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Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 14:40 GMT
What people are saying
This web page is part of a BBC News Online effort to explore new ways of covering grassroots civic activity in the UK. We asked our users to tell us of their activities and chose a handful of these campaigns to follow over the next few months. If you want to know more about this experiment, please
This is what News Online users are saying about the Gower SOS campaign:
Gower beaches must be preserved for future generations to enjoy them as we have done.
Gower is a priceless jewel in our nation's treasures and both local and national governments should have its preservation and the preservation of sites like it at the top of their agenda. We MUST stop damaging the natural environment. Dredging should be stopped.
This issue is something that has made my blood boil for some time. I totally agree with the 'precautionary principle' i.e. no more sand dredging until the matter is fully investigated. What can I do? Every year more rocks appear on the Gower beaches. At Llangennith a new shipwreck has even been uncovered. I'm mad!
While there is ANY doubt on the matter there should be a complete stop to dredging for short-term commercial gain in order to assess the effect this has on the pattern of loss on these irreplaceable assets for South Wales' population and tourists.
I have been coming to Gower since the 1960s and lived here since 1975. It offers a resource enjoyed and loved by locals and many from round the UK and the world. There is a difference in sand levels, we shouldn't lose something so vital and splendid through ignorance or apathy. Stop the dredging.
Stop the dredging. Over the last 20 years the beaches on the Gower peninsula have been getting less and less sandy. Let's make more people aware of the damage that is being done to this beautiful and unique area.
I spent many happy childhood days on the Gower beaches and I want to be sure that my young children can enjoy them as much as I did. No more dredging!
When I was young, I spent a fortnight every summer in Swansea staying with my grandparents. Now I have moved back to the area, and in the forty years that have gone past the difference in the amount of sand on the beaches is unmistakable (and it's not just my memory playing tricks !).
I have been visiting Porteynon regularly every Spring/Summer for the last 25 years firstly with my parents and now with my children. The change in the appearance of the beaches at Porteynon and Horton has been very noticeable especially over the last 20 years with more rock and less sand being present across the whole beach area. The change at Horton and Porteynon is severe and in my opinion changing more rapidly year upon year and needs urgent attention if Wales is to continue to attract tourism.
I wholeheartedly support the campaign. As someone who sails along the Gower coast frequently, I am at a loss to know why dredging should be allowed to put the coast of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at risk. It may be difficult to prove the connection 'scientifically', but to anyone who lives in the area with good eyesight and a good memory, it's obvious.
An area of outstanding natural beauty on our doorstep, and we are allowing it to be destroyed beyond repair! The dredging needs to stop, or we will lose our beautiful coastline forever!
Having grown up a few minutes drive from the beautiful beaches of the Gower peninsula, the dredging that is occurring at the moment is a subject that is of concern to me. The dredging must stop before some of our beaches disappear altogether.
I am in full support of the campaign to halt the dredging off the Gower coast until it is established what the reason for the loss of sand is due to. I live in Swansea and have been visiting many of the Gower beaches and coves from the early 1950's. In that time there has been considerable loss of sand. If things continue we will have permanently lost some of the best beaches in Wales.
I have lived in Swansea for 34 years. The sea has become cleaner, but now the sand is disappearing due almost certainly to dredging. The only way to be sure is stop dredging and see the difference over several years. Once the reputation of Gower for fine beaches is damaged the local economy will inevitably suffer. Sand can be 'mined' on land.
I have grown up living in Gower and remember beaches covered in thick layers of golden sand. Many of Gower's beaches have become so depleted of this resource that it is quite evident with the naked eye, without measuring in any way that thousands of tonnes have been washed out.
Port-Eynon beach is a case in point. Until a few years ago this was one of the most popular beaches in the peninsula, due to the beauty and relative safety of the bay, and the deep sand, which was so good for children playing.
Nowadays, there are large areas of fossil forest and mud flats exposed where there once was sand. Changing both the physical view of the beach, and the possibilities for activities.
I've been going to Gower for holidays for more than 30 years. One beach in particular - Mewslade - was always a favourite. However, it's become increasingly barren and rocky over the last few years. This isn't just my imagination - photos taken in the past prove it. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realise there's probably a link between offshore sand dredging and sandless beaches.
I have surfed the Gower for the last 20 years and there is very little doubt in my mind that there has been a dramatic decrease in the quantity of sand covering some of the most beautiful beaches the UK has to offer.
The dredging companies claim this is just part of the natural cyclical process, but I find it worrying that this so called "natural" process has coincided with the dramatic increase in dredging of the sandbanks in the area.
SOS have been doing excellent work raising awareness of the issues and linking this both to action on the ground to improve the situation, and practical steps that supporters can take. I would like to fully commend their work!
I am so glad that you have found space for this important local issue. We are loosing our beaches and only SOS seem to be making a stand.
I fully support the SOS campaign, I haven't been to any of the events but I have felt strongly enough about the issue to write to the Assembly about this issue. As a surfer and a resident of Swansea it is apparent to me that we are losing our precious beeches and the eventually this will drive tourism out of the Gower.
I know these beaches well. While it may be hard to prove a link between dredging and sand loss the precautionary principle should be used. Take no risks; stop the dredging!
My organisations the North Sea Action Group and MARINET are running campaigns to try to stop offshore aggregate dredging which is destroying our coastline, sand cliffs, salt marshes and beaches, and destroying many of our coastal bungalows and houses without a hope of insuring or of any compensation. Please read the whole story on our
Pat Gowen, UK
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