Following an outcry at the Avon Estuary Forum in 2018 and some intensive lobbying by the Aune Conservation Association (ACA), readers may know that we managed to reverse the SHDC decision to withdraw the Avon Patrol. We believe this service is vital to maintain the safety and security of recreational estuary users during the summer months of July, August and September, especially given the upsurge in popularity of kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, wild swimming, etc. over the last few years.
Discussions about the nature of an agreement to underpin the patrol have been going on since February 2019 but the long-awaited drafting of a formal contract by SHDC legal services has galvanised thinking and we have now arrived at a situation similar to what existed in the past i.e. a contract to provide the service between SHDC (customer) and the Bantham Estate (provider) with voluntary annual contributions of £500 each from the Avon Valley Waterski Club, the ACA and the Duchy of Cornwall being made to the Bantham Estate. SHDC will contribute £2500/year. The total annual cost will be £4000 and the contract will run for 5 years after which it will be reviewed.
SHDC-licensed Bantham Estate staff and licensed boats are out on the water on a very frequent basis and will report regularly to the Salcombe Harbourmaster about the conduct of the patrol and any necessary interventions with the public to uphold the byelaws. Bantham Estate started operating the patrol in July this year, prior to the contractual details being finalised, as an act of good faith.
Whilst the ACA, like the other groups, is very pleased about this outcome, the increased contribution represents a very considerable chunk of our reserves over a 5-year period. Unlike the other contributing groups, the ACA as an environmental conservation charity does not have any regular source of income and the extra £250 is a large sum for us to find on an ongoing basis for the altruistic purpose of conserving this very important recreational and tourism asset for the general public. Therefore, we shall need to consider how to continue funding this valuable service in the longer term. Our participation in the South Hams Lottery is one new source of extra funds and if you would like to help us to keep the estuary safe and secure, whilst standing a chance of winning some prize money, you could make a donation via the following link – https://www.seamoorlotto.co.uk/support/aune-conservation-association
Thank you for your support.