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Invitation to fisheries consultation meeting 29 Jan re. proposed new dredging area west of Isle of Wight

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Some of you may be interested in this proposal






Susanne Rupp-Armstrong <sarmstrong@abpmer.co.uk>

Attachments10:21 AM (7 hours ago)



I’m writing to you today to invite you to a fisheries consultation meeting on a proposed new aggregates dredging area west of the Isle of Wight (on behalf of CEMEX).


The venue is still being confirmed, but for now, if you are interested, could you please hold the date: 29 Jan 2019, 6 to 8pm, Lymington


If you are a representative of a fishing association, we would be very grateful if you could forward this email to any fishermen you think might be affected.


We might have contacted you about this before, the consultation has been ongoing for a while. However, some fishermen we spoke to recently indicated that they would be interested in a meeting, so this meeting has been set up to give fishermen the opportunity to discuss the proposed application with CEMEX and us, and to get a better idea of how fishermen might be affected.


In order to help you decide whether you might be affected by the proposed new dredging area, please find some information below and attached.


In summary, CEMEX are planning to apply for a marine dredging licence, in order to dredge materials from Area 522, which would be immediately north and west of their existing dredging area 137, some 2.5 to 7 nautical miles west of the Isle of Wight (see attached map and coordinates).


By way of background, we are the consultancy which has been commissioned by CEMEX to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment, and we are in the process of finalising the Environmental Statement (ES) before it is submitted to the MMO. This will be the main document which will support the licence application by CEMEX to dredge in Area 522.


Once the ES has been submitted, the MMO will undertake formal consultation on the ES / application, which would then get advertised and give you a further opportunity to comment. 


In terms of the proposed application, CEMEX is seeking permission to extract a total of 4.5 Million tonnes (Mt) of sands and gravels over a 15 year licence term from Area 522, with an annual maximum extraction of 0.6 Mt and an average annual extraction of 0.3 Mt. This would translate into approximately 1.2 to 2.3 dredger visits per week (average versus maximum). 


Following discussions with some fishermen last year, CEMEX has developed mitigation measures which are aimed at reducing impacts on fish and fisheries when compared to what they had previously planned. Firstly, CEMEX have considerably reduced the area over time from what was first published on the Crown Estate (TCE) website.  The initial Crown Estate Exploration and Option Area on TCE’s website has been halved in size, following survey work, from 21.6 sq km to 10 sq km.  The reduced 10 sq km is the area that represents the application area for a MMO marine licence. 


CEMEX are now furthermore proposing to implement an active dredge zone (ADZ), whereby they would commit to reducing the area potentially directly impacted at any one time to a quarter of that area, i.e. 2.5 sq km.  CEMEX will also consider reducing the ADZ in neighbouring Area 137.


Furthermore, CEMEX propose to establish a fisheries liaison group to facilitate communication and potentially further reduce spatial impacts.  How such a group could work would need to be further discussed with you and your colleagues. 


It is also worth noting that the dredging companies are all signed up to a good practice guidance (https://bmapa.org/documents/BMAPA_TCE_Good_Practice_Guidance_04.2017.pdf), which means that they routinely observe ‘standard mitigation measures’, which include, amongst others, leaving a capping layer of similar seabed sediment, which reduces impacts and allows the seabed to recover after dredging (this is now subject to regular regional monitoring overseen by Cefas).


I will be in touch again over the next few days to confirm the venue.


Best regards,





Dr Susanne Armstrong | Senior Consultant | ABPmer

Quayside Suite| Medina Chambers | Town Quay | Southampton| SO14 2AQ |
Direct: 023 8071 1885 | Tel: 023 8071 1840 | Email: 

Please note that I do not work on Fridays.


Area 522 Coordinates_Oct2018.xlsx



Area 522 Figure_West Wight_DredgingAreas.png

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I note in the summary of the 'good practice' guidelines mention is made that the dredging makes a contribution to the UK's balance of payments. 
I suspect this means that we sell the dredged material to other countries - as is oftern seen with coasters loading sand and gravel on Poole Quay. 

IMHO it's not good enough to dredge our sea-bed to sell the result abroad, bearing in mind the impact the dredging has on our fishing waters. It's only a couple of years ago that the waters west of the Isle if Wight were clouded up for a considertable distance with dumped spoil from Southampton area dredging - and the adverse effect this had on fishing at that time.

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I think anything such as dredging is disruptive and destroys the plants and animals that colonise the area. Shame we lost the option of all those would be fish holding wind turbine bases, that might even have put paid to dredging locally.

A response on no from the club is be happy with.

Flattening out banks and more disturbance is not needed. Unless I am mistaken they don't give any areas back when clicking more - a question worth asking possibly.


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The Bristol channel has been subject to commercial agregate/sand dredging for about 50 years. In that time the sand level on my local storm beach has fallen by more than 10 metres vertically .That is, the sand has been removed to such an extent that it has exposed prehistoric peat beds over more than a 7 mile length of beach. The adjacent beaches have also been affected to some lesser degree.


Sand is a finite resource you dig a hole and sand from elsewhere moves to fill it in.  Eventually the ripple effect reaches the extremeties i.e the local beaches and their sands  flow back towards the source of the dredging thus removing it from the beach..


I would oppose this scheme on numerous ecological grounds:angry:

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