The Goodwin Sands is an area of naturally formed sandbank some 25 square nautical miles in area lying in the English Channel about 5km off the Kent coast. At low tide a large area of the sand is exposed and from the shore waves can often be seen crashing on to them.
Dover Harbour Board is applying for a licence to dredge up to 2.5 million cubic metres of
marine aggregate annually from an 11.6 sq km area in the south of the Goodwin Sands. This amounts to about 13% of the total area of the Sands. The proposed dredging could be spread out over a 6 year period.
The aggregate is needed for the Dover Western Docks Regeneration project.
Their reasons for doing this are:
- It was done in the past when building the Hoverport, Eastern Docks and Channel Tunnel.
- Marine aggregate is cheaper to purchase from The Crown Estate (who own the seabed) than from a commercial dredging site.
- The carbon footprint of transporting the aggregate from the Goodwin Sands will be less than obtaining it from a commercial site in the Thames Estuary and transporting it to Dover by lorry.
We are petitioning the Maritime Management Organisation (who issue the marine dredging licences) to reject the application on the following grounds:
- The Goodwin Sands are currently a recommended Marine Conservation Zone (rMCZ) and have already been surveyed to become a Designated MCZ by DEFRA. A dredging licence should not even be being considered whilst this recommendation is in progress.
- The last dredging licence for the Channel Tunnel project was issued over 20 years ago. Attitudes and awareness about the environment have changed significantly since then and what was acceptable in 1992 is not in 2016.
- The aggregate could be brought from the Thames Estuary by boat to reduce the carbon footprint, which can also be mitigated in other ways.
- The saving to Dover Harbour Board is estimated at £6.7M; the cost to the environment is limitless.
We need 10,000 signatures to get a response to our campaign from the Government.