MMO approves trial use of new maintenance dredging disposal site

Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has approved a scheme that allows for two trial dredging disposal operations at a new site, which is five miles closer to shore that the current site. The trial will require an enhanced programme of monitoring.

Harwich Haven Authority (HHA) has been in discussion with the MMO since January 2011 regarding the possibility of approving a new site to reduce the significant dredge cost and CO2 emissions. The current site is a 49-mile round trip from the harbour – around 80% of the total dredge time is spent sailing to and from the disposal site.

To determine whether a new site could be approved, HHA held initial discussions with the MMO and carried out a range of studies and public consultations. Local fishermen expressed concerns, and although the studies predicted very small changes that are unlikely to have a negative effect on fisheries, a revised monitoring programme was developed to track whether these changes occur.

Once trial disposal operations have been completed at the new site, further disposals will return to the existing site. A report will be submitted to the MMO, including the results of the monitoring and any evidence provided by fishermen or other local stakeholders.

If the changes are more extensive, disposal will remain at the existing site and further assessment will be undertaken. HHA aims to be using the new site and monitoring disposal operations in June and August.

“HHA is delighted to finally receive approval for this trial from the MMO, and following this monitoring exercise we look forward to them granting permission to use the alternative site.”

Neil Glendinning, CEO of Harwich Haven Authority