Dredging trial to begin this month

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A small-scale dredging trial in Falmouth Harbour to measure the potential environmental impacts of relocating maerl habitat is set to go ahead this month after Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC) awarded the work to a specialist dredging contractor.

Falmouth Harbour Master Mark Sansom

The contract has been awarded to Kent-based GPS Marine, following an open tender process and it is hoped work will start in the week commencing September 17. The trial is expected to take six months to complete.

The cost of the trial is expected to exceed £200k, which is being funded jointly by FHC and Cornwall Council. The Council is contributing towards the cost of the trial in order to ensure the environmental impacts of re-locating dead maerl habitat, which is proposed as a mitigation measure in the dredging consent application, are fully evaluated and understood.

The trial dredge has generated a great deal of interest and FHC will be holding an event tomorrow (September 4) to advise stakeholders of the latest developments. This will include presentations from those involved in its design and conduct, and will focus on the aims and methodology of the trial.

The trial results are expected to form important evidence in the decision making process by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on whether to allow the dredging of a deep water channel into the docks. The deep water channel proposals by the Port of Falmouth Development Initiative are aimed at safeguarding Falmouth’s future as a thriving working port and opening up new business opportunities.

Mark Sansom, Falmouth Harbour Master, said: “We are pleased to have awarded the contract and that the process is moving forward. This is an important step towards providing more evidence for consideration by the MMO in reaching a decision on the proposals for dredging a deep water channel into the docks.”