UK Government Extends Transition Period for Low Risk Dredging Activities

The UK Government has decided to extend the current one year transition period for low risk maintenance dredging activities for a further two years in respect of English waters.

Under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Transitional Provisions) Order 2012, which comes into force on 6 April 2012, the transitional period has been extended for two further years until 6 April 2014. Those dredging operations that will require a licence under the order are those:

– likely to have a significant effect on a European marine site

– likely to adversely affect the ecological status of a water body under the Water Framework Directive

– to be carried out as part of a project which requires assessment under the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Marine Management Organisation will be working with stakeholders to consider how dredging should be regulated in the future. In particular to explore the scope to exempt certain low risk activities and to help prepare operators for implementation of the licensing requirements. A consultation on these arrangements will be held later this year.


Dredging was not a licensable activity before the start of the marine licensing system on 6 April 2011. Initially there was a transitional period of one year from 6 April 2011 during which a dredging operation did not require a marine licence, provided the dredging operation:

– would not have fallen within section 34 of the Coast Protection Act 1949

– would not have required a licence under Part 2 of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1984

– is not excluded from this exemption by an order made by the Secretary of State.


Dredging Today Staff, April 20, 2012;