Substantial deposits of sand and gravel exist on the seabed of the eastern English Channel. Prospecting surveys by several marine aggregate operators in recent years have shown that some of these deposits represent a viable aggregate resource.

As a result, five companies submitted a total of seven applications for dredging permissions all of which have now been granted. Dredging began in the region in 2006.

The seven dredging permissions cover a total of approximately 100 square kilometres (39 square miles), which would be the maximum total dredging area over 15 years. This represents approximately 0.35 per cent of the total area of seabed in the region. You can view maps of the licence areas.

The whole of the permitted dredging areas would not, however, be active at once. The industry would manage the resource in consultation with fishermen and other stakeholders and would divide each licence area into working zones, so greatly reducing the impact at any time. Three months' notice would be given to fishermen of any changes to these zones.