Volker Dredging, a Kent-based company, has applied to continue to extract up to 22,500,000 tonnes of shingles over a 15 year period – around 3,000,000 tonnes each year.
Volker applied to the Marine Management Organisation to undertake the regulated activity under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
High winds and the damage from the waves speeds up the rate of longshore drift, where the shingles are gradually shifted along the shoreline.
Work has been done in the past to tackle this problem including shingles being added from external sources in an effort to restore the coastline.
Last year in Eastbourne the environment agency and the council used a dredging vessel to suck up sediment from one part of the beach, mix it with water then spit it back out to top up the sediment levels in necessary places on the coastline – a process known as rainbowing.
Winter storms often move more sediment than usual from the beach, hence the need for the dredger to step in.
In July last year a beach management scheme was completed in Eastbourne which saw the beach gain new shingles from the Isle of Wight, delivered by the Sospan Dau dredger.
Shingle was recycled from overfull beaches between the Wish Tower and Bandstand too.
Anyone wanting to view or comment on the application from Volker Dredging can find it at www.gov.uk/check-marine-licence-register