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Aggregate Dredging

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 10th April 2002.

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Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria and what time scale is being used by her Department for the issuing of aggregate dredging licences for the Brucey's Garden Area of the NW Dogger shipping area of the North sea; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Sally Keeble Sally Keeble Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions

I have been asked to reply.

Marine aggregate dredging licences are issued by the Crown Estate which owns nearly all of the seabed out to the UK 12 mile territorial limit and has rights to all minerals within the UK share of the European Continental Shelf. It issues licences only if the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions first issues a favourable 'Government View' on the proposed dredging.

The Crown Estate has received no dredging licence applications for the Brucey's Garden Area of the North West Dogger shipping area of the North sea but has received applications from two nearby areas, called North West Rough and Southernmost Rough. No applications in those areas have yet been submitted to the Secretary of State for a Government View.

If they are, as in all other cases, they will be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment, including a Coastal Impact Study, and wide consultation with other Government Departments, relevant coastal local authorities and other bodies having responsibilities for the protection of the marine environment. The Secretary of State would not issue a favourable Government View unless he was satisfied that there will be no adverse impact on the coast and no unacceptable effect on the marine environment that could not be mitigated through the observance of conditions attached to the licence.

Time scales for the issue of marine dredging licences are a matter for the Crown Estate. Suggested time scales for processing and determining applications for a Government View are set out in the former DETR/WO publication "Government View: New Arrangements for the Licensing of Minerals Dredging" dated May 1998.

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