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Permission Sought for Dredging Trial

News -Falmouth

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 8:01am 8th April 2012

The bid to dredge Falmouth harbour step up a gear.

Bosses have applied for permission to do a trial.

They want experts to study the impact on the environment of digging a deeper channel for things like cruise liners.

David Ellis from the Harbour Commissioners said:

"We are confident that the science will prove that this dredging can go ahead and at the end of it we are looking at in excess of eight hundred jobs being created within the next two or three years and the opportunity to grow and give jobs for the future.

"We are committed to making sure we look after the environment but we also take account of the socio-economic impact. If we don't carry out this dredging the port won't close immediately but the business will pass us by".

Plans to dredge the harbour have been held up because of concerns about the impact of moving maerl, a calcified seaweed that covers the seabed in parts of the Fal, and the effect this could have on the aquatic species living in it.

The trial will see layers of maerl moved to the surface to be temporarily stored. It will then be re-laid in the location it was taken from.

Samples taken before and after will determine what impact this has.

The project is being headed up by Professor Martin Attrill from Plymouth University:

"We'll be going down with divers, taking samples to have a look at how the maerl on the seabed has survived and the organisms that are living within it. The data that we provide will go to the Marine Management Organisation and they can make a decision about whether this is a suitable methins which will allow the dredging to go ahead".

He says it is a world first and could mean Falmouth leads the way for future projects:

"If it does work and provides the vital evidence that the Marine Management Organisation requires then this can be seen as a pioneering project which can help inform other controversial projects like this in the future".

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