February 2005 Comments

Here we go again! We are told by the EU engineers that Offshore Dredging for Marine Aggregate is without doubt harmful to the marine environment as well as "cause or exacerbate coastal erosion" and the UK Government, DEFRA to be precise, has given English Nature **£2,000,000 of our money** to find out whether Offshore Dredging is harmful to the marine environment. I feel absolutely sure any twelve year old schoolchild could have answered that one for free!

On Friday 11th February 05 a public notice appeared in the Eastern Daily Press saying that Hanson Aggregates Marine Ltd. has applied to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for renewal of an existing licence to dredge area 401/2 of the East Coast Area just off Great Yarmouth for a further 15 years. Obviously the dredging companies are not content with the 135,000,000 Tonnes that has been removed from the East Coast fields over the previous fifteen years.

In this part of the world we are currently engaged in consultation over the proposed Kelling to Lowestoft Shoreline Management Plan (SMP). This new SMP is requiring us to sacrifice and lose much of our coastal communities and cultural heritage with absolutely no compensation for the losses incurred over a one hundred year timeframe. The SMP makes the following reference to dredging " Whether or not there are links between offshore dredging and coastal erosion is uncertain, ".

What on earth is going on , does the British Government really believe we are all stupid? The Hanson request for a fifteen year licence extension must be turned down. There must be an immediate Moratorium placed on all aggregate dredging activity until we are certain of it's effects on coastal erosion and marine biodiversity.

Malcolm Kerby (13 February 2005)