There is a proposal from the 3 local councils bordering the Exe estuary to set up 2 "Voluntary Exclusion Zones" .
The zones are intended to prevent disturbance caused by human activity to overwintering birds. The proposals emanate from a paper in 2011 called the Exe Disturbance Report.
The 2 zones currently identified are at Dawlish Warren and the Exmouth Duck Pond. Dawlish would be in place all year round and Exmouth between September and April.
On the face of it, it would seem that some Exe sailing clubs are not particularly affected as most of their members would rarely visit those areas.
However there are a number of concerns:
- This is the first tranche of proposals. The intention in the future, if these prove to be successful, is to designate other areas such as around the River Clyst and at Powderham.
- The report, on which these proposals are based, provides no evidence to support the exclusion of dinghies, cruisers or canoes/kayaks from these areas. Only 8% of the observed activities that caused disturbance that provide the evidence for the report, were waterborne. Of these, 3% were RIBs or small motor boats, 1% kitesurfers and 1% windsurfers. Of all the observed activities (including dog walking, crab tiling and bait digging) only 14% caused major flight events. It is unclear whether any disturbance by dinghies, cruisers or canoes/kayaks was observed.
The disturbance report can be read on the EEMP web site
Please write or email to your local councillor stating your concerns, particularly over the lack of evidence to support an exclusion zone for dinghies, cruisers and canoes/kayaks. Also mention the lack of consultation and your inability to have direct contact with the body making the decisions and the fact that as an estuary water-borne user you have no representation on that body.