Arfon MP accuses UK Government of ‘dragging heels’ over jet ski licensing
Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams, has warned that a failure to tighten jet ski regulations will result in more deaths and injuries this summer.
The MP for Arfon introduced a Private Members’ Bill in Westminster in November 2020 that would have established a licensing system for drivers of personal watercraft and created the offence of driving a jet ski without a licence.
It was in response to increasing concerns about the dangerous and irresponsible use of jet skis along the coastline of Gwynedd and Ceredigion.
Mr Williams said: “It is extremely disappointing that the UK Government have continued to drag their heels and failed to legislate in time for the summer season. This is not a matter of a minor inconvenience but a matter of public safety.
“Due to this government’s lack of action, anyone – even children as young as 12 years old – will continue to be able to use these powerful machines throughout the summer, posing a serious threat to swimmers, sailors, surfers, as well as threaten the wildlife we all enjoy along our coastline.
“The government must urgently act to end this free-for-all and introduce robust legislation to protect the public and wildlife.”
Mr Williams said that after a meeting with the Under-Secretary of State for Transport he was given an assurance that plans to tighten regulations were underway.
But recent correspondence has revealed that no timeframe has yet been set by the UK Government for the passage of legislation.
Writing to Mr Courts, Hywel Williams states: “In making the case for the legislation, I detailed the numerous examples of jet skis being driven at speed close to bathing beaches, accidental collisions with boats and near misses, the disturbing of people fishing from the shore, and incidents of jet ski drivers intruding into nature reserves.
“I am concerned that it appears as though little progress has been made in the months which have followed.”
The issue was highlighted by wildlife TV presenter Iolo Williams earlier this month when he posted footage of jet skiers driving into seabirds in Afon Conwy:
Watched these 5 jet-skiers go straight through a raft of auks off Puffin Island today. Later, 6 jet-skiers came down the Afon Conwy, scaring everything in their path. This has to stop! @bardseyben @NWPolice pic.twitter.com/H0aObvJ7va
— Iolo Williams (@IoloWilliams2) July 18, 2021
The UK Government has said that it’s planning to start a consultation on new legislation that would strengthen existing enforcement powers held by local, harbour and police authorities.