The MMO has concluded its assessment on the characterisation of the new Harwich Haven disposal site report and addendum.
Harwich Haven Authority (HHA) is seeking to have a new dredged material disposal site designated. HHA carries out maintenance dredging to maintain access to navigation channels within its area of jurisdiction. Some of the dredged material is used in beneficial reuse schemes with the remainder disposed of at a licensed offshore disposal ground called Inner Gabbard located about 30km east of Harwich. Inner Gabbard is one of the furthest offshore disposal sites in the UK.
A disposal site closer to shore would help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, steaming time and fuel use as:
HHA’s maintenance dredging and disposal operations are the largest part of their carbon dioxide output and fuel use
- the costs of dredging and disposal activities have increased in recent years due to various factors including fuel prices and exchange rates
HHA has submitted a site characterisation report to Marine Management Organisation (MMO), which is available on the MMO marine licensing public register. Click on ‘Eastern’ area and use ‘Ctrl F’ to search for application number MLP/2014/00006. MMO has completed an initial review and consultation on the site characterisation report. The consultation closed on Wednesday 5 March 2014. MMO has requested further information from HHA to fully assess the potential impacts of the creation of the disposal site. In particular, further information is required on:
- local shellfisheries
- local aggregate extraction sites
- fish spawning grounds in the vicinity of the proposed disposal site
- the conservation objectives of the Outer Thames Estuary Special Protection Area (SPA)
The letter MMO issued to HHA on 23 April 2014 and a copy of all consultation comments are available on this page.
In March 2015 HHA submitted an Addendum to the original Report, which aims to provide the further information requested.
In May 2015 the MMO carried out consultation on the Addendum. The MMO will publish the findings of this consultation when it has been completed.
The submitted information is available on the marine licensing public register and this in the Documents Section of this page.
HHA held consultation meetings in Harwich and Felixstowe on 5 and 6 February, primarily for local fishing interests but were open to all. A copy of the presentation slides used at the meetings is available on this page.
How HHA chose the location for the proposed new disposal site
HHA carried out a site selection exercise to identify the most suitable location for a new dredged material disposal site. The exercise used publically available data and information that identified sensitive environmental features and marine activities within a defined study area. Areas were given a sensitivity score or value, using informed judgement and information available from the literature, to reflect each feature’s vulnerability to disposal activities.
This exercise highlighted an area of apparent low sensitivity to the west of the current Inner Gabbard disposal site. The most appropriate place for a new disposal site was deemed to be at the western extremity of this area of low sensitivity – that is closest to Harwich Haven.
The proposed new disposal site is approximately 9km closer to the coast than the Inner Gabbard site. HHA has calculated that using this site rather than the Inner Gabbard site would reduce their fuel use by 14% and significantly reduce both costs and carbon emissions.
How MMO makes its decision
An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is not required for a site to be designated under the Marine Works (EIA) Regulations 2007 (as amended). However, MMO will carry out a process similar to that for a statutory EIA in order to decide whether or not to designate (create) the new disposal site.
MMO has already reviewed an environmental scoping report, which is available on our marine licensing public register. Click on ‘Eastern’ area and use ‘Ctrl F’ to search for application number MLP/2012/00212.
Marine Licensing Team
0300 123 1032