Marine aggregate dredging affects considerably less than 1 per cent of the UK’s marine area – yet provides around 20 per cent of the sand and gravel we need in England and Wales. The industry’s output is equivalent to approximately 50 quarries which would otherwise be needed on land. The fact that dredgers can deliver close to the heart of urban areas or direct to coast protection and beach replenishment projects removes many thousands of lorry journeys from our roads. Here, we quote some of the key facts and figures about marine aggregate dredging.
- The industry operates 27 purpose built marine aggregate dredgers with a total replacement value of >£1 billion.
- The industry directly employs some 640 staff, around 500 of which crew the fleet of aggregate dredgers.
- Marine sand and gravel is dredged from 70 production licence areas located off the coast of England and Wales.
- Marine sand and gravel is delivered to specialised marine aggregate wharves in 35 ports around England and Wales for use by the construction industry.
- Marine sand and gravel is also delivered to wharves in 17 ports on mainland Europe, where it is used by the construction industry.
- Large volumes of marine sand and gravel are increasingly being used for coast protection purposes, through beach nourishment.
- Large volumes of marine sand and gravel are also being used as contract fill material in support of major infrastructure developments, such as ports and airports.
- A typical dredger will deliver the equivalent of 250, 20-tonne lorry loads.
- Dredgers deliver into major urban areas or direct to beach replenishment projects.
- Over 18,000 tonnes (900 lorry loads) of marine aggregate is delivered every day of the year to Thameside wharves.
|Area of UK seabed
||100% of seabed
|Area of seabed licensed for dredging
||0.15% of seabed
|Area available to be worked
|| 0.09% of seabed
43% of area licensed
||0.014% of seabed
8.27% of area licensed
18.98% of area available to be worked
|Total marine aggregate production
||15.95 million tonnes
|Total landings in England and Wales
||9.94 million tonnes
|Total landings in Continental Europe
||5.19 million tonnes
|Contract fill and beach nourishment
||0.86 million tonnes
|Total construction aggregate market
|Recycled and secondary aggregates
|Marine aggregates (landings for construction in England and Wales))
|Marine contribution to South East
|Marine contribution to London and Thames corridor
|Marine contribution to South Wales (sand)