HANSON Aggregates Marine confronted head on the controversy surrounding sand dredging in the waters off South Wales when the dredger Arco Dee berthed alongside the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay recently.
The Arco Dee, which dredges off Nash Bank near Porthcawl, played an important part in an information day at Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre in an effort to bring balance to the dredging debate.
A number of Welsh Assembly members, concerned that dredging may affect the beaches on the Gower peninsula, are opposed to proposals by Hanson, United Marine Dredging and British Dredging to continue taking 900,000 tonnes of sand a year from Nash Bank for a further 10 years.
However, according to Hanson, a decade of scientific research and monitoring has shown no link between dredging and sand loss from beaches.
As part of the 'Hanson in Wales' initiative, an information day was staged on the Assembly doorstep, but despite good support from the public, planners and customers, very few Assembly members attended.
Richard Pearson, production and resources director with Hanson Aggregates Marine, said: 'Given the adverse publicity in the local media, this was an ideal opportunity to put our side of the story, but only two Assembly members out of the 60 invited bothered to turn up. It was extremely disappointing.'