Beach report is ‘looking good’

Sand yachts on St Annes beach during the British Championships at Fylde International Dand Yacht Club.
Sand yachts on St Annes beach during the British Championships at Fylde International Dand Yacht Club.

SAND YACHTING could be set to return to the beach at St Annes.

St Annes windsports centre Trax had to put stop to activities and provide a specialist report after it was feared it might affect important bird populations.

Trax has since undergone a series of trials and employed a consultant to make a report for Natural England.

The trials involved kites, mini yachts, kite buggies, speed sails and kite land boards.

Trax owner Eddie Sloan said he believed it was “looking favourable” and added: “The consultant said he can’t see anything that could jeopardise the migrating birds – there seemed to be more problems from people walking their dogs off the lead.”

A Fylde Council spokesman said: “Trax was undertaking trials on the beach between January and March of a limited range of windsports, such as beach buggies, which aren’t the full size sand yachts and windboards and they have an environment specialist monitoring the impact on the wildlife.

“If Natural England say all appears to be in order, Trax will then have to come back to us and we will consider granting a permit, probably for six to 12 months and probably for beach buggies and other windsports.

“At the end of that period, Trax would be able to apply for the council to consider licensing full size sand yachts.

“The council is still in favour of windsports in principle but we have to ensure the interests and safety of wildlife and public are taken into account and we are hoping to talk to Trax soon.”

Regarding the council’s statement, Mr Sloan said: “I think that seems to make sense.”

Neil Clark, Natural England’s Area Manager, said: “We’ve received a copy of the report and are studying its findings. We welcome this research, which will help us to determine whether sand yachting can go ahead without affecting the area’s internationally-significant bird populations.”

Sand yachting was banned after Carole Cruz, 38, of Burnley, was struck and killed by a racing sand yacht as she walked on St Annes beach in 2002. The pilot was cleared of manslaughter, but Fylde Council did not reinstate the sand yachting licence.