Marine & Fisheries Agency (MFA) British Marine Aggregate Producers Association (BMAPA) Support

The MFA content seen under ‘Marine Environment’ at www.mfa.gov.uk/environment/minerals/minerals.htm leaves us with little doubt of its full support of the dredging industry. The exploitation of the environment obviously takes full priority over and above concern for our sea, seabed and coastal environment in their eyes.
Whilst the item applauds the economic advantages of marine minerals, it makes no mention whatsoever of the damaging impact upon the marine ecosytem or the coastal environment itself, as can be clearly seen from the following extract.

Marine minerals

Introduction

Marine dredged minerals provide an alternative to land-won aggregates, contributing significantly to the UK economy and substantially towards the construction industry.

Both land-won and marine-dredged minerals make a vital contribution to sustainable communities. As a basic ingredient of concrete, they are used for building new homes, offices and factories, maintenance and construction of roads and in the regeneration of our towns and cities and for most other construction projects such as the 2012 Olympic Games. Aggregates also contribute to the UK export market.

Since 2002, the average amount of marine aggregates extracted has been around 21 million tonnes of which approximately 30 per cent has been exported, mostly to the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

Approximately 21 per cent of the sand and gravel used in England and Wales is supplied by the marine aggregate industry. In the south east of England 33 per cent of sand and gravel for construction comes from the seabed and has been used in a number of major developments in the east London corridor.

One of the main benefits of using marine sources is that vessels can deliver aggregates directly to wharves in urban areas which reduces pollution. Marine aggregates are also used in replenishing beaches.

In order to understand the strategic role that the marine aggregate industry plays in the UK, the British Geological Survey have produced a report called The Strategic Importance of the Marine Aggregate Industry to the UK which examines the contribution that the sector currently provides, and the challenges and opportunities presented by the future.


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