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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 20:44 GMT 21:44 UK
Surf reef could be ready in 2008
Boscombe Pier
The planned surf reef could bring thousands of surfers to the area
Europe's first artificial surf reef could be ready next year after an agreement was reached with fishermen.

The 1.4m reef along Boscombe seafront in Dorset could attract up to 10,000 surfers each year to the area.

Fishermen objected to the plans over fears about fish stocks and the environmental effects on the area.

Now the council has pledged to work with the fishermen and marine ecologists at Bournemouth University on monitoring the project.

Building in the reef will involve submerging huge sand-filled bags to create waves up to 13ft (4m) high, doubling the number of good surfing days to about 150 each year.

The public has waited patiently with us as we go through the lengthy but essential process for this landmark project, but the reef will be worth the wait
Roger Brown
Bournemouth Borough Council

Bournemouth Borough Council said that the reef will have, at worse, a neutral effect on the environment and marine life is likely to thrive on the reef with no damage caused to the beach.

The council has been engaged in talks with fishing bodies and said it has reached an "agreement in principle" on the reef's construction and future monitoring arrangements.

Richard Stride, chairman of the South Coast Fishermen's Council, said: "The continuing liaison between the council and fishermen is quite positive and our concerns have, in principle, been addressed."

The reef was due to be installed between May and August and ready to use by September this year.

12 months late

But delays in the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) granting a licence for the scheme because of the fishermen's complaints, means work could not begin and the reef will not be ready until next summer, almost 12 months behind schedule.

Roger Brown, head of leisure services at Bournemouth Borough Council, said: "The public has waited patiently with us as we go through the lengthy but essential process for this landmark project, but the reef will be worth the wait."

There are already artificial surf reefs in Australia and New Zealand with another being built in America, but the Boscombe reef would be the first in Europe and the northern hemisphere.

It is part of an 8m surfing themed regeneration project, the Boscombe Spa Village scheme.

Fishermen delay surf reef plans
20 Jul 07 |  Dorset

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