Marine licensing—construction
Produced in partnership with Nicola Canty of 9 Hazel Tree Chambers
Marine licensing—construction

The following Environment practice note produced in partnership with Nicola Canty of 9 Hazel Tree Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Marine licensing—construction
  • Marine licensing requirements for construction activities
  • Public rights of navigation
  • Harbour works
  • River works licence
  • General considerations for construction methodology
  • Protected species and fish surveys
  • Noise and vibrations
  • Disturbance offence for European protected species
  • Other consents to consider
  • More...

Marine licensing requirements for construction activities

A marine licence is required to construct, alter or improve any works within the UK marine licensing area either:

  1. in or over the sea bed, or

  2. on or under the sea bed

In addition to works where part or all of the construction takes place on the foreshore or otherwise in the inshore region, works may be located beside marine waters, but their construction may involve elements that are placed in or even overhang the marine area (such as the placement of scaffolding, or even bridges over tidal rivers such as the River Thames which is tidal inland as far as Teddington Lock). This part of the works will fall within the marine licensing scheme of Part 4 to the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA 2009). For marine licence applications in general, see Practice Note: Marine licensing—licence application procedure.

'Construction' applies to a wide range of activities including:

  1. energy generation

  2. harbour and/or navigation works

  3. land reclamation

  4. oil and gas activities and carbon dioxide storage works

  5. piers

  6. scour protection

  7. slipways

  8. cables and pipelines

  9. barrages and islands

  10. bank stabilisation

  11. 'miscellaneous' (eg shellfish, aquaculture and cultivation)

Developers should be mindful that other activities associated with the construction works may also require a marine licence under MCAA 2009, Pt 4, such as dredging operations and the disposal of material at sea.

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