The Port of Dover is preparing for the next major stage of the Western Docks development, a key part of which will be the infilling of parts of the original marina to create additional land for new jobs and economic activity.

This enabling work has been predicated on the use of the Goodwin Sands to secure marine-based aggregate under a licence issued through the Marine Management Organisation. 

The case for using the Goodwin Sands remains unchanged but the approved licencing period for its use is soon to expire.  Whilst it is possible to apply for an extension to the existing licence, the Port has recently been exploring whether the viability of alternative sources has altered in order to see if a way forward can be found that delivers for the Port what it needs whilst at the same time allaying certain community concerns that have existed for a period of time over the use of Goodwin Sands.

Following a full review of its requirements and alternative sources of material that could be available following recent changes in the supply chain, the Port is confident that it can now find another option that would also be cost neutral.  The Port is keen to find an outcome that benefits all stakeholders and so, being a solution focused business, it has decided to move its focus away from the Goodwin Sands as the preferred aggregate source and is now preparing to go through a full procurement process in order to select the alternative.

Doug Bannister, CEO, Port of Dover, said: “This is a win for us all.  It enables us to move forward with confidence in developing land for new local employment opportunities at a time when such opportunities are greatly needed and helps unify our community by removing an issue that has, in places, divided opinion.”

Dredging of the Goodwin Sands

Natalie Elphicke MP said: “I remain fully behind the Port and its excellent ambitions for development, but I have also held concerns about the proposed dredging of the Goodwin Sands. I am delighted that the Port of Dover has listened to those who held concerns within our community and has been active in finding a way forward that works to both promote and secure jobs and investment, while also respecting and preserving the special marine environment and habitat of the Goodwin Sands.

“It is an excellent outcome and I pay tribute to the work of the Port of Dover in finding the solution and to Goodwin Sands SOS team for raising this important issue.”

Mr Bannister added: “This is a demonstration of the real partnership approach I want to see going forward and is part of an ecosystem of mutual trust, support and harmony I am keen to build that allows both the Port and community to thrive together as we navigate future challenges and opportunities in Dover and more widely within Kent.”

By Ed

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