HC Deb 11 November 1969 vol 791 cc78-9W
Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what tonnages of sand and gravel were extracted from the Continental Shelf in the latest convenient year; what proportion this represented of total consumption; and what measures he is taking in order to expand production from the seabed.

Mr. John Silkin

Provisional figures for 1968 show the total of marine dredged sand and gravel, including that won from within United Kingdom territorial waters, landed at United Kingdom ports to be about 9.5 million tons, representing about 81 per cent. of consumption. These figures exclude marine sand and gravel landed in Europe by British operators. In 1968 this was slightly more than 2 million tons, mostly dredged from the North Sea.

Government steps to encourage the growth of this industry include procedural improvements in dealing with applications for licences to dredge; a series of studies designed to increase knowledge about the sea bed, its reserves of minerals, and its behaviour in relation to dredging; and investigation into possible developments in dredging technology.