EnviCom WG 214: 'Beneficial Use for Sustainable Waterborne Transport Infrastructure Projects’ (2023)

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Press Release

Societal challenges and trends, such as increased population densities, urban and coastal economic pressures, increased pressure on natural habitats and threats of climate change, require innovative and sustainable approaches to support healthy natural ecosystems and human development. Sustainable approaches are used to carefully manage environmental resources and maximize the use of local materials, thus promoting a circular economy that beneficially uses and reuses raw materials, reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, promotes the cost-effective management of natural or managed habitats and promotes greater coastal resilience to climate change.

With increased interest in using dredged sediment beneficially, this guidance focuses on how best to plan for and apply Beneficial Use (BU) principals. Socio-economic and environmental conditions, community priorities and legal and policy frameworks are highly variable across different countries and regions. Dredging methods, sediment types and environmental conditions vary from site to site. Consequently, the practicability of BU varies between countries, regions and even projects. Nonetheless, the potential for BU should be considered and evaluated assiduously for sediment dredging projects.

This PIANC report recognises that BU approaches must be tailored to site-specific conditions and to regional environmental, economic, legislative, and cultural frameworks. We build upon the work of previous studies and guidance documents to provide a framework that can be used for site-specific decision making. This report seeks to achieve this goal by highlighting important factors that should be considered when assessing BU opportunities.

This report describes how dredged sediment can be used to deliver environmental, societal and economic benefits. It considers the key issues associated with the ‘Beneficial Use’ (BU) of dredged sediment and identifies valuable international practices. In doing so, this report aims to inform and support the BU of dredged material on a global scale.

Increased BU, in harmony with nature, will foster greater circularity and improved environmental and socio-economic sustainability. Achieving these ambitions will, however, necessitate an evolution of established perspectives and ways of working. It requires greater strategic and collaborative planning among project owners, regulators, and other stakeholders to ensure that BU projects can be identified and delivered in the future.

  • Written by: EnviCom WG 214
  • Published: April 18, 2023