Vital role of UK marine aggregates highlighted at Parliament event

The Seabed User and Developer group (SUDG) held a reception in Parliament on March 7 to highlight the breadth and scale of UK marine industries, including the marine aggregates sector which is represented by the British Marine Aggregates Producers Association (BMAPA).
Quarry Products / March 29, 2023
Lord Benyon, Minister for Biosecurity, Marine and Rural Affairs, addressed the event
Lord Benyon, Minister for Biosecurity, Marine and Rural Affairs, addressed the event

BMAPA executive director Mark Russell says the marine aggregate industry is one of the UK's key suppliers of sand and gravel.

"In a typical year, over 20 million tonnes of marine aggregate are dredged from an area of less than 1 per cent (0.15%) of the UK seabed, providing over 20 per cent of sand and gravel sales in England and 48 per cent in Wales. Marine dredged sand and gravel also provide a strategic role in supplying large scale coast defence and beach replenishment projects - over 38 million tonnes being used for this purpose since 1990. Looking forwards, marine aggregate resources are expected to play a key role in supporting the successful delivery of major infrastructure projects associated with Government policies related to energy security and climate change.”

The BMPA says that SUDG marine industries are vital to the UK’s prosperity. Renewable energy, oil and gas, marine aggregates, ports, subsea cables, recreational boating, and carbon capture & storage, each play a key role in how the UK addresses energy security, climate change, levelling up coastal economies, securing logistics and supply chains, telecommunications, internet connectivity, and tourism. Collectively, they directly employ more than 900,000 people and are key to the UK’s economic growth, competitiveness, international trade, and communications. Environmental pressures from SUDG industries are generally well understood and managed to minimise impact, and this must continue. However, the quality of the UK’s unique and globally important marine environment falls short of Good Environmental Status, and improvement and restoration is essential.
Lord Benyon, Minister for Biosecurity, Marine and Rural Affairs, addressed the event, recognising: “The importance of the work being done by SUDG marine industries to meet the challenges of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis whilst working towards achieving net zero and energy security, and the importance of the SUDG as a forum for collaboration between government, industry and environmental groups to look for creative solutions to shared challenges”
MP Peter Aldous said the event had reinforced in his mind the key role that marine industries play in the economy, the environment and energy security, and that through collaboration and working together a great deal more will be achieved for the benefit of the whole of the country.
Peter Barham, chair of SUDG, said: “The reception was a great opportunity for MPs and Peers to gain a better understanding of the importance for the economy and marine environment of the industries SUDG represents. We are currently experiencing unprecedented change in the marine space as we meet the challenges of the energy and biodiversity crises. We believe delivering on our members’ priorities would make a considerable difference to industry, government, and the environment.
“We are grateful to those who joined us and especially Peter Aldous MP who kindly sponsoring the event.” 
The SUDG’s policy asks for Government are:

• creating a holistic and shared vision for the sustainable use of our future seas, encompassing land-based employment and economic growth as well as protecting and improving the environment

• streamlining regulatory processes through better service standards, protocols, and clearer focus on the most significant environmental impacts of development

• developing robust and simple approaches to strategic compensation and net gain which are supported by all marine industries to allow the delivery of important conservation goals 

• ensuring sufficient capacity and expertise in regulators and conservation bodies so that regulatory delay is not a barrier to growth and that decisions are less risk averse and more proportionate

For more information on companies in this article