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Annual ‘Area Involved’ report published

Area Involved report

The Crown Estate and BMAPA release 22nd annual report detailing the extent of dredging activities in 2019

THE Crown Estate and the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association (BMAPA) have published the 22nd annual ‘Area Involved’ report, which details changes in the extent of the seabed area licensed and dredged for marine aggregates during 2019.

The ‘Area Involved’ initiative began in March 1999, when BMAPA and The Crown Estate committed 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.

Key information from the report includes:

  • A total of 22 million tonnes of sand and gravel were dredged from Crown Estate licences in England and Wales during 2019 (compared with 20 million tonnes in 2018)
  • The total area of seabed licensed in 2019 was 1,079 sq km (1,102 sq km in 2018)
  • Dredging took place within 105 sq km, 10% of the licensed area, compared with 98 sq km (9%) in 2018
  • The area of seabed dredged for more than 1 hour 15 minutes per year (high intensity – red on charts) was 6 sq km (also 6 sq km in 2018)
  • 90% of dredging effort from Crown Estate licences took place from an area of 42 sq km (40 sq km in 2018).

Nick Everington, marine minerals portfolio manager for The Crown Estate, said: ‘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. This 22nd report reflects the ongoing commitment from both The Crown Estate and the industry to this important initiative and, as such, we welcome any comments or feedback on it.’

Mark Russell, BMAPA director, said: ‘UK Government has recognized that it is essential there is a sufficient supply of minerals to provide the housing, infrastructure, energy and goods that our nations need, and marine aggregate supplies play an important role in meeting these needs in England and Wales.

‘The area 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 of these over the last two decades reflect an industry committed to continual improvement.’

Spatial and temporal data relating to the marine aggregate dredging activity have become increasingly important in supporting the sustainable management of UK waters, and both BMAPA and The Crown Estate are committed to maintaining and developing the Area Involved reporting initiative.

Marine aggregates provide more than 20% of the sand and gravel demand in England and Wales, with the majority of supply used in high-value ready-mixed concrete and concrete products.

Certain regions are particularly reliant upon marine supplies. One third of all primary aggregate demand in London and the South East of England is met from marine resources, whilst in South Wales more than 90% of the market demand for natural sand also comes from the sea.

The full 22nd annual ‘Area Involved’ report can be downloaded below.

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