Federation of Dredging Contractors

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Members of the Federation undertake many types of marine works including:

  • maintenance and capital dredging of ports, harbours and waterways
  • land reclamation; beach renourishment
  • beach and shore protection
  • contaminated material treatment and disposal
  • outfalls and gas/oil landfall pipeline installation
  • sand and gravel supply
  • rock breakwater and revetment construction
  • environmental mitigation works
  • major and minor port and marine civil engineering projects.

The Federation of Dredging Contractors are or have been active in the following:

  • The FDC has been invited to participate in the Marine Management Organisation's Dredging Licensing project.

From April 2012 a licence will be required from the MMO for all types of dredging activities including those types of dredging that have previously not been widely regulated i.e. Water Injection Dredging or plough dredging.  While Harbour Authorities with powers to dredge will not require a licence from the MMO, any dredging carried out by others within a harbour authority area will need a marine licence.

The MMO initiated this project using HR Wallingford & Cefas to develop the procedures and requirements necessary (including guidance to applicants and case officers) for this new dredging licensing process. 

  • The FDC worked with EUDA (European Dredging Association) in 2011 with respect to lobbying for revisions to the UK's Waste Framework Directive with particular emphasis on beneficial re-use of dredged arisings.

  • The FDC attended and provided comment on the Review of the Environment Agency's Clearing the Waters guidance workshop in 2011.

  • In 2010, the FDC provided comments as part of the Pre-Consultation excercise on the UK's Marine Policy Statement


  • EA Consultation on the Beneficial Re-use of Marine Dredged Materials

In 2009, the Federation of Dredging Contractors were consulted by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to comment on the draft proposals being compiled by the Environment Agency on the re-use of dredged materials.

The FDC were able to provide practical input and advice that was included in the TAG report to the EA.

  • Crown Estate consultation on the Annex to the Guidance for dealing with Munitions

In 2009, the Federation of Dredging Contractors were contacted by Crown Estates, who were working in conjunction with the Cross Government Working Group on Marine Aggregates, to consult on the production of an Annex for Navigational Dredging to add to the current "Guidance Note (June 2006) Dealing with Munitions in Marine Aggregate" published by the Crown Estate and the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association (BMAPA). 

The FDC were able to provide significant practical advice and proposals that were included in the published Guidelines to industry.

  • The Marine Consents Liaison Group  (currently inactive)

Under the Marine Fisheries Authority, the Marine Consents and Environment Unit (MCEU) administered a range of statutory controls that apply to marine works, including all construction, coastal defences, dredging and the disposal of waste materials at sea in waters around England and Wales.  As part of that process, the MCEU established the Marine Consents Liaison Group (in which the Federation of Dredging Contractors was represented) to serve as an informal forum for the exchange of views and information about the works of the Unit and marine consents generally.

The responsibility for marine licencing is now with the Marine Management Organisation who are considering the setting up of a similar Liaison Group in the future.


  • PIANC Water Framework Directive Navigation Sector Group

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is arguably one of the most important, far reaching, water legislation ever to emerge from the EU and will apply to all UK water bodies including rivers, estuaries, coastal waters and man-made water bodies (e.g. canals and docks).


In early 2004, PIANC met with UK Government representatives to discuss the potential implications of the WFD on the navigation sector.  Since then, PIANC has hosted a regular series of meetings which involve a wide range of navigation stakeholders, including the Federation of Dredging Contractors.  These meetings have provided an important opportunity for professional bodies and trade associations to engage with, for example, DEFRA and the Environment Agency on all aspects of WFD implementation, including:

  • Progress with the setting of new ecological targets;
  • Hydromorphology, including “heavily modified” and “artificial“ water bodies;
  • Development of UK economic assessment methodologies; and
  • River basin planning.

 The Federation of Dredging Contractors is also represented on the UK PIANC Committee.



  • CEDA Liaison Group For The Promotion Of The Use Of Dredged Material

Following a successful half-day meeting on “Dredged Material as a Resource” held in London during June 2005, the UK Section of CEDA (Central Dredging Association) formed a liaison group for the Promotion of the Beneficial Use of Dredged Material.


The inaugural meeting of the group was held in January 2006 and was attended by representatives of DEFRA, the Environment Agency, CEFAS, Natural England, British Waterways, the Ports Sector and the Federation of Dredging Contractors (FDC).  This initiative focuses on Regulation, Information, Education and Regionalisation with the view to facilitating the use of dredged material by regional groups of stakeholders.  The national committee, upon which the FDC are represented, provides both a long-term view on the opportunities for the use of dredged material, including disposal options that have beneficial impacts on coastal and estuarine sediment balances, and guidance to the regional groups.


  • Government Consultation on the Proposed Marine Bill

The Marine Bill, when adopted, will fulfil the UK Government’s 2005 election manifesto commitment to introduce a new framework for the seas based on marine spatial planning whilst balancing conservation, energy and resource needs.  It is intended to provide for the protection of the seas and enhance the ability to balance the pressures on them; thereby creating a healthier, productive and more biologically diverse marine environment.


The proposals in the Bill have been developed though a series of consultations and reports dating back to 2001.  Responses to these consultations, including those from the Federation of Dredging Contractors, have been used by DEFRA in the development and refinement of their policy proposals.





  • In 2010, the FDC commented as part of the Pre-Consultation excercise on Marine Policy Statement.