The Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely, has received assurances from The Crown Estate (responsible for granting dredging licences) that marine aggregate dredging activity off Sandown Bay is not impacting on the coastline.
Responding to a letter from the MP last month, The Crown Estate said there was evidence to show that the aggregate deposits on the seabed were relict deposits of sand and gravel left by ancient rivers and as such were ‘immobile’ – meaning their extraction would not cause significant changes to the coastline.
According to his official announcement, Mr Seely was also advised that the dredging activity was fully licensed with regular monitoring surveys undertaken in accordance with Marine Management Organisation (MMO) requirements.
In a letter to the Island’s MP, The Crown Estate said: “We take our environmental and stewardship responsibilities very seriously, and we continue to work with the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association and the aggregates industry to help support the effective and sustainable management of our seabed, helping to drive a significant long-term reduction in the total area of seabed licensed for marine aggregate extraction.”
Furthermore, Mr Seely was provided with a report published in 2019 by the Southern Coastal Group which concluded that erosion in the Bay area in the years leading up to the report was largely due to record-breaking major storm events and higher mean sea levels.
Commenting the latest announcement, Mr Seely said: “I know that residents are concerned about the dredging currently taking place off Sandown Bay; it concerned me too.”
“However, the evidence I have seen suggests that the marine aggregate dredging is not impacting on the shoreline and that erosion in the area is largely the result of historic storm activity from previous years.
“I am satisfied that this is a well-regulated industry with regular monitoring in place, and I thank The Crown Estate for taking the time to talk to me.”