Guidance

Accelerated licensing for dredging

An accelerated licensing process may apply to some applications for dredging activity.

You can find information on the licensing requirements for dredging on the Do I need a marine licence? page.

If your dredging activity is between 500 and 3,000 cubic metres a campaign, and less than 10,000 cubic metres a year, it may be processed with a 10-working-day consultation.

You must be able to demonstrate the low-risk nature through complying with agreed criteria and local or regional conditions. MMO aims to decide qualifying applications within 20 working days.

If the activity has been assessed as part of a maintenance dredging baseline document or other agreed assessment, details should be included with the application and any conditions that form part of that assessment will be considered.

Activities will be licensed through this faster process if:

  • dredging is ongoing and has been carried out in the same way for at least 3 years
  • campaigns are separated by at least 1 month
  • evidence on the quality of the sediment is provided
  • the project is assessed as part of a maintenance dredging baseline document or another form of assessment agreed with Natural England

Other criteria relating to environmental protection and interference with other legitimate uses of the sea must also be met before a dredging activity can be confirmed as appropriate for the accelerated licensing process.

You must provide information on the physical and chemical characteristics of the dredged material with the application for it to be considered full and complete.

You must provide 1 surface sample that is representative of the area to be dredged for activities between 500 and 1,000 cubic metres a campaign and less than 10,000 cubic metres a year.

You must provide 2 surface samples that are representative of the area to be dredged for activities between 1,000 and 3,000 cubic metres a campaign and less than 10,000 cubic metres a year.

Where your application does not meet this accelerated licensing for dredging criteria the full marine licensing process will need to be followed.

Local and regional dredging conditions

These precautionary conditions have been developed in consultation with Natural England and Environment Agency. Each condition will include who you would need to contact if you wanted to discuss the relevance of the precautionary conditions to your specific project.

Migratory fish

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
No dredging activities may be carried out between 1 March and 30 November This is to avoid any detrimental impacts on migratory fish populations This condition applies in the following areas, and potentially to all dredging applications: Plymouth Sound,
Lynher River (upstream of Jupiter Point) ,
River Tavy (above Tavy Bridge) ,
River Tamar (above the village of Cargreen), Fowey (above Wiseman’s Point but not including area of commercial port activity) ,
Lymington River and Estuary (upper reaches of the estuary) ,
upstream of Lymington Marina (Berthon) ,
Southampton water (River Hamble – upstream of dock-head in Southampton Water in Itchen and Test estuaries) ,
Poole, Chichester Harbour, Workington (where maintenance dredging is not considered in the MDP maintenance dredging baseline document) ,
Poole Harbour from Froome to Piddle,
River Avon (Hampshire) ,
River Stour (Dorset)
Environment Agency

Birds (overwintering and feeding)

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
Between 1 October and 31 March, dredging activities may only be carried out up to 3 hours either side of high water This is to avoid disturbing over-wintering, feeding and roosting birds on intertidal mudflats This condition applies in all special protection areas (SPAs) and Ramsar sites with overwintering bird interests if dredging activities are located: inside or adjacent to SPA and Ramsar site,
within 150 metres of exposed intertidal area.
This condition does not apply if maintenance dredging activities are located alongside a working industrial wharf, jetty, berth or quay used 365 days a year, or within an associated berth pocket, or both.
Natural England

Marine mammals

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
No dredging activities may be carried out between 1 June and 31 July This is to avoid disturbance to seals during the breeding season This condition applies to all dredging activities within The Wash and North Norfolk Special Area of Conservation Natural England

Low dissolved oxygen

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
All dredging activities must be discontinued if dead or distressed fish are observed during periods of hot weather and low river flows. The Environment Agency incident hotline should be contacted on 0800 80 70 60 Dredging can lead to low dissolved oxygen levels in hot weather with low river flows This condition applies to all dredging activities in all areas Natural England

Maintenance dredging baseline document or any other agreed document

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
The licence holder must comply with all the provisions set out in the baseline document or protocol document This is to ensure maintenance dredging activities are carried out in line with a relevant baseline or protocol document to demonstrate no likely signification effect This condition applies in all areas (Natural England) and Appledore Shipyard, Taw Torridge Estuary Protocol Document 2008 (Environment Agency) for all maintenance dredging activities. Natural England

Invasive non-native species

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
All dredging activities must comply with the Environment Agency check-clean-dry code of practice. For information contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506, or visit the Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat website Demonstrate good practice to prevent the introduction, and restrict the spread, of invasive non-native species which may occur through dredging activities This condition applies to all dredging activities in all areas Natural England

Harmful algal blooms – River Thurne (Norfolk Broads)

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
No dredging activities may be carried out between 1 March and 30 November This is to prevent the occurrence of harmful algal blooms, which are known to occur between early spring and late autumn This condition applies to all dredging activities in the River Thurne (Norfolk Broads) Environment Agency

Re-suspended sediment with elevated contaminants – Port Pendennis Marina (Falmouth) and Milbay Docks (Plymouth)

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
All dredging activities must use an eco-bucket and/or a silt curtain This is to minimise the spread of sediments with potentially elevated levels of contaminants into the surrounding environment This condition applies to all dredging activities in Port Pendennis Marina in Falmouth and Milbay Docks in Plymouth Natural England

Smothering of sensitive habitats – Dartside Quay (Dart Estuary)

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
Dredging activities may only be carried out on a flood tide This is to reduce the likelihood of sediment dispersal onto sensitive habitats This condition applies to all dredging activities in Dartside Quay in the Dart Estuary Natural England

Tentacled lagoon worm – Dartside Quay (Dart Estuary)

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies Who to contact
Dredging activities may only be carried out between 1 September and 31 March This is to ensure the tentacled lagoon worm population is not affected by the dredging activities These conditions apply to all dredging activities in Dartside Quay in the Dart Estuary Natural England

Preventing spills

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies
The licence holder must install bunding and/or storage facilities to contain and prevent the release of fuel, oils, and chemicals associated with land-based dredging equipment and refuelling into the marine environment. Secondary containment should be used with a capacity of no less than 10% of the containers’ storage capacity This is to prevent marine pollution incidents by adopting best practice techniques This condition only applies to dredging activities using land-based equipment, such as a back hoe dredger

Removing rubbish

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies
The licence holder must ensure that any equipment, temporary works and/or debris associated with the works are removed when the works are completed This is to protect the marine environment This condition applies to all dredging activities

Reporting spills

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies
The licence holder must ensure that any oil, fuel or chemical spill within the marine environment is reported to MMO’s Marine Pollution Response Team. Telephone 0300 200 2024 within office hours and 07770 977 825 outside of office hours. If these numbers are not working contact 0845 051 8486. Email dispersants@marinemanagement.org.uk To ensure that any spills are appropriately recorded and managed to minimise impact to sensitive receptors and general marine environment This condition applies to all dredging activities

Notification

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies
No activities shall commence until a programme of works has been submitted to, and approved by, MMO. The programme of works shall include: a planned timetable for each activity authorised by this licence,
a plan for notifying MMO of the start and end of activities and phases of activities,
a plan for notifying MMO of changes to the programme of works, this shall include updates to the programme of works at least once every 6 months or in such other time as may be agreed by MMO
This is to ensure that MMO office is aware of the operations at sea occurring within its jurisdiction in order to notify other sea users and can arrange enforcement visits as appropriate These conditions apply to all dredging activities

Monitoring

Condition Reason for the condition Where and when this condition applies
No activities shall commence until a post-dredge bathymetric survey plan has been submitted to, and approved by, MMO. The post-dredge bathymetric survey plan shall provide for: the type of survey to be undertaken (such as multi-beam or single beam),
the area that shall be surveyed,
the timetable for the survey to be undertaken (this shall normally be within 48 hours of dredging if by water injection dredger or 24 hours otherwise),
the timetable for the survey data to be provided to MMO and the format in which the date shall be provided.
Following approval, the post-dredge bathymetric survey plan shall be implemented as approved
This is to ensure that the dredging was carried out as described in the licence – within the licensed area to the correct depth This condition applies to all dredging activities except those using conventional dredging techniques (such as a grab dredger or small trailer dredger) with a volume between 500 and 1,000 cubic metres for each a campaign. The frequency of post-dredge surveys will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Contact information

Marine Licensing Team

0300 123 1032

marine.consents@marinemanagement.org.uk

Published 18 September 2014
Last updated 11 July 2017 + show all updates
  1. A new self-service process has been introduced to replace fast-track
  2. Text updated
  3. Made some minor changes to the guidance, particularly for areas in or near protected areas and resources, clearance dredging and minor removals.
  4. 0870 758 1050 telephone number removed
  5. Reference to English Heritage changed to Historic England.
  6. Process your application in fewer than 3.5 hours wording taken out.
  7. Accelerated licensing for dredging text updated
  8. First published.