A new campaign fronted by British actor Joanna Lumley is bidding to protect whales and dolphins by calling for offshore wind farm developers to stop blowing up old bombs and shells discarded on the seabed.
About 100,000 tonnes of explosives are believed to have been dumped in Britain’s seas, much after World War 2, with some of the wartime relics weighing up to half a tonne.
Before wind farms can be built, the bombs have to be cleared, but detonating them can have a huge impact on the hearing and navigational abilities of marine mammals.
Lumley — who has joined the campaign organised by environmental group Marine Connection — is calling for the bombs to be burned out rather than detonated, a process which campaigners argue is much safer for marine life.
“It just seems completely nuts to me that we are allowing these giant explosions to cause considerable harm to some of our most precious whale and dolphin species when there is a viable alternative available,” said the Absolutely Fabulous star.
“It is time for government regulators and wind farm developers to take immediate action to eradicate unnecessary threats to marine life.”
In 2011, a mass stranding of long-finned pilot whales occurred in Scotland. A subsequent report concluded that four large bombs detonated at sea by the Royal Navy were to blame for the stranding and death of 19 of these whales.