River Basin and Flood Risk plans – Environment Agency consultations

The Environment Agency is seeking views on proposals to improve the water environment and protect communities from flood risk in England.

They would like your input on updates to river basin management plans and flood risk management plans. Once agreed, these plans will shape decisions, direct investment and action and deliver significant benefits for society and the environment.

River basin management plans set out long term objectives for the quality of the water environment. They identify the condition of rivers, lakes and coastal waters and the pressures on them. The plans provide evidence that will help those with an interest in the water environment to agree where improvements can be made.

Flood risk management plans describe the risk of flooding from rivers, the sea, surface water, groundwater and reservoirs. They set out how the Environment Agency, local councils and water companies will work together, with communities, to manage flood risk.

These links will also explain how to respond to consultations in river basin districts which cross borders with Scotland and Wales.

The formal closing date for the flood risk management plan consultation is 31 January 2015, while the river basin management plan consultations will run for six months, ending on 10 April 2015.

NWSF News & Updates September ’13

BSAC’s Annual Incident Report 2013 deadline is fast approaching
The closing date for incident submissions for BSAC’s Annual Incident Report is 14th October 2013. Every year, BSAC compiles a comprehensive Annual Incident Report to aid diver safety by sharing information and allowing all divers to learn from the reports of others. The reporting year runs from 1st October to 30th September each year to fit with both the diving season and to allow compilation of the report in time for publication. It is important that all reports are submitted as soon as possible in order to be included in this year’s report and so we would remind all members to submit reports for any incidents, occurring between 1st October 2012 and 30th September 2013, by Monday 14th October. The report will be presented by BSAC’s Safety Adviser Brian Cumming at the BSAC Diving Conference at the NEC on Saturday, 26th October. Read more or report an incident: http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1046&sectionTitle=Incident+Reporting

#SAVEWAVE: A Wave of support that put RNLI rescue stories in front of 1.8M people
The RNLI’s #SAVEWAVE campaign has been running during the summer months. A simple idea of allowing the RNLI to post stories over your Twitter/ Facebook profiles to your followers has created a campaign that reached 1.8 million people. Over the 7 week period, the RNLI posted the week’s most dramatic rescues across social media on behalf of the 6,000 strong campaign’s supporters. #SaveWave, has quickly helped build awareness of the RNLI’s lifesaving work. RNLI volunteers rescue, on average 150 people every week. See the #SAVEWAVE video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAONhO4aZXQ&feature=youtu.be
More ways to support the RNLI: http://rnli.org/howtosupportus/Pages/How-to-support-us.aspx

Before you book your next dive holiday, check out BSAC Trip Reports
Malta, Gozo, Orkney Islands and Marsa Shagra are the latest dive destinations to be covered by the BSAC Trip Reports, written and submitted by travelling divers and now available online. An invaluable port of call if you are starting to plan your next big dive trip, the reports are part of the BSAC Trip report service, which hosts hundreds of first-hand dive holiday accounts, both in the UK and worldwide. Written by BSAC members, Trip Reports provide uncensored testimonies on the best – and not so great – holiday experiences to help you make up your mind. Check out the Trip Reports section where you will also find guidance on how to submit your own holiday report.
Trip Reports: http://www.bsac.com/news.asp?itemid=13313&itemTitle=Before+you+book+your+next+dive+holiday%2C+check+out+BSAC+Trip+Reports&section=56&sectionTitle=News&month=9&year=2013

Swansea and Stirling’s elite swimming centres under threat
British Swimming has given the strongest indication yet that centres of excellence in Swansea and Stirling could lose their International Training Centre (ITC) status.
The sport suffered a £4,000,000 funding cut after winning just three of their five targeted medals at London 2012. The centres at Loughborough and Bath are believed to be safe. British Swimming has been investigating ways of reducing operating costs since suffering the funding cut. The sport had operated five ITCs in the build up to London 2012, but the one at Stockport was axed in February. Talks with representatives from both threatened centres are on-going, but those from Swansea will meet with British Swimming officials for a crucial meeting about their situation next week.
Scottish Swimming says it is working hard with British Swimming and is in constant dialogue with their counterparts over the future of the centre in Stirling. It stresses that, while the review is underway, preparations for Scottish swimmers using the facility at Stirling will not be affected and it is business as usual. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/wales/23962233

MPs to debate Coastguard’s report
Westminster Hall debate: The Coastguard, Emergency towing vessels and the Maritime incident response group – Follow up. The Westminster Hall debate will be on Thursday 17th October in Westminster Hall at 13.30. The debate will discuss the Committee’s Sixth Report of Session 2012-13.
Having secured changes to the Government’s original proposals, saving some stations from closure and keeping all remaining stations as 24-hour operations, the Coastguard service report, receiving worrying information about the impact of recent reforms.
The report focuses on changes to the Coastguard Service, and draws considerable attention to the problems of; low morale and the loss of experienced staff with exemplary local knowledge – which came through station closure and amalgamation. The report will be the subject of the first debate of the afternoon, before a debate on a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news/coastguards—wh-debate/

News and Updates May ’13

Fisherman Launch new film titled – Lifejacket: A Fisherman’s Friend
Two Bridlington fishermen have made a short film to encourage their fellow fishermen to wear lifejackets whilst at sea. The two minute film, entitled "Lifejacket: a fisherman's friend" is available at
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The decision to make the film came after a panel of experts concluded that 26 fishermen could still be alive today had they been wearing a lifejacket when they were involved in an incident at sea (2007-11 figures). The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), were so alarmed by the new statistic that they put the idea of a short film forward to fishermen Dylan Silverwood and Christopher Stewart. They then made the film, with some help from FISG members.
"I wouldn't like to go to sea without a lifejacket", says salmon fisherman Dylan Silverwood. "When you hit the water, you start gasping like a fish, so unless you've got your lifejacket on, you could be in real difficulties. If you're a fisherman, please watch our little film and consider buying a lifejacket and using it whenever you set to sea. It really is quite easy to wear one – a lifejacket isn't heavy or cumbersome – and it could save your life."
This is the first in a series of films that fishermen will be making about buoyancy wear for different types of fishing.

Southwold Pier-to-Pub Swim: Dozens rescued from the sea
Dozens of people taking part in a charity sea swim off Suffolk had to be rescued after getting into difficulty.
More than 130 swimmers in Southwold had problems, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed. Four RNLI lifeboats and a rescue helicopter were involved from about 13:00 BST, after initial reports that up to 90 people were missing.
Two people were taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston with suspected hypothermia, the MCA spokeswoman added. The organisers of the race have not yet commented on the rescue operation.
The MCA spokeswoman said it was unclear how the swimmers got into trouble as weather conditions were fine, but the water was “very cold”. Some swimmers were rescued by lifeboat while a number of people swam to the shore themselves, she said.
Eyewitnesses spoke of exhausted swimmers coming out of the sea and being wrapped in towels, while a lifeboat hut close to the pier was turned into a makeshift emergency centre.
Organised by Active Outdoor Sport, the swim started north of the pier and was due to finish a mile down the coast. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22674418

Scrapping of HSE offshore division will undermine safety, survey finds
A survey released today of 5000 North Sea oil and gas workers has found that 75% believe the Governments decision to scrap the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division will undermine offshore safety.
The survey, released by OilandGasPeople.com, also found 62% were worried that the scrapping of the unit would lead to another Piper Alpha disaster. The oil and gas workers questioned the timing of the decision to close the division two months before the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha Disaster. The setting up of the dedicated HSE offshore division was a key recommendation of Lord Cullen’s report into ways to prevent another disaster taking place. The decision also comes at a time when oil and gas workers are feeling more at risk. 72% believe that it is the worst possible time to close the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division, given recent concerns over ageing platforms and closures of platforms due to safety issues, such as the recent leak at the Cormorant Alpha platform.

“While there is no doubt that safety on North Sea oil and gas rigs has improved immeasurable since Lord Cullen’s report into the Piper Alpha disaster, our survey clearly shows that rig workers are concerned by the timing of the decision to cut one of Lord Cullen’s key recommendations, in the year of the 25thanniversary of the disaster itself,” said Kevin Forbes, CEO of Oilandgaspeople.com.

“What’s more, the decision comes at a time when workers are feeling greater concern because of ageing platforms and recent leaks, such as on the Cormorant Alpha platform. It isn’t surprisingly that the combination of the cutting of the HSE dedicated offshore division and ageing platforms has left many offshore workers feeling more at risk,” he said.
Read the full story: http://www.oilandgaspeople.com/news/717/scrapping-of-hse-offshore-division-will-undermine-safety-survey-finds/

Studland to Portland reef to get special protection

Over 330 square km of marine habitat off the coast of Dorset will be given greater protection, Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced today. The site located at Studland to Portland is over half the size of the New Forest National Park, and has been submitted by the Government to the European Commission to become a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
When designated it will complete England’s network of coastal SACs and will mean its reefs will be protected from damaging human activities and its rare features conserved. Read more on the DeFRA website…

For more information on marine protected areas go to: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/protect/mpa 

Construction set to start on major sea defence scheme for Deal

The Environment Agency will begin work on a £10 million sea defence project running along the Kent coast. The ambitious scheme will reduce the risk of tidal flooding to 1,418 homes and 148 commercial properties in the town & will also protect other key assets including the Thanet Coast and Sandwich Bay Special Protection Area and Ramsar Site, the Sandwich Bay Special Area of Conservation; the railway line between Ramsgate and Dover in addition to historic monuments and listed buildings in North Deal.
The project will see a new 200m long rock barrier being created north of Sandown Castle that will significantly improve the standard of protection from coastal flooding and reduce the risk of a breach. This is in addition to 120,000 cubic metres of shingle being delivered via a pipeline from an offshore dredger to bolster the beach against the tides. The shingle will act as a natural defence against tidal wave action and will be moved into place with bulldozers and dumper trucks from mid September. Read more on the Environment Agency website…

Cut off by the tide

A man in his thirties got cut off by the tide at Countisbury Cove, Devon this afternoon. Swansea Coastguard received a call from the man’s friend at a nearby shop informing them that his friend had climbed down to the shoreline and was now stranded. Coastguard Rescue officers from Lynmouth were sent to the area and the Rescue helicopter from RAF Chivenor was scrambled.
David Jones, Watch Manager, Swansea Coastguard, says: “We would like to remind the public if you are not familiar with the stretch of coastline you are visiting to check the weather and tidal conditions before you set out, so that you can prepare accordingly. This will prevent you from becoming cut off by the tide and not put you at risk. If in doubt contact the coastguard or in an emergency ring 999 and ask for the coastguard”. Read more on the MCA website…

Deadline moved for MCZ implementation

The proposed delay in Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) has been called into question. Parliament Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon MP has announced that the implementation of MCZs – dedicated marine conservation sites around the UK coastline – has been delayed until 2013. The decision behind the delay has been based on what DeFRA states to be ‘limitations in the evidence supporting the MCZ recommendations.’ It means that the public consultation will continue to the end of 2012. Read more on the BSAC website…

Net hazard warning

Divers have been advised not to dive on the Scylla due to a 150ft net currently entangled on the wreck. The National Marine Aquarium has issued a warning to divers thinking of diving at the Scylla reef site off Plymouth of the presence of a 150ft monofilament gill net covering a large part of the reef making dive conditions extremely dangerous. The Aquarium is strongly advising against any dives over the reef until the situation has been sorted.

Read more on the BSAC website…

Coastguard modernisation proposals confirmed

Plans to modernise the Coastguard have been confirmed by Shipping Minister Mike Penning. The proposals, which were announced for consultation in July, will make the Coastguard better coordinated, more resilient to the challenges of the future and will increase the number of regular coastguard officers working in coastal communities, who provide leadership and support to the volunteers of the Coastguard Rescue Service.

The plans – which will modernise how rescues are coordinated and do not affect the services which go out to perform rescues -will create a nationally networked system of Coastguard coordination centres comprising:

  • One Maritime Operations Centre, to be established in Fareham, Hants, with a back-up facility at the existing Dover coordination centre, both operating on a 24 hour basis; and
  • Eight Coastguard Centres, all operated on a 24 hour basis, located at Falmouth, Milford Haven, Holyhead, Belfast, Stornoway, Shetland, Aberdeen and Humber. The station at London is also retained.

Mike Penning said: “After many years of uncertainty, these reforms provide a clear plan for the future of Her Majesty’s Coastguard. They will deliver a resilient and fully networked national rescue coordination service. They will make much better use of the talents and skills of our Coastguards and will provide more interesting and rewarding work with better pay”. Read more on the MCA website…

RNLI urges people to put safety first this October half term

The RNLI Divisional Lifeguard Manager for Cornwall, said: ‘We’d recommend that beach users choose a lifeguarded beach and follow the lifeguards’ advice. Those who can’t make it to a lifeguarded beach can help keep themselves safe by taking note of the safety signage at the entrance to the beach, going with a friend or telling someone on the shore where they are going, at the same time always being aware of the conditions and their own capabilities in the water.

Those who enjoy walking and exploring the coastline should also check the local tide times’.

Read more on the RNLI website…