Sand extraction from St Annes beach has been discontinued pending the resolution of uncertainties arising concerning regulatory requirements. This concerns the need for a marine licence under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 and the current status of the 1989 planning permission under which sand extraction has been carried out. The council is awaiting a decision by the Marine Management Organisation as to whether there will be any retrospective action in relation to marine licencing, and will be discussing the planning permission with Lancashire County Council who are the relevant planning authority for minerals extraction.
The terms of the operator’s licence require the operator to comply with all statutory obligations relating to the sand extraction. At the council’s request, the operator has agreed to cease sand extraction for the present.
Once the issues regarding the licence and the planning permission have been resolved, the council will evaluate whether, and in what form, sand extraction from St Annes beach might continue. That evaluation will take into account the ecological impacts of the activity as well the importance of the extracted sand for construction in Lancashire and the wider region. Any resumption of sand extraction would be in full compliance with all relevant regulatory regimes and after obtaining all necessary consents, a process which is likely to take a significant amount of time to determine.