Maintenance Dredging

Montrose Port

In order to keep Montrose Port fully operational we are undertaking a programme of maintenance dredging between 12th and 15th June. We understand this is a sensitive issue and want to assure you that the work will be carried out to the highest professional and environmental standards.

We have provided a list of FAQs below about dredging and why it is essential which we hope will address any queries.

What is dredging?

Dredging is a form of excavation carried out underwater (or partially underwater) to remove the build-up of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, ports, and other water bodies. The process keeps waterways and ports navigable by gathering up bottom sediments and transporting it elsewhere. This is essential to the viability of most ports, including Montrose.

How does it work?

Dredging is a four-part process: loosening the material, bringing the material to the surface, transportation, and disposal at a pre-approved and fully licenced site.

Why do we carry out dredging?

Maintenance dredging, such as that carried out by Montrose Port Authority, is a necessity for almost every navigable waterway and port in the world. Ports dredge to deepen or maintain navigable waterways or channels, which can become silted with the passage of time resulting from sedimented sand and mud. Unimpeded access to terminals and appropriate water depths is critical to ensuring trade is conducted safely.

How often does maintenance dredging take place?

The port of Montrose carries out dredging up to twice a year, depending on weather conditions. The demand has increased in recent years. We believe that the impact of climate change has been an additional contributory factor.

What happens if the Port is not dredged?

If the port is not dredged regularly then the deposits of sediment will build up to levels that stop vessels coming in through the channel. Our port would be forced to close to most commercial vessels, resulting in a serious impact on the overall supply chain and, inevitably, the local economy. Maintenance dredging must be undertaken if the port is to continue operating safely and remain economically viable.

Where does the sediment go?

Following consultation with the local community and Angus Council, the sediment is now deposited at Montrose Bay. This is a condition of our licence. The objective is to offset naturally occurring coastal erosion that has been taking place along the east coast for several years including Montrose golf course. In the past sediment was deposited at Lunan Bay.

Does dredging cause coastal erosion?

We are often asked about the link between port dredging and erosion at Montrose golf course. We recognise that this is an important issue. In order to provide a conclusive answer, we commissioned marine consultancy ABPmer to carry out a coastal assessment of Montrose and the surrounding area in 2017. The report concluded that there is no evidence to support any link and that coastal erosion at the golf course is part of a wider geographical issue affecting the east coast. We are more than happy to make copies of this report available.

What does Montrose Port Authority add to the local economy?

A recent economic impact assessment found that Montrose Port Authority supports both directly and indirectly 300 permanent, full time employees. This equates to £12 million in annual salaries and £24 million GVA (Goods Value Added) in Angus.

It is our responsibility as a Trust Port to balance growth in trade with the need to protect our environment whilst also respecting our neighbours’ quality of life. We believe that dredging is an important part of sustaining a viable port in Montrose.