Dredging Company Fined for Unlicensed Deposits

Westminster Dredging Company Limited appeared last week at Plymouth Magistrates Court in respect of 1 charge of carrying out marine licensable activity otherwise in accordance with a marine licence contrary to section 65 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

The charge related to a dredging and disposal campaign carried out by the company on behalf of the Defense Infrastructure Organisation for the Ministry of Defense between 17 and 25 September 2014 when dredged material from HM Naval Dockyard at Devonport was deposited at an authorized disposal site south of Rame Head.

At the time of the dredging and disposal campaign Westminster Dredging Company Limited had a marine licence but it did not cover 31 of the 32 disposals that were made during that period by the company’s vessel WD Mersey.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) began an investigation after a member of the public complained about the dredging and disposal activity.

The company co-operated from the beginning of the investigation and throughout and provided the MMO with a complete set of co-ordinates and start/end times for each disposal which assisted the investigation.

Having heard the facts and the mitigation put forward on behalf of the company the court agreed with the MMO that the company had been negligent in its actions and decided that the appropriate level of fine, taking into account the sentencing guidelines on environmental offences was £40,000.

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