Goodwin Sands – Dredging/Aggregate Extraction Decision Announced on Proposed Sanctuary for Marine Life

It was announced on 26th July that the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) have consented to the dredging of the Goodwin Sands proposed Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) for the Dover Harbour Port Development.

Kent Wildlife Trust is deeply disappointed at this decision, which comes less than a week after consultation closed for the Government’s third tranche of MCZs in English and Irish waters. Goodwin Sands represents one of five proposed MCZs around Kent and it was hoped that designation of this site would offer much-needed protection for the subtidal sand and sediment features found here.

By permitting sections of the Goodwin Sands to be dredged for aggregate extraction, it is estimated that 3 million tonnes of sand and gravel will be taken from this area over a two-year period. The proposed dredging activity will directly impact the key features for which the site was selected for designation as an MCZ, namely subtidal sand.

In the six short weeks of the consultation, 1,198 local people have taken the time to sign and return Kent Wildlife Trust’s campaign postcards supporting the designation of these sites. Many more people have signed the Wildlife Trusts’ national Wave of Support campaign online, which has gathered a staggering 22,107 signatures within a month.  

Evan Bowen-Jones, Chief Executive for Kent Wildlife Trust, said: ‘We are desperately disappointed with this decision coming as it does barely a week after the successful conclusion of the Wave of Support campaign, which demonstrated huge public support for all the proposed MCZs, including the Goodwin Sands. We will be carefully examining the mitigation measures proposed by the developers that they claim will ‘promote recovery of the site’ from the dredging activities.’