The Marine Management Organization (MMO) has approved an application from Dover Harbor Board (DHB) to carry out aggregate dredging at Area 521, known as the South Goodwin Sands.
The marine licence granted by the MMO gives DHB permission to extract up to 3 million tonnes of aggregate by trailer suction hopper dredging, which is proposed to be undertaken between September 2019 and September 2020.
This follows an application DHB originally made to the MMO in May 2016. The aggregate is required to provide fill material for the wider Dover Western Docks Revival project.
The decision follows extensive public consultation, during which over 1,300 specific representations from the public were received. Issues raised during this consultation were taken into account by the applicant, the MMO and its primary advisers in determining the application.
John Tuckett, Chief Executive of the Marine Management Organization, said: “We understand the strength of feeling surrounding this development, both for and against. As a regulator that has to balance and manage competing uses of the marine environment we accept that not everyone will be happy with the decisions we make.”
“However we are entirely impartial in our marine licencing process and consider and are satisfied that this decision is based on the best available evidence and is proportionate and complies with relevant policy.”
It is now up to DHB to decide whether they proceed with the dredging project.