The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has provided an update on proposed changes to dredging and disposal activities on behalf of HMNB Devonport.
The MMO recently held negotiations with representatives of the ‘Stop Dumping in Whitsand Bay’ campaign group which brought a claim for judicial review challenging the MMO’s decision to grant a marine licence for dredging activity at HMNB Devonport and disposal of material at the Rame Head South disposal site.
Having reviewed the matter, the MMO actively sought to resolve these proceedings by reaching agreement with the campaign group on an order quashing the licence. This order was made by the High Court on Monday 2nd February.
While the MMO believes its decision about the existing licence in relation to the dredging and disposal activities was substantially correct and in accordance with relevant environmental law, it acknowledges that its records in this case do not adequately record or explain its decision making.
The MMO has recently been involved in talks with the Ministry of Defense (MoD) about the future of important dredging activity at HMNB Devonport and disposal of material at the Rame Head South site.
Following these discussions the MoD has committed to looking at the future of dredging and disposal operations at the site and the destination of material removed from its approaches.
In the interim the MoD is making an application to the MMO for limited plough dredging at critical berths. The application will not include the disposal of material at sea due to the nature of the proposed dredging activity.
The MoD will continue to work with the MMO to explore alternative disposal site options.
The MMO is also undertaking a strategic review of disposal sites around the coast of England to provide additional information to assist future decision making on marine licensing applications. This review will look at the current status of each site, sensitivities and forthcoming designations, and the process for identifying and using disposal sites.