Changes to requirements for dredging consent

Make sure your club is aware of the new requirements as it makes plans for 2012.

New requirements for dredging consent to come into force in 2012.

If your club dredges using plough or hydraulic techniques (historically exempt from licensing) it will require consent, most likely in the form of a marine licence.

The requirement to obtain consent for plough/hydraulic maintenance dredging will come into force on 1st April 2012, so your club needs to be aware of the changes as it makes plans for 2012.

Under the old system, consent was only required for the disposal of dredged material below Mean High Water Springs (MHWS). Under the new system, the activity of dredging itself will also require a licence, regardless of whether separate disposal is necessary.

How the new system will work

The Marine Management Organisation in England, Marine Scotland,Department of Environment Northern Ireland/Northern Ireland EnvironmentAgency and the Welsh Assembly Government Marine Consents Unit, whichwill be administrating the new marine licensing systems across the UK,will be deciding over the next few months exactly how this element ofthe new systems will work and what form of licence application will berequired i.e. a full application or a fast-track simplified approach. Wewill keep you updated on developments.

New system needs to be proportionate

The RYA is fighting to ensure that the new system is not undulyonerous on clubs and training centres in terms of complexity and anypotential cost. Maintenance dredging carried out by recreationalboating clubs and training centres is, on the whole, small-scale andpresents a low environmental risk. Obtaining consent for small-scalemaintenance dredging should therefore, we think, be proportionate andreflect the low administrative burden processing these applicationsshould pose to the licensing bodies.

The RYA has been engaged in discussions with the variousadministrative bodies across the UK about the new systems since theMarine and Coastal Access Act 2009 was passed in England and Wales andthe Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 was passed in Scotland. The topic ofsmall-scale maintenance dredging (such as that undertaken by clubs andtraining centres) has formed a key part of these negotiations.�

Licence Fee

It is likely that the new system of consent will carry a fee. At thisstage it is not clear how much this may be. As this aspect of the newsystem is being approached slightly differently across the UK there islikely to be variation, depending on your geographic location. However,all the licensing authorities have adopted 100% cost-recovery policiesso, at the very least, an administrative charge is likely to be levied.

Why is the system being changed?

The change in requirements for dredging has come about as part of thenew marine licensing systems that were introduced across the UK inApril 2011. The new licensing systems which are administered slightlydifferently in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland regulate awide range of activities that involve making deposits to the seabed(below MHWS).

The revamp of these systems aim to give UK Governments a betterunderstanding of what goes on below the high water mark from largeconstruction projects, to dredging and disposal activities, and evenburial at sea.

Consent not new

Consent has been required for the deposit of materials below MHWSsince the introduction of the Food and Environment Protection Act in1985, so the concept is not new. In addition, in England and Wales,consent has been required under the Coastal Protection Act since 1949for the placement of any item below MHWS that has the potential topresent a hazard to navigation.

The new marine licensing systems incorporate these two historicalconsenting processes and add a range of previously exempt activities tothe regulatory system.

If you require any further information please contact the RYAEnvironmental and Planning Advisor on or therelevant licensing authority for your country.

Marine Management Organisation

Marine Scotland

WAG Marine Consents Unit

Department of Environment Northern Ireland / Northern IrelandEnvironment Agency