Arco Dee off Cowes Photo:Kevin Quick
There are 3 types of dredging:-
Currently there are three major dredging projects in the Solent, all being undertaken by ABP. Click here to visit their website for details. Also out to tender is the dredging contract to deepen the approach channel into Portsmouth to accomodate the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers
. To achieve this, the approach channel, harbour entrance, inner harbour and berth pocket needs to be deepened, widened and straightened. It is anticipated that this contract will be for a period of circa 12 months. It is estimated that this will involve the removal of approximately 3.2 million cubic metres of dredge material.
Inevitably, there is a gradual silting of artifically deeepened channels, harbours and marinas. The equipment used ranges dfrom small excavators mounted on a pontoon that can access marinas to major dredging campaigns run by purpose designed trailing suction dredgers like UKD Bluefin featured at the top of this page.
Materials such as sand and gravel are needed for most construction projects on land. Much of this is extracted from the seeabed in licensed areas such as those to the south of the Isle of Wight. More information is available from this link
All dredging is subject to rigorous examination by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and the Crown Estate (who own much of the seabed around the UK). If necessary. scientific studies are carried out to ensure that removal of sand and gravel will not impact on the marine ecology and/or the coast. Careful compliance with the requirements of the Habitats Regulations is also required. It is not really possible for SPS to participate in such a technical process, but we do watch consents as they are applied for and would voice any legitimate concerns on behalf of our members. More information about the effects of aggregate dredging can be found in a report by CEFAS, a government supported laboratory.
Dredging is essential for the economic wellbeing of the area, but can have adverse environmental consequences. SPS are extremely disappointed by the lack of progress on making beneficial use of dredged material to improve wetland, marshes and flood defences. We will report on developments in our newsletter, and by joining Solent Protection Society, you can have your say in our forum
For Notices to Mariners for the Southampton Main Channel Deepening, click here