REASSURANCES are being made that sediment dredged from Lyme Regis harbour poses no risk to health. 

Dorset Council said that analysis of the sediment deposited on Lyme Regis Front Town beach from the annual dredging in March this year shows that there is nothing that could be a risk to human or marine life.


Five sediment samples were taken across the deposited sediment to give an accurate representation of the whole area.

The samples were tested for selected substances in a laboratory.

The substances that were tested for are often linked with dredging operations of this kind. They were categorised as:


  • Metals
  • Organotins
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)
  • Pesticides.

According to the council, the tests showed that all the substances tested for were well below the threshold level. This level is classified as the range where adverse reactions rarely occur.

It says there is 'no risk to human health from the sediment taken from the harbour's navigational channels to keep these routes operational.'

Cllr Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “One of the most difficult roles that the council has is balancing the various and often opposing actions needed for Dorset to remain an economically viable county.

"It is good news that the analysis shows that there are no detrimental effects of the dredging on the quality of the beach material.”

Cllr Mark Roberts, Chairman of the Harbours Advisory Committee, said: “This is great news for Lyme Regis, especially on the run up to summer. The dredging allows boats to fully utilise the harbour facilities while the sea and beach remain safe for our residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Some concerns were raised during the dredging about the colour of the dredged sand which was darker in colour. This is due to the lack of exposure to oxygen in the seabed sediment. Once exposed to the air it returns to its normal colour.

Dredging also causes the colour of the sea to change due to the disruption of the seabed with sand particles suspended in the water. These particles can irritate swimmers’ skin, so swimmers were advised to avoid the area while the dredging was taking place.

Cllr Belinda Baldwin, Dorset Council’s Ward member for Lyme and Charmouth, said: “I’m particularly grateful the sediment testing was introduced as many people had expressed concerns about deposits on the beach and the quality of the sea water for swimmers during the dredging.

"The results showing minimal quantities of pollutants and hydrocarbons, all in the lowest level of risk will greatly reassure our residents, businesses and visitors.”