SUDG highlights breadth and scale of UK marine industries at Parliamentary reception
THE Seabed User and Developer group (SUDG) held a reception in Parliament on 7 March to highlight the breadth and scale of UK marine industries, including marine aggregates, represented by British Marine Aggregates Producers Association (BMAPA). The reception was attended by MPs and Peers in key constituencies.
SUDG marine industries are vital to the UK’s prosperity. Renewable energy, oil and gas, marine aggregates, ports, subsea cables, recreational boating, and carbon capture and storage each play a key role in how the UK addresses energy security, climate change, levelling up coastal economies, securing logistics and supply chains, telecommunications, Internet connectivity, and tourism. Collectively, they directly employ more than 900,000 people and are key to the UK’s economic growth, competitiveness, international trade, and communications.
Environmental pressures from SUDG industries are generally well understood and managed to minimize impact, and this must continue. However, the quality of the UK’s unique and globally important marine environment falls short of Good Environmental Status, and improvement and restoration are essential.
Addressing the event Lord Benyon, Minister for Biosecurity, Marine and Rural Affairs, recognized ‘the importance of the work being done by SUDG marine industries to meet the challenges of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, whilst working towards achieving net zero and energy security, and the importance of the SUDG as a forum for collaboration between government, industry and environmental groups to look for creative solutions to shared challenges’.
Peter Aldous, MP, said: ‘This event reinforced in my mind the key role that marine industries play in the economy, the environment and energy security, and that through collaboration and working together we will achieve a great deal more for the benefit of the whole of the country.’
Peter Barham, chair of SUDG, said: ‘The reception was a great opportunity for MPs and peers to gain a better understanding of the importance for the economy and marine environment of the industries SUDG represents. We are currently experiencing unprecedented change in the marine space as we meet the challenges of the energy and biodiversity crises. We believe delivering on our members’ priorities would make a considerable difference to industry, government, and the environment.
‘We are grateful to those who joined us and especially Peter Aldous MP, who is kindly sponsoring the event.’
Mark Russell, executive director of BMAPA, said: ‘The marine aggregate industry is one of the UK’s key suppliers of sand and gravel. In a typical year, more than 20 million tonnes of marine aggregate are dredged from an area of less than 1% (0.15%) of the UK seabed, providing over 20% of sand and gravel sales in England and 48% in Wales.
‘Marine-dredged sand and gravel also provide a strategic role in supplying large-scale coast defence and beach-replenishment projects – more than 38 million tonnes being used for this purpose since 1990. Looking forward, marine aggregate resources are expected to play a key role in supporting the successful delivery of major infrastructure projects associated with government policies related to energy security and climate change.’