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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 13:49 GMT
Reef backers move to allay fears
Surfing at Newquay
The reef would create much bigger waves for surfers
Investors behind plans for an artificial surf reef off Cornwall have moved to calm local people's fears about the scheme.

Newquay Artificial Reef Company wants to construct the reef off Tolcarne beach at Newquay to improve surfing conditions.

Fishermen and local rowing enthusiasts fear the estimated 6m scheme will ruin the bay.

But the backers say the project will not go ahead without a detailed consultation period.

Surfer
Fistral is one of the UK's top surfing beaches
Project environmental engineer Anthony Weight said the scheme would not be to the detriment of the bay.

"It is quite natural that regular users of the harbour are going to be apprehensive over this," he said.

"But we have made sure that issues such as safety and the effect on the environment are looked at very carefully."

Bigger waves

He said the reef could provide a multi-million pound boost to the Cornish economy by creating perfect year-round surfing waves.

Newquay's Fistral beach is already one of Europe's top wave-riding spots.

But a study by New Zealand marine consultants ASR showed the reef could provide even bigger waves.

Under their own index for wave quality, the reef's waves would be rated as seven against Fistral's four.

Family beach

Local fisherman Dave Trebilcock, however, fears the size of the waves will put off parents with children going to the beach.

"Tolcarne is a family beach and I think the scheme is a non-starter for that location.

"If they suggested Fistral beach, it would be okay," he said.

The reef would be constructed by dropping scores of sand-filled textile bags into the sea.

The proposals have received support from the Environment Agency and South West Tourism.


Click here to go to BBC Cornwall
See also:

02 Nov 02 | England
27 Jul 02 | England
17 Oct 01 | England
05 Oct 01 | England
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