Sea Life

A group of wildlife experts has carried out a rare dive in Douglas harbour to examine a floating pontoon for potentially costly and damaging invasive non-native species (INNS).

The team of six divers, representing the DEFA, Manx Wildlife Trust, IOM Seasearch, and Discover Diving was especially on the hunt for an INNS of sea squirt, which had been previously recorded around the pontoon.

Dr Michelle Haywood MHK, DEFA’s Political Member for Environment, who took part in the dive, said: ‘Invasive sea squirts may sound harmless, but they can be very costly to get rid of if they take hold. In recent years, carpet sea squirt affected Holyhead Marina and cost the Welsh government hundreds of thousands of pounds to eradicate, so it is worth looking at. On our dive we found the underneath of the pontoon to be encrusted with sponges, nice native sea squirts and mussels and most importantly no invasive species of concern.’

Leigh Morris, Manx Wildlife Trust CEO, added: ‘It was good news that the carpet sea squirts and orange tipped sea squirts we feared we might find were not present, and it was fantastic to see such a diverse range of marine biodiversity, which is an indicator of a healthy and thriving ecosystem.’

The divers did discover one INNS called Sargassum Muticum (Wireweed/Japanese seaweed) in the sand below the pontoon, which is listed on Schedule 8 of the Wildlife Act, but it did not appear to be having a negative impact.

TV Licenses

The taxpayer will continue to meet the cost of TV licences for residents aged over 75 who don’t receive income support until the end of 2023. A review of universal provision is currently under way, with the intention of exploring options around the introduction of additional eligibility criteria when the present arrangement expires on December 31.

Today’s announcement means any changes will now come into effect after December 31 2023.

Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson MHK said: ‘The current arrangement is being extended for a further 12 months, and I hope this announcement will reduce any concern among our community at a time of rising living costs. The review into how provision may look in the future will continue with a view to any changes now being implemented from January 1 2024.’

Built Heritage

The committee exploring the island’s built heritage has issued a call for evidence as it begins its work. Tynwald agreed in April that the gov should take a cross-departmental approach in its aims to conserve, preserve and enhance this aspect of the built environment.

The committee is looking at options for incentives and penalties to address the challenges facing owners, local and national government, and other stakeholders and what policies, schemes and measures exist elsewhere and how these could be adopted by government.

Submissions should be made to :Francisca Gale, Clerk to the Committee  Legislative Buildings, Douglas, IM1 3PW, or by emailing committees@tynwald.org.im.