Newly formed AODA, the Anglian Offshore Dredging Association consisting of CEMEX UK Marine, Hanson Aggregates Marine, United Marine Dredging, Volker Dredging Ltd. and Sea Aggregates Ltd are considering a new set of dredging areas off our East Anglian coast.
A further large extension (Area 495B) is being sought offshore between Gt. Yarmouth and Lowestoft, to the east of the existing dredging area, and also another new area (Area 496) some ten times that area already being dredged at the existing site off Southwold. The near edge of this Area 496 is to the west of the existing dredging ground, less than half the distance from the shoreline as the existing dredge site.
AODA is holding a ‘Public Information Day’ on this issue at the Vice Admiral Bar at Great Yarmouth Racecourse THIS FRIDAY, open from 2.00 pm with three 15 to 20 minute presentation sessions to commence at 3 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm. I will be there from 3pm onwards, to ask tough questions of the dredgers. So will Pat Gowen of the independent coastal research and protection group, MARINET, and probably (as happened last time) a large number of ordinary citizens and coastal campaigners.
In Holland, the world experts on coastline protection have a ban on dredging for aggregates closer than 25km to the shore. Yet here in England, we allow dredging to take place way closer than that. If this application is granted, it will be criminally irresponsible, at a time when manmade climate change is threatening in any case to raise sea levels and is already worsening winter storms.
I intend on Friday to ask a set of awkward questions of the dredgers; if they cannot adequately reply, then they owe it to the people of East Anglia to withdraw their application and take a more sensible, precautionary approach, rather than wading in and ruining our fragile coastline forever.