Boat owners to claim their boats from Heswall Shore (Banks Road slipway)

19 July 2022
Aerial view of boats at Heswall Shore, credited to Rick Pritchard from Natural Resources Wales

Owners of boats at Heswall shore are being encouraged to come forward and identify their property to help with making safety improvements to the area. 

More than 100 mostly unused boats, dinghies, trailers and other marine related items have been at Banks Road slipway and foreshore for a number of years.   

Some of the boats are in serious disrepair and have the potential to cause safety and environmental hazards. The Dee Estuary is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its important habitat and bird populations.  

The Marine Management Organisation and Natural England fear that habitat is being lost due to the space the boats are taking up on the salt marsh, while also being concerned that pollutants such as oil, paints and plastics breaking down at the shore could injure wildlife and have a detrimental effect on the wider habitat.  The council has a legal duty to respond to MMOs and NEs concerns and ensure the shore is safe for users and the environment. 

Councillor Liz Grey, Chair of Wirral Council’s Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee said: “We are trying to find boat owners so we can make plans to get the boats that are disused, dangerous or abandoned moved on and ensure the area is safe for people, the environment and wildlife. 

“We appreciate that after some boats being there for many years this might seem unexpected but in particular, we have to make sure that boats that have been left to rot aren’t damaging our local environment any further.” 

Different methods are being used to try and identify the owners of all the boats at Heswall shore including: 

Sharing information in the media, on council websites and on social media 

Contacting local yacht groups, businesses and other organisations linked to the area 

Asking marine partner organisations to share the details across their networks 

The council is appealing for owners of boats and any other marine-related items to come forward with a description so their property can be eliminated from any further actions.  

At this stage, the council is not looking to take any legal action against boat owners. However, if any boats are not identified after a lengthy attempt to confirm owners, the legal removal and disposal of boats and other items may have to follow. 

If your boat is at Heswall shore, please contact the council’s Parks and Countryside department as soon as possible, by emailing parksandverges@wirral.gov.uk

Background Information

The Dee Estuary is a designated Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds as it is one of the five most important estuaries in Britain and one of the ten most important in Europe for waders and wildfowl. It is a valuable staging post for migrating birds in both spring and autumn and supports large numbers of wintering waders that feed on the rich invertebrate fauna.  

The Heswall Shore is also a part of Dee Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest which is designated for its saltmarsh habitat as well as its bird interest.