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Hugh Marriage Posts

Tough decisions

After the sleepy days of summer, the October Harbour Board meeting always has a back-to-school, back to hard work, quality about it. The budget and fees for the next year are set – to allow for South Hams District Council’s lengthy procedures – and there was also the issue of improving enforcement of the rule that only SHDC Council Tax payers can retain a harbour mooring (you don’t, of course, have to be a local resident to have a commercial…

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Destination Kingsbridge

We refer to “Salcombe Harbour” but Salcombe is not, of course, the largest town on the water. Kingsbridge is over twice the size of Salcombe, if not so close to the sea or so accessible at all states of the tide. Much has been done in recent years to encourage visitors to the harbour to include a trip to Kingsbridge. There are lots of reasons for this: Kingsbridge is an interesting market town in its own right; it provides plenty…

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Launch of the phosphate free initiative

August saw the launch of two phosphate-free initiatives for the harbour. First, the Harbour Authority began offering sample bottles of phosphate-free washing up detergent to visiting yachts. As the effluent from these yachts often goes straight into the harbour, this is a very direct way of reducing phosphates in the harbour water. Secondly, August also saw the launch of a phosphate free initiative in South Pool. The effluent from all South Pool houses must eventually end up in the harbour,…

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The number seven

This month I have seven updates on stories which have been running in this column. First, the Rivermaid is now based in Salcombe so that she can be used for estuary cruises when there is not enough water to run to Kingsbridge. This will help keep her financially viable. The Dartmouth to Salcombe ferries have been disrupted by poor weather but have proved popular on the days they have managed it. Second, water quality. The Environment Agency considers that the…

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Good fences make good water quality

The quality of water is an appropriate topic for a parish magazine, so I’ll make no apology for returning to it. Just after I had written last month’s piece I heard of a YouTube clip on the success of fencing cattle away from streams to keep beach water clear of ruminant runoff. http://www.youtube.com/user/ECSFDI shows the Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer, Lizbe Pilbeam, talking to John Tucker, who farms on the Aune. Insomniacs will also have heard Richard Foss, who farms near…

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A rural myth corrected and good news for water quality

Writing about the harbour has its risks – I sometimes get an ear-full from irate readers but, thankfully, not too often – and one of those risks is that you are given stories in good faith which turn out to be the rural equivalent of urban myths. A particular example is the story that one of the large outboard engines which was stolen on a high tide in September had been found in Canada. Well, it seems that this particular…

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Repairs to Jubilee Pier, a new ferry and some new buoys

At the last moment South Hams District Council decided to repair Jubilee Pier after all. The boulders have been re-pointed and the whole structure has been bound with a stainless steel band, anchored in some way into the middle. What is more, South West Water are looking into the possibility of removing their sewerage tank from inside the pier, which may make it possible to fill the void with something more structural. All this should do for another five years…

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This isn’t Cornwall but the Duke owns it

As a civil servant, I often had occasion to show foreign visitors round Parliament. Usually the most difficult part was explaining why (in those days) the House of Lords consisted mainly of people who were there because of something their ancestors had done – sometimes centuries ago and including acts which are not fit to be described in a family newspaper. Europeans in particular could not understand a hereditary upper house: to be honest, they were genuinely astonished by it…

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Easter 2010: times and places

One of the amusing elements of my working life was having to learn new language when a Government changed. So Conservative governments used to talk enthusiastically of “crime prevention”; Labour governments spoke equally enthusiastically of “crime reduction”. Civil servants have to get on-message straight away. As it happens, I always considered it easier to talk about “crime reduction” – indeed, I used to say that crime prevention was impossible whilst crime reduction was easy. Crime reduction becomes easier if you…

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Jubilee Pier is getting serious

It is only a few months since I wrote about Jubilee Pier but things are going from bad to worse. The story so far: Jubilee Pier is the ferry point for the East Portlemouth and Kingsbridge (“Rivermaid”) ferries. It is also the breakwater which defends Salcombe against swell from the sea. The pier has been falling down for ages and was cut back about 10 years ago; but is still falling down. South Hams District Council (SHDC) owns the pier…

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