November 2022 Monthly Members Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>>,

Welcome to the November Ramsgate Society Newsletter which this month includes an unusually large number of activities and updates with an environmental emphasis. The main exception is our Advent Doors celebration on December 8th and, for those in Ramsgate or nearby we hope to see as many of you as possible. In the case of inclement weather there will be a marquee erected so please don’t let any rain put you off.

Terry Prue

The Goodwin Sands saved from dredging

Photo: The Hiker

A year ago, in November 2021 we resumed our talks programme after the Covid restrictions with a presentation led by Joanna Thomson of the Goodwin Sands Preservation Trust. This talk included the threat from marine aggregate extraction and we are sure those of you who attended this event will be particularly pleased that on 14th October 2022 the Port of Dover announced that it had abandoned its plans to dredge the Goodwin Sands for landfill for their Dover Western Docks development.

The campaign against proposed sand mining on the Goodwins began in 2016 by the Deal based group Goodwin Sands SOS. A petition delivered to No.10 Downing Street in October 2016 attracted over 12,000 signatures. Following three public consultations, the Marine Management Organisation granted Dover Harbour Board (DHB) their marine aggregate extraction licence in 2018, just one week after the Goodwin Sands were designated a Marine Conservation Zone.

In 2019 Goodwin Sands SOS brought a Judicial Review, held at the High Court in London, which it lost. Undaunted, the grass-roots community group continued campaigning and carrying out important research. This research identified several flaws in the data used, leading to an ‘unreliable’ conclusion that previous dredging had not lowered bank levels, thereby reducing the protection the Goodwins give to the vulnerable East Kent foreshore.

The aggregate extraction licence is due to expire on 31st December 2022. Since dredging has not yet started it would have been necessary for Dover Harbour Board to apply for an extension if it still wanted to take sand from the Goodwins. However, they have announced that they will not be applying for a licence extension and will be sourcing the required aggregate from elsewhere.

SOS campaign co-ordinator Joanna Thomson (yes, the same person who gave our talk) explained ‘We are obviously delighted that the Port of Dover has decided not to extract sand from the Goodwins. This is the right decision for them, the local community and the Goodwin Sands, sending a strong message that cost neutral alternatives can be found and that development does not always have to be at the expense of our environment. We would like to thank the hundreds of people who have supported us and encouraged us to keep going over the past six and half years – this has been a huge joint effort and everyone involved should feel very proud of what has been achieved. We would like to wish the Port of Dover every success in the next stage of their redevelopment and hope that we can work with them in the future to promote the environmental and historical importance of this unique maritime area’.

The Goodwin Sands Conservation Trust will continue to promote the environmental and historical importance of the Sands through talks, pop up displays and creating learning materials for Kent primary schools. It is also working with local authorities to ensure proper legislation is put in place to prevent the Goodwins from being the target of further development plans.

John Walker

Advent Doors – Thursday 8th December 2022

“Push the Boat Out” at Ramsgate Maritime Museum, Clock House, Pier Yard, Royal Harbour Ramsgate CT11 8LS from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Photo: Hugh Llewelyn – Flickr

Come and support the 8th December Advent Door hosted by The Ramsgate Society outside the Maritime Museum, which will be lit up for everyone to enjoy! Listen to salty sea stories of the high seas and join in with rousing sea shanties. Sample some festive ship’s biscuits and get merry with a tot of sailors’ grog – everyone guaranteed to have a great time as well as supporting a local charity through cash donations on the evening.

Get your free tickets on Eventbrite

Drop in anytime you like between 6:30 pm and 8.00 pm and stay as long as you like.

For further details on other Advent Doors 2022 please go to Facebook Page Advent Doors 2022.

If anyone would like to hold an Advent Door the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 13th and 20th December are still available. It doesn’t have to be a ‘mega’ experience, it’s an opportunity for people to come and stand outside your house and chat whilst admiring your creative seasonal decorations. If you wish to participate, please leave a message on FB Advent Doors, or contact Sue Gyde.

Sue Gyde and Irene Seijo

Manston Development Consent Order: Progress on a Second Judicial Review

For those of you following this important and long running saga, an update (as at 3rd November) might be useful to members.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, in August the Development Consent Order (DCO) was granted, by the Secretary of State for Transport, for a second time. Jenny Dawes decided yet again to contest this decision. Lawyers prepared a Statement of Facts and Grounds and an application was submitted on her behalf, and accepted by the court on 29 September 2022 for Permission for Judicial Review of the retaken decision.

The grounds for seeking a JR this time around are “Inadequate consideration of climate change impacts and legally flawed analysis on the need for the airport”. A new ‘Crowdjustice’ website has been set up to raise funds to pay legal fees for this second JR campaign.

At the end of October, the Government Legal Department submitted their Summary Grounds of Defence and a day or so later RSP filed their Summary Grounds of Resistance. In both cases they are arguing in favour of the ‘qualitative’ evidence of ‘need’ submitted by consultant Sally Dixon of Azimuth for RSP. Last week the ministerial briefings finally arrived with the lawyers. Among the attachments was a draft DCO letter arguing in favour of the Azimuth report and effectively denying any impact on climate change.

Within the next two or three weeks, a single judge will decided whether there is an arguable case for JR. If permission is granted, then fundraising via the new ‘Crowdjustice’ website, will need to ramp up to cover what will inevitably be substantial legal fees. The hearing should take place no later than six months after the claim was issued, that is by March 2023.

Richard Oades

A New Face on the Ramsgate Society Executive Committee: Phil Shotton

In the June newsletter we included a request to find someone to join the executive committee of the Society to lead on climate change and the green agenda. The briefwas to find a person to advise us on the ways in which we can raise awareness of climate change, sustainability and the green agenda and help to ensure that these considerations are integrated into the Society’s workplans.

We are pleased to now be able to announce that Phil Shotton has agreed to join us and take on this task. He describes himself as a ‘rational scientist’, with a degree in Zoology and a Masters and PhD in Pharmacology, leading to an early career in Pharmaceutical Research. He then changed track to software development, ending up running R&D for two software companies before starting his own consultancy which continues today.

He is interested in smart electronics, particularly in home automation, coupled with a passion for sustainability and energy efficiency, with practical experience (and some knowledge) of solar thermal and PV, heat pumps, energy stores and smart controls. He has been following the science on climate change for more than 25 years and bemoans the lack of action fostered by vested interests.

He describes his main passion to be to use his knowledge and practical skills to encourage, agitate and generally work to foster systemic change to address the climate emergency. At an individual level that involves informing and assisting with simple things that people can do to improve their own footprint, while more widely campaigning to change the behaviour of business and government to look beyond the next financial results to changing the ways in which our energy supplies are produced and used.

Terry Prue

Wildlife Appreciation Opportunities Locally

1. Winter Wildlife Celebration at Pegwell Bay: Saturday November 26th

We are delighted to pass on an invitation to celebrate the wonderful wildlife of Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve with experts from Kent Wildlife Trust, Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, Thanet Coast Project, and Bird Wise East Kent. Alongside guided walks, scavenger hunts and seasonal craft making, there will be opportunities for all to discover more about the fascinating birdlife and marine mammals that rely on this protected area over winter.

There are a range of free events at different times throughout the day suitable for both adults and children, experts and beginners.

Click here for details and to register to attend

2. Join a team of Kent Wildlife Trust ambassadors helping to increase public awareness at Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve.

If you think you could offer one day a week to help others to understand:

  • which areas they should avoid for the good of the birds that depend upon the site,
  • how they can help reduce disturbance levels,
  • more about the rich wildlife found in this special place.
Click here to learn more about the role and training offered to volunteers

Protest about Sewage Outflows on Local Beaches

Sue Gyde Photo Steven Collis

At the end of October demonstrations took place on Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate Beaches to demand action is taken over Southern Water sewage outfalls into our seas.

The Isle of Thanet News coverage of the event and a prior response from Southern Water can be read here.

Finally, Another Free Event on Saturday November 26th

We’ll let the poster speak for itself…

Contact the Ramsgate Society

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