§ Mrs. Lait
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department will issue the Government view requested by the Crown Estate on the application by a consortium of companies for a licence to dredge a further 30 million tonnes of material over a 10-year period from the currently licensed Hastings shingle bank.
§ Sir Paul Beresford
After careful consideration, a letter is today being sent to the Crown Estate indicating that my Department is minded to issue a favourable538W Government view on this application, subject to the imposition of stringent conditions. These include limiting the maximum amount of material to be dredged to 15 million tonnes and limiting the term of the licence to five years.
The dredging of marine aggregates makes an important contribution to the supply of minerals for a wide range of purposes for the construction industry and beach nourishment. The material on the Hastings shingle bank is of a particularly high quality.
In indicating that the Government are minded to issue a favourable Government view in respect of this application, the Government wish to stress that, in addition to reducing the amount of material to be extracted and limiting the term of the licence to five years, they have also decided to impose tough conditions on working arrangements and monitoring. These will ensure that essential fishing and amenity interests are protected.
A Government view letter will he issued once the conditions have been finalised.