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Marina Projects engaged in the marine planning process

The marine licencing system in the UK has been in force under the Marine and Coastal Act (2009) since April 2011.  The system is operated by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) who is ultimately responsible for decisions relating to licence applications based on current government policies and guidance with the aim of maintaining the principles of sustainable development.

A New Approach

Marine planning is changing to follow a similar approach to terrestrial planning, with the aim of ensuring a sustainable future for coastal and offshore waters by balancing the wide range of needs and activities that take place in these areas. 

At a national level, the public consultation on the UK Marine Policy Statement has recently been completed.  This sets out the key policy objectives which relate to the use and protection of the marine environment. On the back of the UK Marine Policy Statement, 11 regional Marine Plans are being developed which will become the basis of decisions for licencing and consents within the respective Marine Plan areas.

Marina Projects continues to engage with the UK Government, both on behalf of the industry (through our work with the British Marine Federation) and in our own right to call for planning and licensing decisions to be evidenced based and for the system to be proportionate. We recognise that when this new approach is implemented, the UK Marine Policy Statement and regional Marine Plans may well affect how licence applications are assessed in the future. It is our view that the marine leisure sector must have due consideration in the establishment of Marine Plans.

Through our knowledge, experience and contacts, Marina Projects is well placed to offer expert guidance and advice to those wishing to carry out works in areas where a Marine Licence would be required. We have a wealth of experience in managing licence applications, including Water Framework Directive Assessments and Environmental Impact Assessments, dealing with regulators and consultee organisations. Broadly speaking these areas are anywhere below the level of Mean High Water Springs and in any tidal river to the extent of the tidal influence.   

Examples of the types of work in the UK that would require a Marine Licence include;

  • Construction (including renewables)
  • Dredging (including aggregate dredging)
  • Disposal of dredged material
  • Removal

Marina Projects have successfully obtained Marine Licences on behalf of clients for projects such as the Prince Philip Yacht Haven on the River Hamble, the Cowes Outer Harbour Project and numerous applications relating to maintenance and capital dredging, construction projects or small scale marine works. We also have experience in securing exemptions to Marine Licences under the developing protocol.

Marina Projects has also used their experience and expertise to secure a wide range of other consents for projects such as Harbour Works Consents, Terrestrial Planning Permission and Flood Defence Consents and are pleased to offer this service to our clients.

If you are considering a project and are unsure about the licensing requirement or process for obtaining a Marine Licence, please contact our project team on