Surfers Against Sewage Highlight Waveriders Concerns At All Energy 2011 Conference
Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) ensured the UK’s waveriding community was represented at the UK’s largest renewables event, All-Energy 2011. The campaigners were decked out in fluorescent wetsuits and with 9ft luminous pink and yellow surfboards. Campaigners greeted delegates with two groundbreaking SAS reports outlining the potential impacts that wave and tidal energy devices may have if sited too close to sites of special surfing interest (SSSIs).
The flamboyant fluorescent campaigners thrust SAS’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) guidance and WAR report into the hands of delegates as they entered the conference, whilst the beach boys blasted out of their ipod. Then the surfers caused a real stir inside the exhibition centre. Heads turned as a 6ft bright pink surfboard with an equally bright surfer moved amongst the grey suited developers. Once the delegate’s attention was grabbed, the campaigners reminded everyone about important Sites of Special Surfing Interest (SSSIs) and outlined how best to protect them, whilst ensuring offshore renewable projects get in the water. The overwhelming response was extremely positive, however SAS will continue to be vigilant with the offshore energy industry.
SAS have recently identified several potential wave energy projects that could seriously impact on the world-class waves that lie in their ‘shadow’. SAS are lobbying the offshore energy industry to ensure that they recognise waveriders as significant coastal stakeholders and acknowledge sites of special surfing interest. An inappropriately placed offshore energy site could have a multitude of negative impacts on surfing waves, including; shutting down the tube, closing out the wave and even making the wave totally unsurfable.
Although SAS secured a significant victory in the Scottish Marine Bill they remain concerned that waveriders are being ignored or disregarded by the offshore renewable industry. The UK has an abundance of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, harnessing this sustainable and reliable energy is vital if we are to meet our legally binding carbon reduction targets set down in the Climate Act (2008). However, there are a finite amount of quality and popular surfing sites. These Sites of Special Surfing Interest should be taken into account at the earliest stages of planning for these offshore developments. There is the space for both waveriders and the offshore energy industry to operate in harmony and get what they both need from the sea.
SAS hand delivered delegates their recently released Waves Are Resources (WAR) Report. The WAR report outlines the social and economic value of a wave, not only to the surfers and waveriders but also to the entire community. You can download a copy of the WAR Report here.
And campaigners also handed out the SAS Guidance On Environmental Impact Assessment Of Offshore Renewable Energy Development On Surfing Resources And Recreation, written for developers to help incorporate surfing into the current Environmental Impact Assessment process (EIA). This will produce a more robust EIA without being more onerous and should help put energy projects in the water quicker. You can download a copy of the guidance here.
SAS have an impressive track record of strongly supporting wave and tidal energy over the years. Climate Change will have a major impact on surfers around the UK.
SAS Campaign Director Andy Cummins says: “There are a finite amount of sites of special surfing interest and we need the offshore energy industry to engage with the surfing community in order that we can understand how best to avoid conflict, as they look to harness the abundance of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy.”
For more information on this story contact Andy Cummins on 07711 767 548