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Marine Environment Awareness

Environmental awareness is of considerable and increasing importance, CEMEX, as producers of both land-won and sea-dredged materials are acutely aware of our responsibilities

Sand and gravel is only taken from licensed areas, with permission to draw materials obtained from the relevant government department in England or Wales.

Although marine aggregates now represent in excess of 20 per cent of the usage of sand and gravel in England and Wales, dredging licences cover only a small percentage of the UK continental self and an even smaller area is dredged in any year.

In common with planning permission for land-based extraction, the process for gaining a marine aggregates dredging permission is both rigorous and extensive. Permission will only be granted after wide consultation with relevant agencies, authorities and other sea bed users and after undertaking a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). As part of the EIA, consideration is given to all potentially significant effects, including coastal erosion, fisheries, other marine life, and archaeology.

Marine life

Evidence also suggests that the impact on other marine life is confined to the dredging area and relatively short-lived, with no significant long-term effect on biodiversity. After dredging completion, re-colonisation begins almost immediately and the seabed is biologically similar, typically within 2-5 years, longer in some cases.

Coastal erosion

coastal erosionCoastal erosion driven by waves and currents is a natural phenomenon that affects both beaches and cliffs. Our marine business commissions independent detailed studies before permission to dredge is granted involving careful hydrodynamic analysis of the local factors. Where necessary, monitoring is performed of the seabed, coastline, beaches and coastal pathways to ensure no damage is done.


Careful liaison between groups representing local fishermen's interests, scientific organisations and the dredging industry ensures the minimum of disruption occurs. If the proposed dredging licence lies in a sensitive area such as a spawning ground then strict mitigation measures will be imposed or, if mitigation is not possible, consent may be denied.


The preservation of marine heritage and archaeology, namely wrecks and submerged landscapes, are strictly observed by a jointly developed code of practice used by the marine aggregate industry which includes mapping of the seabed prior to dredging to establish the positions of any wrecks and other archaeological features. In October 2005, CEMEX UK Marine implemented reporting procedures as part of an industry-wide archaeological reporting protocol in partnership with BMAPA and English Heritage.

Both the industry, and CEMEX UK Marine, pursue the discharge of their environmental responsibilities with determination. Marine aggregates are fully recyclable and can be reused for other building projects when a structure constructed from them reaches the end of its life. Therefore providing new consents continue to be granted, the activities of responsible companies such as our marine business are designed to ensure that any environmental impacts remain at a minimum, and that the supply of high-quality marine aggregates will be guaranteed for generations to come.

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