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Campaigners unhappy with dredging study

PUBLISHED: 19:06 27 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:38 05 July 2010

A YEAR-LONG study into the effects of offshore dredging will not be comprehensive enough to show the potential damage it can cause, environmental campaigners have claimed.

A YEAR-LONG study into the effects of offshore dredging will not be comprehensive enough to show the potential damage it can cause, environmental campaigners have claimed.

The Anglian Offshore Dredging Association (AODA) has applied for permission to renew and extend its licences to extract sand and gravel from sites along the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.

As part of the new applications, AODA is carrying out a 12-month study into the effects of dredging but environmental protestors have said that a three or four year programme would be needed to see if any harm is done by removing material from the sea bed.

AODA is currently looking into dredging a new site off the coast at Southwold, but opponents have said that the larger area could have a significant effect on the area's coastline.

Pat Gowen from Marinet, part of Friends of the Earth, said: “By looking over a year, all the results will show is the surrounding area and sand banks moving, and not the shore line.

“Dredging creates holes in the sea bed and eventually those holes are filled to be re-dredged because material is being eroded from the shoreline and cliffs.”

But AODA spokesman David Harding said that the 12-month study is in accordance with government guidelines. He said: “Dredging has been taking place along this coast for more than 20 years, so this is not the first piece of research available. Material from beaches and cliffs does not reach dredging areas because the currents out at sea run parallel to the shore.

“We monitor all our dredging sites continually and these results will be examined in full before new licences are granted.”

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