Extraction of marine aggregates involves a very small proportion of the UK's continental shelf – less than 0.15% of this area is licensed for extraction, and in a typical year less than 0.016% will be dredged. The marine aggregate industry is an essential supplier to the construction industry and, through it, helps support the life of the nation.
Despite the industry's small footprint, BMAPA (British Marine Aggregates Producers Association) members recognise that the environment in which they operate is sensitive. They accept responsibility by managing their operations in ways that minimise any effects on the marine environment and its other users. Furthermore, the industry is extracting a finite natural resource that will not be replenished. There is therefore an additional responsibility upon operators to carefully manage their licence areas to ensure that these valuable resources are able to be used in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
In November 2006 BMAPA published a sectoral sustainable development strategy which sits within the wider strategy developed by the Mineral Products Association. The BMAPA strategy provides the marine industry with a clear policy framework under the recognised 'pillars' of social progress, environmental protection, natural resources and economic prosperity. The strategy provides a benchmark for the sector against which future progress reports will be measured.