C.1 Marine Aggregates
This appendix provides an overview of existing and potential future activity for the marine aggregates sector in Scotland and outlines the methods used to assess the impacts of potential MPAs on this sector.
C.1.2 Sector Definition
Marine aggregate extraction relates to the removal of (mainly) sand and gravel from the seabed mainly used in the production of concrete for the construction industry.
C.1.3 Overview of Existing Activity
There are currently 2 licensed marine aggregate extraction sites, one located in the Firth of Forth off Edinburgh and one in the Tay Estuary ( Figure C1). There is currently no production at either site.
C.1.4 Assumptions on Future Activity
In terms of construction aggregates, there is very little potential for marine aggregates in Scotland because of the alternative sources of aggregate (land-won supplies) that are available to service the existing markets. There is currently little demand for marine aggregate in Scotland and it is considered that significant future expansion to support traditional markets (general construction aggregate) is unlikely.
It is possible that marine supplies could become more important in the future for:
i. beach nourishment/coast defence requirements
ii. major contract fill/reclamation requirements
iii. gravity base foundations (both construction facilities, concreting aggregate and ballast)
However, such future requirements are very uncertain, both in terms of quantity, location and time scales. There could be a scenario where new resources had to be licensed locally in support of specific projects, or the resources may be able to be shipped in from existing production licence areas in English waters.
The Crown Estate has commissioned British Geological Survey to undertake a resource mapping exercise to define the potential locations of marine aggregate resources around the UK shelf, including Scottish seas. This will document deposits of marine sand (principally) that could be suitable for a range of potential end uses if the market demand arose.
C.1.5 Potential Interactions with MPA Features
The two existing licensed sites are more than 60km from the closest potential NC MPA. There are therefore no significant pathways by which potential NC MPA features might be impacted by marine aggregate extraction within these licensed sites.
C.1.6 Assumptions on Management Measures for Scenarios
Given the large distance between existing licensed sites and the closest potential NC MPAs, and uncertain location of any future extraction sites, there are no potential impact pathways and it has been assumed that no management measures will be required and therefore that no cost impacts will arise. Owing to the lack of current demand for marine aggregates in Scotland and the limited potential for future demand from traditional markets, it has been assumed that there will be no significant future marine aggregate extraction within Scottish waters during the assessment period (2014 to 2034). It has therefore been assumed that that no cost impacts will arise in relation to future marine aggregate extraction for traditional markets.
The lack of clarity on where potential future demands from new markets, e.g. coastal development, coastal protection and renewable energy development, may arise geographically or when, mean that cost impacts arising from areas of potential future resource interest are unable to be considered.
C.1.7 Assessment Methods
The number, location and timing of marine aggregate licence applications is uncertain.