Skip to main content

Whitsand Bay

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether he has applied Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration to the disposal of dredged materials at Whitsand Bay; and if he will make a statement; (102516)

(2) what policies his Department operates on the disposal of dredged materials;

(3) how many tonnes of dredged material were disposed in and around Whitsand Bay in each year since 1997; how much such material he expects to be disposed of there in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what licences to dispose of dredged material in Whitsand Bay have been issued;

(5) if he will make a statement on the disposal of dredged materials in Whitsand Bay;

(6) what the origin is of the dredged material for which a licence has been issued for disposal in Whitsand Bay.

The Rame Head disposal site has received dredged material from the Plymouth area for over 100 years. A disposal licence under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) is required prior to any disposal taking place. No licence would be issued until the impact of disposing of the material had been fully assessed. The decision would account for Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on the precautionary principle.

The majority of the dredged material disposed of at Rame Head is sourced from the Devonport Naval Base on the River Tamar. However, Cattewater Harbour and ABP Millbay Docks and Lincombe Boatyard have also used the site. The following tables show the licences issued since 1997 and the amounts disposed of to the disposal site. Further historical information is available on request.

The weight of evidence currently to hand supports the view that the continued disposal of dredged material to the Rame Head site in Whitsand Bay is an environmentally acceptable one, subject to licence conditions and oversight of the activities.

Table 1: Licences issued for the disposal of dredged material at the Rame Head disposal site

Year issued

Licence Id

DC file reference

Licensee

1997

5040/97/0

5040

Maunsell Maritime

1997

5323/97/0

5323

Defence Estates

1997

5367/97/0

5367

Ministry of Defence

1999

30522/99/0

5423

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners

1999

30711/99/0

5895

Stride Management Ltd.

2000

30425/00/0

5117

Jacobs Babtie (Exeter)

2000

30711/00/0

5895

Stride Management Ltd.

2000

30820/00/0

5962

Marina Developments Ltd.

2000

31023/00/0

5423

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners

2001

30425/01/0

5117

Jacobs Babtie (Exeter)

2001

31023/01/0

5423

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners

2001

31161/01/0

6227

Base Services Department

2001

31381/01/0

6445

Jacobs Babtie (Exeter)

2002

31831/02/0

6656

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

2002

31635/02/0

5423

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners

2003

31831/03/0

6656

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

2003

31958/03/0

6729

Associated British Ports

2003

32032/03/0

6763

Defence Estates

2003

32243/03/0

5423

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners

2003

31635/03/0

5423

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners

2004

31958/04/0

6729

Associated British Ports

2004

32032/04/0

6763

Defence Estates

2004

32323/04/0

6988

Defence Estates

2004

32433/04/0

7066

Westminster Dredging Co. Ltd.

2005

31868/05/0

6676

Winters Marine Ltd.

2005

32433/05/0

7066

Westminster Dredging Co. Ltd.

2006

33271/06/0

7778

Cattewater Harbour Commissioners

Table 2: Summary of disposal at Rame Head, giving total tonnages, wet weight

Total disposal

1997

327,364

1998

75,880

1999

64,031

2000

114,859

2001

1,095,071

2002

11,984

2003

94,280

2004

241,704

2005

140,321

2006

1

1 None reported.

Source: Defra Marine Consent Management System (MCMS) and double-checked against the OSPAR disposal returns.