Sand and gravel extraction | Compendium Coast and Sea

Sand and gravel extraction

Between 40 and 82 million m³ of marine sediment was extracted annually in the OSPAR-region (North-East Atlantic and North Sea) during the years 2015-2018. This mainly concerns the extraction of sand and gravel for the construction industry and coastal protection. Furthermore, marl was extracted to improve farmland and to filter water. In the Belgian part of the North Sea (BNS), most of the extracted sediment is sand in recent decades, with an annual volume that fluctuated between 2 and 4 million m³ over the last ten years. In 2014, this volume was considerably higher at almost 6 million m³. Gravel is generally not extracted in the BNS due to the extremely limited presence, the small grain size and the heterogeneity of the material in the permitted areas. In the ‘Thematic chapter’, an overview is given of the scientific knowledge, socioeconomic data and legal aspects of the user function ‘Sand and gravel extraction’ for the BNS. The federal legislation applicable to this activity is discussed in more detail under ‘Legislation’, while the figures and background data can be consulted in an interactive way by clicking ‘Coastal portal’. More information about the available expertise regarding sand and gravel extraction within the Belgian marine research groups and their relevant research infrastructure can be consulted by clicking ‘Research groups’ and ‘Infrastructure’, respectively.