FAILURE to grant extended aggregate dredging licences in the English Channel will force massive stone volume rises on quarries in the south-east, according to marine aggregate operators.
They claim quarry owners will have to raise production by as much as 70 per cent to satisfy demands for marine aggregate in the south-east unless new dredging licences are granted.
Six marine aggregate operators, including Hanson, RMC and Britannia Aggregates, have formed the East Channel Association to boost their request for 15-year licences to dredge stone from the eastern Channel, off Beachy Head in Sussex.
The representative body has also submitted an environmental assessment to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in support of the licence applications.
A spokesman said that while the new area is in deeper water than existing dredging zones, it would not have any detrimental effects on the environment.