Our role

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

Our interest is that of a landowner and business partner.

Millions of tons of sand and gravel are used across the construction industry and for coastal defence, and we manage nearly all marine and gravel resources lying offshore the UK.

We issue consents for, amongst other activities, non-exclusive sampling and commercial licences for mineral aggregate extraction.

The planning and consenting process is the responsibility of government via the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). Through a public consultation process, the MMO determines whether an application by a company can be used for mineral aggregate extraction.

To obtain an aggregate licence, companies that have been successful in one of our tender rounds must obtain a Marine Licence (ML) from the Government or devolved administration, a procedure which includes the submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). If a favourable ML is granted, we will issue the applicant with a production agreement.

We work in partnership with industry and regulators to improve the sustainability performance of the sector through investment in the development of knowledge and best practice.

We commissioned a study by Ernst & Young to assess the long-term market for marine aggregates and thereby increase confidence in the sector. Marine aggregates are likely to become more important as pressure on land-won resources increases, with London volumes recovering to pre-recessionary levels of seven million tonnes per annum. The study predicts that demand will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. The report highlighted wharf infrastructure, consolidation and new dredgers as key factors and we will be working with the industry to help the management of these issues in the future.