Marine developers can avoid lengthy delays in obtaining marine licences by working more closely with regulators. Scoping the project in advance, submitting clear plans and avoiding late changes to proposed works are key, according to Daniel Bastreri, Principal Marine Consultant at leading independent ecology consultancy, Thomson Ecology.
Issues surrounding ports and harbours were highlighted by Tanya Ferry from the Port of London Authority who looked at lessons learned throughout the complex process of getting dredging licences in the Thames.
Delays in granting licences in ports and harbours can be a real problem for developers as those delays can result in the loss of business through, for example, restrictions to the operating windows of berths if dredging is not undertaken when planned.
The advice from all speakers was clear – early communication between the applicant, the licensing authority, consultants and contractors is essential to ensure that projects can be completed on schedule and to avoid interruptions to the operation of a marine facility.
Daniel Bastreri discussed this at a breakfast workshop held recently by Thomson Ecology on the subject of ‘Marine Consents’. The aim of the workshop was to facilitate communication between developers and relevant government organisations in understanding how to ensure successful licensing of estuarine, coastal and marine works.
The free event covered the scientific evidence requirements to support marine licensing, regulatory processes and the latest updates on guidance to comply with national and EU marine environmental legislation.
In response to questions about timescales in granting licences, Daniel said: “Many lengthy delays are often caused by submissions that are incomplete and do not answer some of the basic issues. In order to avoid delays and get your licence granted in good time, it is important to define materials and methods before applying.
“Work with the regulator to screen and scope your project and seek specialist advice if necessary. Ensure that you have identified the main risks and undertaken ecological assessments accordingly. Assess the impact of your work with an appropriate level of resolution and confidence. Above all, provide sufficient evidence in order for the scheme to be assessed correctly.”
The workshop included talks from influential people within the industry, including Tanya Ferry from the Port of London Authority and Dr Mike Best from the Environment Agency.