On March 8th, The Honourable Mrs Justice Thornton granted claimant Joanna Thomson permission for a Judicial Review of the Marine Management Organisation's (MMO) decision to grant Dover Harbour Board a licence to dredge the Goodwin Sands. The full review is expected to take place at the High Court in June.
The claim was granted on one of the two grounds submitted; namely that the MMO did not consider the direct impact of the removal of the volume of 2 million cubic metres of subtidal sand when undertaking its Marine Conservation Zone assessment. The second ground, that the MMO could not have concluded there was no risk to the underwater cultural heritage of the Sands because the relevant document had not been finalised, was refused. However, the lawyers are appealing against this as they feel it is an important matter that is relevant to the whole marine licensing process.
This review is being seen as a national test case about the effectiveness of the marine licensing process to protect both our marine environment and our underwater cultural heritage and the robustness of the Government's environmental regulators to stand up against the economic Blue Growth Agenda.
The campaign still needs to raise about £30K for costs going forward, and are asking supporters to give whatever they can for this cause. Donations can be made through CrowdJustice via their website www.goodwinsandssos.org.