Mandatory pre-application process (for works Orders only)

These steps must be carried out before you submit your formal application.

Mandatory pre-application process (for works Orders only)

If you are applying for a works Order (you are authorising a project), there is a statutory pre-application stage that must be carried out before the MMO can process the Harbour Order application. These steps are outlined in the table below and are presented in chronological order.

Step Description
Notice of intention You must notify the MMO in writing that you intend to apply for a Harbour Order which authorises a project. As part of the notice of intention, within the same letter, you must also request an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) screening and scoping opinion (see below).
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening We will determine whether we consider that your project, based on its size, nature and location will require an EIA. Screening is a mandatory stage of the process. The 1964 Act does not allow for ‘screening by agreement’ unlike some other regulations.

You must provide the MMO with enough information about your project to make this determination. This includes construction methodology, proposed timings for the work, any predicted environmental impacts and any measures intended to reduce or avoid these impacts. If final details are not yet known (such as project methodology or an exact, detailed design), you must present a worst-case scenario of possible impacts. If the MMO screens your project out and you then change the project design so that the environmental impacts are greater, the MMO may consider that your initial screening is no longer valid. The screening process may need to be restarted.

If insufficient information is provided, we will write back to you and request further details. If the MMO does not consider that your proposal requires EIA, you will be notified by a letter. The screening opinion will be issued to you within 90 days of receiving the sufficient information described above. In certain situations, the MMO may require more time to complete the EIA screening opinion. We will write to you to inform you of the extension required.

If your project is determined to require an EIA, MMO must also provide a scoping opinion which is explained below.
EIA Scoping If your project is determined to require an EIA, MMO must also provide a scoping opinion. You will need to submit a document outlining the topics that you believe should be included in the EIA. MMO will review the document and consult with our advisors listed below.

We will provide an opinion confirming whether we agree with the areas proposed and if there are any further topics which must also be assessed.

- Local MMO coastal office
- Cefas (Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science)
- Natural England
- Environment Agency
- Historic England
- Maritime and Coastguard Agency
- Trinity House
- Department for Transport
- Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority
- Royal Yachting Association
- Local Planning Authority
- Highways England
- Network Rail
- Ministry of Defence

The topics that we identify in this scoping opinion must be included in your Environmental Statement which will form part of your application. If final details (such as project methodology or an exact, detailed design) are not yet known, you must present a worst-case scenario of possible impacts in your scoping document.

Where a proposal is screened in, the scoping opinion will also be provided at the same time as the screening decision. This will usually be issued within 90 days of receipt of your ‘notice of intention’, however there may be situations where this will need to be extended. The MMO will write to you to confirm the extension required.
Environmental Statement (ES) preparation An Environmental Statement is your assessment of the likely environmental effects of your project. It will be submitted alongside your formal application. It must be prepared by competent experts.

An ES must include: a description of the project, the site, the main effects it is likely to have on the environment, a description of the main alternatives to the proposal and a description of the measures intended to avoid or reduce significant adverse environmental effects. It must also include a non-technical summary of the document.

Topics outlined in the scoping opinion issued by the MMO must be included in your ES.

Published 21 February 2020
Last updated 16 December 2021 + show all updates
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