Aggregates

Although our mineral interests focus mainly on the extraction of marine aggregates, we do also have interests in salt and, more significantly, potash.

Aggregates are mixtures of sand, gravel, crushed rock or other bulk minerals used in construction, principally as a component of concrete, and in civil engineering. Most UK aggregates come from land-based sources, although since the 1960s developers have been increasingly reliant on marine sources to supplement demand and meet the UK's construction needs.

The UK has the world’s largest marine aggregates industry, and supplies around 20 per cent of the sand and gravel used in England and Wales, and around a third of sand and gravel for construction in the south east of England. Our leasing programme for the marine aggregates sector includes the delivery of high quality aggregate to the construction industry, realising over £15 million income in 2015/16.

Marine aggregates are also used in beach replenishment schemes. Large volumes of aggregates are pumped directly from dredgers onto beaches, providing coastal protection as well as enhancing the amenity value and supporting the local economy. Marine sediment is also used in land reclamation schemes to infill areas in ports and harbours or to reclaim land from the sea prior to engineering works.

We commercially benefited from the use of marine sands in many key projects across the UK in 2015/16, including dredging and reclamation initiatives at the Liverpool 2 container terminal, Portsmouth harbour and beach recharge schemes, and a regeneration scheme at Clacton which has encouraged visitors and supported the local economy.

Related information

For statistics, GIS shapefiles, planning briefing notes, please visit:

Marine aggregates downloads

The British Geological Survey have been mapping the aggregate resources on the UK continental shelf on our behalf. The first reports have been completed and can be downloaded by visiting:

Minerals resource assessment downloads