Bournemouth Pier will be home to an oil rig pollution protest on February 17 as Poole Bay becomes a new proposed site for a Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU).
The MODU – which would stand between 300 and 400 feet above the sea – would be located 8km south of Bournemouth beach and has been met with fierce opposition over fears of oil spillages and the site becoming an eyesore.
An online petition opposing the MODU – kickstarted by Bournemouth University student Natalie Browne – has raised more 1194 signatures in the space of a week while Bournemouth and Poole Greenpeace coordinator Simon O’Connor has been speaking to Buzz News about the planned protest.
“We’re asking people to wear black and bring black umbrellas,” he said.
We’re going to symbolise what would happen if there was an oil spill because it would destroy our golden beaches.
“We’re expecting around 50 people at the moment but we’re appealing for more people to get involved. It will be a peaceful protest.”
While damage to the beach is one concern, wider damage to the likes of Poole Harbour – a Site of Special Scientific Interest – and Poole Rocks, a Marine Conservation Zone, could devastate Bournemouth’s coastal environment and local tourist trade, which is worth an estimated £750 million a year.
“It will ruin the local economy,” Simon added. “Bournemouth is dependent on its tourist trade and there’s a huge amount of potential loss.
“It will also ruin our coastline. We would be cleaning it up for decades to come if there was a spill.”
As well as the planned protest on Saturday at 2pm, Natalie and Simon are appealing for local residents to email the Secretary of State (firstname.lastname@example.org) quoting reference W/4207/2017. Emails must be sent before February 19, which is the consultation deadline.