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Call for water sports ban at estuary

PUBLISHED: 15:16 20 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:26 05 July 2010

Council bosses are set to discuss the possibility of banning water-skiing and speed boats in one of the most beautiful spots on the north Suffolk coast.

Council bosses are set to discuss the possibility of banning water-skiing and speed boats in one of the most beautiful spots on the north Suffolk coast.

Campaigners have been fighting for a ban on water sports at the Blyth Estuary for a decade and urged the two councils which control the area - Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district councils - to meet up and tackle the issue head on.

The Environment Agency has tabled plans to withdraw flood defence maintenance at the estuary, and local residents and volunteers, who have been working to repair the defences themselves, have said that water-skiing further damages the river banks.

The councils have now agreed to discuss any appropriate action. Suffolk Coastal controls the part of the river used by water-skiers but Waveney controls the slipway used to get into the water.

However, a spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said environment bosses could also have a say over any restrictions: “While the council has the powers to restrict speed limits because of the safety of bathers, it is currently thought that the power to restrict speed limits for reasons of potential damage to flood defences would rest with the Environment Agency, but this is another matter that the meeting will attempt to resolve.”

A spokesman for Waveney said: “Waveney District Council is not in a position to stop water-skiing as it is not in its jurisdiction. However, we have taken on board environmental concerns and are seeking to meet with officers at Suffolk Coastal to discuss the effect powered water-craft may be having on this stretch of the river.

“Waveney is looking to work in partnership with Suffolk Coastal on reviewing the current position as well as the implications for powered water-craft and any resulting impact on provisions at Southwold Harbour.”

Sue Allen, chairman of the Blyth Estuary Group, said it was vital that the councils considered the environmental impact of water activities on the estuary.

“The councils will talk about water-skiing and also the speed boats - neither of these activities does the banks or the saltings any good,” said Mrs Allen.

“With all the local efforts that have taken place at the estuary, I feel it should be stopped for the time

being.

“This is an emergency situation that calls for emergency action.”

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