More than 100 boats to be cleared from Heswall shore according to local councillor

More than 100 rotting boats left in the Dee Estuary are expected to be cleared this summer.

According to Heswall councillor Andrew Hodson, work is due to start in July to clear a number of boats left on the shoreline near Heswall and will take place over a two year period.

Wirral Council has not confirmed exactly when work is due to start but councillors have approved a £100,000 spend by March 2025 as part of the local authority’s budget this upcoming year.

The boats are being taken away to avoid pollution to the surrounding area and protect bird and animal life. The Dee Estuary is an internationally important site for wildlife and is the second most important location in the UK for birds such as oystercatchers and shelducks.

A Wirral Council spokesperson said, “More than 100 mostly unused boats, dinghies, trailers and other marine-related items have been at Banks Road slipway and foreshore at Heswall for a number of years and some are in serious disrepair and have the potential to cause safety and environmental hazards.

“The Dee Estuary is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its important habitat and bird populations and the Marine Management Organisation and Natural England fear that habitat is being lost due to the space the boats are taking up on the salt marsh, while also being concerned that pollutants such as oil, paints and plastics breaking down at the shore could injure wildlife and have a detrimental effect on the wider habitat.

“The council has a legal duty to respond to MMOs and NEs concerns and ensure the shore is safe for users and the environment and therefore is currently undertaking a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) as a precursor to seeking assent from Natural England and other relevant bodies for the removal of Boats from Heswall Foreshore, including a detailed survey of all the boats present to identify those that appear to have been abandoned.

“Further details of the next steps in dealing with the abandoned boats will be made available in due course.”

In a post on Facebook, Cllr Hodson said, “I realise this has taken a long time to get to this point. I have been meeting with the different agencies for the past three years but we will get back our shore as it should be.”

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