A sustainable approach to dredging
Lymington Harbour Commissioners (LHC) have statutory powers to dredge the harbour. However a disposal licence is required to dispose of dredged material at sea (Hurst Fort Disposal Site) or to use it beneficially, for example by placing it in strategic locations to try and slow down the rate of the natural erosion of the salt marsh habitat that protects the harbour. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) are responsible for the licencing of dredging in the UK.
Subject to obtaining consents, it is LHC policy to beneficially use mud from the harbour wherever practical and to work with harbour users and statutory authorities to ensure that the balance between the use of the estuary and its environment is maintained.
One way in which we are doing this is through the development of the Lymington River Baseline Document to record the current state of knowledge of existing and historic dredging activities in the harbour. This allows an evaluation of the relationship between the maintenance dredging activities and the current condition of the protected Natura 2000 sites to be made in order to demonstrate a sustainable approach to dredging and the disposal of dredged materials.