natural England and the Environment Agency provided consultancy on the Licence. The Licence ran from May 2008 to May 2010. As the licence ended, ING's dredging contractors gorged on the estuary and beach. In the final quarter of the licence over 16,000 tonnes were removed over a three month period in one zone in proximity to the Beach; anything up to 800 tonnes was being extracted on some days by a suction dredger operating both tides and a mechanical digger and truck during daylight hours in narrow and sensitive zones.
Stark warnings were given by members of the local community and organisations such as SOS Hayle, St Ives Bay that as a consequence of the removal and sale of sand the beach level was being lowered, allowing wave action to access higher zones of the foreshore and beach and that accelerated erosion would result. Sadly these warnings were ignored.
To compound matters the Dune which helped support the beach is now retreating at an alarming rate with decades of growth of Marram grass and Sea Buckthorn which helped hold the Dune together tumbling into the sea on a daily basis. Behind the dunes are residences which will also be threatened if the dune retreat is not arrested. The symbiotic relationship between the beach and dune has been snapped; this once magnificent beach is dead; the dune is dying at an alarming rate.
One beach, Avalon, has gone. The dune which once helped protect the beach is in crisis.
The objective of the Petition is to ensure this NEVER happens again and to COMPEL those responsible for the protection and preservation of the magnificent beach and dune systems of St Ives Bay to meet their collective responsibilities in the future.