Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP): aggregates

Marine dredger (British Marine Aggregate Producers Association)

WNMP sector objective

To continue to use marine aggregates resources at a rate and in locations which best meet our current and future needs by ensuring adequate reserves are provided for through long-term licences.

What is the aggregates sector

The aggregates sector involves the removal of aggregates (i.e. sands and gravels) from the sea-bed. The aggregates are extracted:

  • for use as construction material
  • for land reclamation or beach replenishment (recharge/nourishment)

WNMP aggregates policy does not cover the removal of aggregates:

  • as the by-product of another activity (e.g. during project construction)
  • for a particular special purpose outside of a licensed area (e.g. wind-blown sand), or
  • for navigation related dredging

Marine aggregates resources are distributed throughout Welsh waters. Most extraction has been from the Bristol Channel, Severn Estuary and off North Wales. Marine aggregates are important for the national and local supply of aggregates. They are mainly used in construction projects, making the sector critical to the Welsh economy. It provides both direct employment and secondary employment in supporting activities.

WNMP sector policies

AGG_01: aggregates (supporting)

AGG_01 a 

Proposals for new aggregate extraction will be supported, within any tonnage limits, where they contribute to the objectives of this plan. Proposals should comply with the relevant general policies and sector safeguarding policies of this plan and any other relevant considerations.

AGG_01 b

Relevant public authorities and the sector are encouraged, in liaison with other interested parties, to collaborate to understand opportunities:

  • for the sustainable use of wider marine aggregate natural resources  
  • to define and, once in place, further develop and refine Strategic Resource Areas for aggregates

in order to support the sustainable development of the aggregate sector through marine planning. 

Sector map

View the aggregates sector on the Marine Planning Portal.

Relevant links

Welsh National Marine Plan

Review of Aggregate Dredging off the coast

Interim Marine Aggregates Dredging Policy