, 2022-07-18 01:13:45,
The number of abandoned boats around the coasts of the UK and Europe is growing. Now a new initiative is to look at the scale of the problem and improve how end-of-life boats are disposed of
The scale of boat dumping around the UK and North-East Atlantic is to be examined as part of efforts to tackle the growing problem of end-of-life vessels.
Under the new Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter, the UK Government’s Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is working with other countries to ‘map the scale of the issue’ across the North-East Atlantic region.
It plans to ‘develop guidance to improve waste management for recreational vessels that are no longer wanted or fit for use,’ said a DEFRA spokesperson.
The Welsh Government is also funding a three year Nature Marine Litter project to raise awareness of abandoned boats, which starts in the autumn.
A senior advisor to Natural Resources Wales, Dawn Beech, said: ‘We are working with partners to increase awareness within the boating community of the financial and environmental impacts of flytipping boats. We are also working to influence end-of-life solutions, as well as tackling existing hotspots.’
A lack of regulation about the disposal of old boats and disposal costs – around £3,000 for a 30ft boat – can result in vessels being dumped.
They can only be removed if they are a danger to navigation, and often the long process in tracking down an owner means boats degrade and become a threat to the environment.
One of the biggest issues is with GRP boats, as glass reinforced plastic can’t currently be recycled and is instead sent to landfill.
Researchers at the University of Brighton are currently studying microparticle contamination in Chichester Harbour, with the focus on GRP, which has been found to have been injected by marine animals like oysters and mussels.
Often, the cost of responsible disposal has to be picked up by harbour authorities or local councils. Last year, Cornwall’s Port of Truro spent £125,000 to remove two abandoned boats.
The UK Harbour Masters’ Association said the problem is getting worse, especially in popular sailing areas like the south east and south west, and members are now collating figures on abandoned boats.
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