Estuary bosses reply over Jet Ski concern

Exe Estuary bosses have denied accusations that they have not acted to combat dangerous jet skiers, who have been accused of chasing geese at the nearby bird sanctuary.

Exmouth resident Anthony Pickard criticised East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) REACT team for focusing on ‘boy racers’ and not jetskiers.

It follows the draft Jet Ski code of conduct drawn up over the summer.

He said: “Some jet skis go over the speed limit by a far higher percentage and some are a danger to other water users and holidaymakers...

“Some jet skiers are now chasing the Brent Geese, which have just arrived, and are ripping up the eel grass which they feed on.”

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But East Devon District Council’s beach safety officer, Andy Phillips, denied this and said he had no complaints relating to jet skis since the summer - and those concerns were a speeding-related dispute involving residents near Belshers Slipway.

A council spokesman said: “It had been arranged over the summer for one REACT member to assist the Harbour Patrol on Shelly Beach, advising and explaining to ski users of the local byelaws.

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“Unfortunately, this year, it was called off due to very poor weather, but they will be asked to assist next season.”

He said that EDDC had very limited controls over The Exe as the harbour authority is Exeter City Council.

But he reiterated that the new code, drawn up by Mr Phillips, aimed to ensure that jetskiers, once launched, go out to sea and not ride within the river and would keep to the 10 knot speed limit within the harbour limits.

The Exe Estuary Partnership officer, Stephanie Clark, said: “We are currently working with local communities, jet ski users, councillors and local authorities to address the conflicts with some jet skiers.

“Although we have received no complaints about jet ski users since the summer, we aim to have a variety of measures in place in the near future, to improve safety and raise awareness about responsible use of the Exe Estuary by jet skiers.”

? If you are concerned about irresponsible use of the estuary, please e-mail or call Natural England on 0800 807060.

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