THE CONTROVERSIAL issue of dredging in Falmouth harbour will be the subject of a public meeting organised by opponents to the scheme next week.

The evening is being organised by Falmouth Friends of the Earth (FalFoE), and will take place at the Poly on Church Street on Thursday, November 22.

It will discuss the environmental implications of the massive proposed dredging operation in Falmouth Harbour.

A panel including environmentalists, fishermen and others concerned about the impacts on the marine environment will include representatives from the Marine Conservation Society, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Marine Management Organisation.

Betty Levene of Falmouth Friends of the Earth said: “There are many very real concerns about what this unprecedentedly large-scale dredge could do to the unique marine habitats of Falmouth Bay and the Carrick Roads, and particularly to the beds of rare maerl that form a valuable nursery area for young fish and other species.

“It’s not just the immediate damage done by the dredge itself, but also the effects of dumping a million tonnes of spoil offshore and releasing plumes of toxic sediment into the water.

“This meeting will be an excellent opportunity to hear from environmental experts about just what is at stake here, and about how the decision on whether to go ahead with the dredge will be made.”

Other members of the panel at the Poly meeting include Jean-Luc Solandt, Biodiversity policy officer at the Marine Conservation Society; Ruth Williams, marine conservation manager for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust; Lillian Sandeman, marine licensing manager at the Marine Management Organisation and Dr Miles Hoskin, a locally based marine biologist.

The meeting at Falmouth Poly starts at 7.30pm and entry is free.