The marine licence application timeline

The timeline illustrates how the assessment and approval process works once an application for a marine licence has been validated.

Please note that this illustration does not apply to Self-service applications.

When you apply

Image of welcome page for Marine Case Management System

Stage 0 marine licence application Timeline

Applications for marine licences are submitted via the Marine Case Management System (MCMS).

We first check your application to confirm that the activity is licensable. We then assess the scope of the application to generate a cost estimate. We aim to complete these assessments within five working days, but depending on the complexity of the application, some assessments may take longer.

A cost estimate will be provided to you once the assessment is complete.

You may then choose to accept, reject or query the estimate.

Please note: If any details are missing from your application, we will contact you for more information so that we can accurately assess your case; this may delay processing your application. Incomplete applications may be rejected.

1. Allocation

Image of allocations process depicted by vessel launch pad into sea

Stage 1 marine licence application Timeline - Credit:Teamjackson Stock photo ID:507878520

Your application is allocated to a case officer who will inform you that the application is now being processed.

We aim to determine 90% of all licence applications within 13 weeks of allocation.

Depending on the complexity of the case, some applications may take longer.

2. Technical assessment

Image of dredger

Stage 2 marine licence application Timeline - Credit:stevegeer Stock photo ID:498552786

Your case officer conducts a technical assessment of your application. This may include Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Habitats Regulation Assessment, Marine Conservation Zone assessment, Marine Planning Assessment, Water Framework Regulations Assessment, Waste Regulations Assessment or others, as required. Your case officer will request further information from you if required at this stage.

Your case officer prepares the application for approval to proceed to consultation.

3. Consultation

Image of wind farm

Stage 3 marine licence application Timeline - Credit:W.Migdalski Stock photo ID:950788196

Your case officer will instruct you on actions for advertisement if required.

Your case officer starts consultation on the application, including any supporting documents and assessments. They’ll gather information from consultees and the public throughout this stage of the process.

As responses are received, if the case officer considers that there is insufficient information to continue assessment or if new issues are identified, further consultation with the applicant and advisers may be required at this stage.

If the case officer cannot progress the application, a case may be put on hold pending further information. In exceptional circumstances a case may be rejected.

We’ll formally close the consultation once we have everything we need to make a decision.

Please note: An application which also requires an EIA requires a minimum 6-week consultation. Non-EIA applications typically require a 4-week consultation.

4. Review

Image showing installation of coastal defince works

Stage 4 marine licence application Timeline - Credit:ZimaNady_klgd Stock photo ID:927833724

All responses (public and consultees) considered at Stage 3 are evaluated and recorded.

Any other assessments identified in Stage 2 are concluded and recorded.

A decision document is prepared if required.

A draft licence is prepared and shared with you. You will have an opportunity to clarify any points, if required.

At the end of this stage, the application is approximately 2 weeks from the completion date.

5. Decision recommendation and approval

Image of buoy deployed at sea

Stage 5 marine licence application Timeline - Credit:brytta Stock photo ID:133484354

The case manager undertakes a quality check of the decision, assessments, supporting documents and licence

Your case officer makes changes to the documents if required.

The case manager approves the licence and all supporting documents for issuing.

At the end of this stage, the application is approximately 1 week from the completion date.

6. Application completion

Image of floating pontoon

Stage 6 marine licence application Timeline - Credit:Techa Tungateja Stock photo ID:1070315734

The marine licence, decision documents and supporting information are sent to you and published on the public register.

The application is closed.

7. Monitoring

Image of officer conducting inspection to depict marine licensing monitoring

Stage 7 marine licence application Timeline - Credit:Opla Stock photo ID:155422477

Impacts and consequences of activity are monitored in accordance with any conditions on the marine licence. Please refer to our detailed guidance on monitoring for more details.

Published 19 December 2018
Last updated 6 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect legislative references as a result of the UK leaving the EU

  2. First published.