The EU has granted $7.2m (€5m) to British and French scientists and researchers to find safe disposal methods for dredged marine sediments.
Scientists Laurence Hopkinson and Kevin Stone from the University of Brighton’s School of Environment and Technology will be working with Association francaises des Ports Locaux de la Manche on the study.
Ports including Newhaven, Shoreham, Fowey, Poole, Plymouth, Falmouth, Le Havre, Cherbourg and Brest will also be involved in the project.
If the dredged sediment is sand or gravel it can be cleaned and reused but if the material is fine grained silts and clay then it is often deposited in landfill sites.
The SETARMS (Sustainable Environmental Treatment and Re-use Marine Sediments) programme aims to determine the level and type of contamination at the ports and to develop new strategies to treat and stabilise the sediment.
The study will continue until 2013.