Harbour Management Plan

7 DREDGING

7.1 An applicant for a dredging licence, which is required from GHT before any dredging takes place within the Gloucester Harbour pursuant to Part IV of the HRO 1994, must also have the consent of the owner of the mineral rights which, in the Gloucester Harbour, need not necessarily be the Crown Estate and obtain a Government View under the new arrangements for the licensing of mineral dredging. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, the appropriate statutory Environmental Agencies and others affected by any application will have to be consulted by the applicant for the dredging licence. In practice, many of the non-commercial conditions contained in the Government View will be incorporated into the dredging licence issued by GHT, particularly those to do with the manner and mode of dredging and the monitoring of the effect on the marine environment.

7.2 The Bristol Channel Marine Aggregates Resources and Constraints Research Project has considered the sand and aggregates available within the Channel and the effects of dredging on the Channel.

7.3 There are considerable resources of medium to fine sand available within the Gloucester Harbour estimated as being in excess of 500M metric tonnes. The Upper Severn Estuary is a sink for such material and usage will become more attractive for development as abstraction of resources in the Central Bristol Channel become less sustainable. An application relating to the North Middle Grounds is currently being processed for permission to extract up to 400,000 tonnes per annum.

7.4 GHT makes charges to vessels dredging within the Gloucester Harbour pursuant to section 26 of the Harbours Act 1964.

7.5 Maintenance dredging is carried out by British Waterways in the Sharpness Dock entrance and GHT has power to undertake dredging in order to maintain navigable channels.

POLICY DREDGE 1 - Subject to its current statutory obligations

a) Routine Maintenance Dredging

GHT recognises the need for regular maintenance dredging within active docks, berths and power station cooling water installations. GHT will support dredging regimes undertaken where necessary to maintain acceptable depths for the safety of commercial shipping within the Harbour or for the safety of the power station.

b) Irregular Maintenance Dredging

GHT will, if necessary, exercise its powers to undertake maintenance dredging of the main navigation channel within the Gloucester Harbour to acceptable depths.

c) Capital Dredging

GHT will support proposals to improve facilities for shipping and increased trade through capital dredging PROVIDED that such works can be shown not to have a significant adverse effect on conservation interests (see Policy ME 1(b))

d) Dredging for Sand and Aggregates

GHT will be prepared to consider issuing dredging licences for sand and aggregate dredging to take place within the Gloucester Harbour PROVIDED the extraction

i) meets the recommendations of the Report of the Bristol Channel Marine Aggregates Resources and Constraints Research Project particularly those relating to the marine environment and the sustainable extraction of aggregates

ii) is sustainable

iii) does not have an adverse effect on

a) the environment

b) the main navigation channels

c) the existing tidal and sedimentary regime of the remainder of the Gloucester Harbour

iv) is properly monitored.

v) has the consent/approval of other relevant authorities

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