Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson has advised The Crown Estate, manager of the seabed and much of the foreshore around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, on an agreement to provide Electronic Monitoring Systems (EMS) to dredging agreement holders and their contractors across the UK.

Since 1993 The Crown Estate Commissioners have required all vessels dredging Crown Estate minerals to be fitted with an EMS which automatically records the date, time, and location of all dredging activities.

Records are then analysed and processed by The Crown Estate and the data plays an important role in supporting research and development and in shaping of policy for future dredging initiatives.

The Crown Estate procured the EMS and was responsible for the associated delivery, collection, installation, servicing, maintenance and de-installation services, all of which it then makes available to the dredging contractors under the agreement prepared by WBD.

WBD's legal directors Stephen Anderson and Jo Beattie-Edwards advised The Crown Estate on the UK-wide project providing commercial, data and intellectual property expertise. WBD has a longstanding relationship with The Crown Estate with the firm advising on the Bacton to Walcott Coastal Management Scheme, the UK's first ever sandscaping project which is designed to counter coastal erosion and protect local communities and, last year, on its lithium exploration project off the Cornish coast. Lithium is a key component used for electric vehicles and renewable energy power storage, and as such, has a valuable role to play in helping the UK meet its ambitious climate change targets.

Stephen Anderson of WBD commented: 

"It has been a pleasure working once again with The Crown Estate on this important project which will help provide the technology necessary to accurately capture and assess dredging activity and intensity in UK waters. WBD has a strong track record advising on environmental projects across the UK, with a team that has a great depth of experience in marine property and in advising on a range of energy, commercial and real estate issues whether these are onshore, foreshore or offshore."

Nick Everington, Portfolio Manager, Marine Minerals at The Crown Estate, added: 

"As part of our management of marine sand and gravel extraction, EMS plays a crucial role in recording dredging vessel activities associated with our mineral assets. We're very grateful to the WBD team for their commitment to this project as well as for their excellent legal and commercially-focused advice."

Ranking in the UK's top 20 law firms, WBD advises clients from seven cities in the UK and 19 offices in the US.