Licences for marine aggregate dredging fall into seven broad geographical regions around the UK coastline, the majority of them concentrated off the East and South coasts of England. Other licence areas are located in the Bristol Channel and in the Irish Sea.
There are currently over 70 production licences around the coast of England and Wales, and their distribution – both individually and within the wider regions and their sub-regions – reflects the discrete and localised geographic distribution of the commercially viable geological deposits that are able to be exploited.
The total licence area extends to 1291km2 (2010), which equates to around 0.15% of the UK continental shelf. Of this, only about 40% of the licensed area is available to be dredged at any one time as a result of zoning measures (552km2 in 2010), and the total area dredged in a single year will typically represent less than 10% of the licensed area. This equated to 105 square kilometres in 2010, representing a reduction of over 115 square kilometres compared to the equivalent figure in 1998.
The UK’s licensed dredging areas are shown on this map, along with the wharves where the dredged products are landed.
More detail is available from The Crown Estate’s website, where you can also download pdf’s showing individual licence areas in seven regions around our coastline.