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Latest ‘Area Involved’ report published

Sand Falcon

British Marine Aggregate Producers Association and The Crown Estate publish 20th annual report

THE British Marine Aggregate Producers Association (BMAPA) and The Crown Estate have published their 20th annual ‘Area Involved’ report, which details changes in the extent of the seabed area licensed and dredged for marine aggregates during 2017.

The ‘Area Involved’ initiative commenced in March 1999, when BMAPA and The Crown Estate made a public statement of intent that committed both parties to reviewing all dredging licences on a rolling five-year basis, surrendering areas no longer containing economic resources of marine sand and gravel, and publishing an annual report detailing the extent of dredging activities within licensed areas.

Mark Russell, BMAPA director, said: ‘The areas of seabed licensed and dredged remain key indicators of the UK marine aggregate sector’s performance and its potential to interact with both the environment and other marine users. The significant reductions in both indicators that have taken place over the last 20 years reflect an industry committed to continual improvement.’

Nick Everington, marine minerals portfolio manager for The Crown Estate, added: ‘As manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we work in partnership with industry to help support the sustainable use of sand and gravel resources. The annual ‘Area Involved’ report is an integral part of this, helping to ensure our better understanding and management of the marine environment over the long term. The 20th annual report reflects the ongoing commitment from both The Crown Estate and the industry to this important initiative.’

Key information from the report includes:

  • A total of 19.0 million tonnes of sand and gravel were dredged from Crown Estate licences in England and Wales during 2017 (17.94 million tonnes in 2016)
  • The total area of seabed licensed in 2017 was 1,057km sq (934km sq in 2016)
  • Dredging took place within 90.94km sq, 8.6% of the licensed area, compared with 87.53km sq (9.37%) in 2016
  • The area of seabed dredged for more than 1h 15min per year (high intensity) was 7.42km sq (7.52km sq in 2016)
  • 90% of dredging from Crown Estate licences took place from an area of 38.30km sq (33.92km sq in 2016).

With the introduction and development of marine planning, spatial and temporal data relating to the marine aggregate dredging activity will become increasingly important in supporting the sustainable management of UK waters. Both BMAPA and The Crown Estate say they are committed to maintaining and developing the Area Involved reporting initiative and would welcome any comments on the report.

An additional 20-year review brochure is currently being produced that will provide information on the area of seabed dredged and licenced annually since 1998. Trends in annual tonnage and newly dredged area of seabed will also be presented. This will be the fourth in a series of detailed five-year review documents and will be distributed in the early autumn.

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