Like Dave Wharton I was saddened and angered both by the Whitby harbour board’s plans to ‘impound’ the upper Esk above Whitby, their total lack of care over environmental matters, asethic issues and the views of local residents.
Clearly Harbour Board chairman Coun Mike Cockerill thinks he knows something about worms but clearly it’s the only thing he knows about the river environment.
As Mr Wharton states, worms are at the bottom of the food chain and are therefore more important than those at the top.
Many birds will loose out.
The estuary mud at low tide is a feeding ground for many waders in winter.
We’ve already lost Belle Island mudflats, which was the only tidal mudflats between the Tees and the Humber.
If this scheme goes ahead we will also loose the only tidal river along the same coast.
The tidal Esk is also a nursery area for many species of juvenile sea fish and the the only area of saltmarsh along the north east coast at Ruswarp batts.
We will loose all those animals, birds, insects and flowers which occupy these decreasing natural habitats.
They will be no more seals on Ruswarp batts and no more Sea Astors. Ever.
We’ll loose the changing views as the tides ebb and flow, the sounds of fast water over rocky shallows and the silence at higher tides.
These will be replaced by rattle of steel or aluminium stays clattering against metal yacht masts.
In summer and winter hundreds of canoeists use the tidal stretch downstream of Ruswarp to gain their first exciting experience in handling canoes over rapids which are only available at low tides.
And since the Magna Carta gave everyone the right to both free fishing and free passage on all tidal waters those rights will disappear as we will no longer be able to access the waters up to Ruswarp and they’ll be nothing left to fish for upstream of the new dam in the harbour anyway.
Mr Cockerill and his cronies don’t live next to the harbour properties whose homes will be effected by the increased water heights on flood tides during surges and nor do they live above the proposed dam where those residents may soon feel the effect of impounded flood waters from off the moors.
If anyone thinks this won’t happen, the only reason we have flooding on the Carrs is because of the dam at Ruswarp holds the water back at an artificially high level.
The harbour board should stick to improving the existing facilities downstream of the new bridge and Mr Cockerill should stick to minding his own worms.
Let’s get this clear; the harbour board is not elected by us the public and it does not like its affairs to be known by us the public as we have witnessed recently when some of our elected town councillors were ejected from a harbour board meeting.
The harbour board should keep to matters within its experience like the banning of kids fishing on kiddies corner or running their own businesses.
David Wedgwood Perry, Wesley Road, Robin Hood’s Bay by email