UK Government accused of ‘dragging heels’ on jet ski licencing


Failure to produce legislation ahead of summer season will result in more deaths and injuries, warns Plaid Cymru MPs.

Plaid Cymru MPs, Ben Lake and Hywel Williams, have today (24 July) criticised the UK Government for continuing to “drag their heels” by failing to introduce legislation on the licensing of jet skis in time for the summer tourist season.

Hywel Williams, the Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon had introduced a Private Members’ Bill in Westminster in November 2020 that would have established a licensing system for drivers of personal watercrafts and created the offence of driving a jet ski without a licence.

The Bill was tabled in response to mounting concerns about the dangerous and irresponsible use of personal watercraft or jet skis along the Ceredigion and Gwynedd coastline, and the lack of enforcement power available to local authorities to police the situation. The problem is not unique to Wales, with many coastal communities across the UK reporting similar incidents. 

Plaid Cymru secured a meeting with the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Robert Courts MP to discuss the Government’s plans for legislation on the licencing of jet skis and was assured that plans were underway. However, a written parliamentary question tabled on 1 July revealed that no timeframe had been decided for the passage of such legislation.

The Plaid Cymru MPs urged the UK Government to act to end the “free-for-all” that currently allows anyone to use personal watercrafts without a licence.

Writing to Mr Courts, Hywel Williams MP said:

“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.

“Over these many months, people have written to me with further examples of the irresponsible and downright dangerous use of jet skis. Many express astonishment that the use of these powerful machines is not subject to test and licence.

“Last summer, we had fatalities associated with jet skis on the shores of Gwynedd and there were deaths and incidents of injury elsewhere in the UK. We are now entering another summer season and I fear that the lack of regulation will result in similar incidents this summer.”

Ben Lake MP added:

“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.”

Showing 1 reaction

  • Carys Lloyd
    published this page in News 2021-07-27 11:07:49 +0100

Say you're with us

Elin Jones and Ben Lake work for everyone who lives in Ceredigion. Show your support and help them in their work to ensure a better Ceredigion, today.