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Mineral resources

Aggregates, potash and other minerals

Official announcements about projects or comments we may make on topics of discussion within the aggregates, potash and minerals industries, can be found here.   

The Crown Estate completes Habitats Regulations Assessment for 2021/22 marine aggregate tender round – 23 February 2024

The Crown Estate has completed the plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) for the 2021/22 marine aggregate tender round, and after taking into account the findings of the HRA, The Crown Estate has decided to proceed with the award of rights to twelve dredging sites .

The Crown Estate will offer the successful bidders initial six-year exploration and option agreements. For a selection of dredging sites, these agreements will require operators to meet certain conditions prior to any extraction taking place as well as adopting specific mitigation measures to ensure the integrity of protected habitats is safeguarded. Bidders will be required to obtain all necessary consents (for example, a marine licence from the relevant regulator) ahead of aggregate extraction.

The plan-level HRA assesses the possible impact of the areas proposed for marine aggregate extraction on nature conservation sites of European importance. These include sites forming part of the UK's National Site Network. The HRA for the 2021/22 marine aggregate tender round concluded that, with the adoption of certain mitigation measures, there would be no adverse effects on the integrity of any of these protected sites as a result of awarding rights to successful bidders.

Throughout the HRA process The Crown Estate, supported by expert independent advisors, has consulted with the statutory marine planning authorities, the statutory nature conservation bodies and a number of non-governmental stakeholders.

Following the conclusion of the HRA, The Crown Estate’s Appropriate Assessment (which includes an overview of the HRA methodology) has been made available on the Marine Data Exchange accessible at, along with the HRA principles, screening report and Report to Inform the Appropriate Assessment (RIAA) prepared by its advisors.

The Crown Estate has also undertaken a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) assessment for the twelve dredging sites forming part of the tender round. The MCZ assessment concluded there would be no risk of hindering the conservation objectives of any MCZs as a result of awarding rights to successful bidders, provided certain avoidance and mitigation measures are adopted. The MCZ screening and assessment reports prepared by The Crown Estate's advisors are also available on the Marine Data Exchange.

The Crown Estate will continue to seek independent expert advice and engage with the successful bidders and nature conservation bodies in discharging the mitigation measures identified within both the HRA and MCZ assessment over the coming months.

The Crown Estate continues to work with British Marine Aggregate Producers Association and the aggregates industry to help support the effective and sustainable management of our seabed – helping to drive a significant long-term reduction in the total area of seabed licensed for marine aggregate extraction.

Accurate information on the extent and intensity of dredging operations on The Crown Estate licence areas is possible through analysis of data recorded through the Electronic Monitoring System (EMS). Since 1993, The Crown Estate has required all vessels dredging on their licence areas to be fitted with such systems.

Notification of Proposal to Tender Marine Aggregates Rights - 2024/25 - 23 January 2023

The Crown Estate aims to sustainably manage the seabed for its many users, and to unlock its potential to support the creation of lasting and shared prosperity for the nation.

The pace and scale of development of the UK seabed has grown very significantly in recent years, to support a range of activities that are of increasing importance to our nation. This trend is expected to continue to escalate for the foreseeable future.

To support this acceleration, The Crown Estate will operate to maximise the broad value that can be derived from a whole of seabed management approach. This encapsulates value creation that is economic, environmental, and societal and seeks to work across the many marine sectors that The Crown Estate serves.

As part of this approach, we remain committed to providing the marine aggregates industry with opportunities to develop and maintain a sustainable and durable long-term pipeline of resources to support the crucial role that it plays in the development and maintenance of our built environment and in enabling climate change resilience. We also appreciate the need to provide transparency to our customers and stakeholders at an early stage in any proposal for future leasing activity. To that end, we can confirm that we are commencing the concept phase for a future aggregates tender, with a draft target for delivery in 2024/25.

There are a number of external dependencies/consultation requirements that are relevant to this ambition, which will be worked through as we take forward the planning stage of the proposal. In the short term, during 2023 we will be engaging with a broad range of stakeholders, working to define how the tender will be framed, and shaping the spatial extent of the seabed to be included.

Should any variation to the target timeline identified above be necessary we will work to communicate this as soon as we are able, and further information regarding the tender process will be made available throughout.