We can reveal that Marine Minerals Limited (MML) has unlawfully undertaken the first significant works associated with their dredging proposal. Considering St Ives Bay is one of only 3 sites Marine Minerals Limited is applying to dredge, they are either incompetent or negligent in failing to apply for the necessary permission to carry out their sampling under the Coastal Protection Act 1949.
SAS has serious concerns about the project and how Marine Minerals Limited is operating. Marine Minerals Limited is simultaneously making very limited information available whilst they and their PR agency are promoting unsubstantiated claims. Marine Minerals Limited is yet to announce the method of dredging they will use to remove tens of millions of tonnes of sediment from the North Cornish coast, or how they have arrived at the number of jobs they believe their proposed activity will create. Without this information SAS and other stakeholders cannot identify the level of environmental impact that will be felt at the coast or the true number of established jobs that could be threatened or new employment that might be generated within the county.
Marine Minerals Limited has no excuse for not securing the appropriate licences before undertaking the seabed sampling work within St Ives Bay. SAS not only referenced the Coastal Protection Act 1949 but also even named the licencing authority in their response to Marine Minerals Limited’s scoping opinion. The Marine Management Organisation also clearly stated in relation to every license they grant that they “…would further advise you that the issue of this licence does not absolve you from seeking any other consents or approvals which may be required before you embark upon the work to which it refers.” It’s clear that the responsibility to ensure all licences and permissions falls with the applicant, Marine Minerals Limited.
SAS are pleased that Cornwall Council is in the process of writing to both the MMO and Marine Minerals Limited setting out that it fully expects to that should Marine Minerals Limited wish to conduct either further sampling runs, or a larger scale extraction of materials from the sea bed, it is to first to get permission from Cornwall Council for this extraction as the licensing authority under the 2002 Order. However, SAS are extremely disappointed that a prosecution is not being sought.
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Carrying out these works without the relevant permissions, as Marine Minerals Limited has, are not the actions of a responsible developer. Showing such blatant disregard for the environment and the licencing authorities demonstrates why SAS is right to have serious concerns about this proposal. The North Cornish coast is too valuable to allow irresponsible and unprofessional operators to carry out potentially devastating works.
Andy Cummins, SAS Campaign Director
North Coast Protection Association (NCPA) are disappointed, but not surprised to learn of this development. Already we are aware of the countless contradictions made by Marine Minerals Ltd (MML) in their public relations and application documents which can only be seen as disingenous at best. We continue to have serious concerns that this company does not act in a professional way and the potential loss of jobs, and damage to the environment are simply too great to allow the project to go ahead.
A spokesperson from the North Coast Protection Association
I am sad to say that this description fits with our experience of Marine Minerals Limited. Marine Minerals Limited forced Cornwall Seal Group to work to extremely short deadlines of a few days because Marine Minerals Limited had booked a sampling boat before having obtained their original MMO sampling license.
Cornwall Seal Group co-ordinator