Description

Removal of materials to maintain or improve navigation. Maintenance dredging is the periodic or regular removal of material from previously dredged areas e.g. berths, channels, marinas, can be every few weeks to 10 years apart. Capital dredging includes removal of material which has not previously been dredged or has not been dredged for over 10 years. This section also considers disposal of dredged materials.

Key locations

All harbours and ports along the Berwickshire and Northumberland coast

Frequency

As required

Potential issues

• Loss of reef, cave communities, or soft sediment from the impact of dredge gear or smothering by dredge spoil
• Release of TBT and other contaminants from historic sediments

Features of Marine Protected Areas which might be affected

  • Reefs
  • Subtidal sediments

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (England)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below:

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Lead Organisation
Requirement for Marine Licences Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Section 71) Marine Management Organisation
Requirement for Environmental Impact assessment (EIA) of certain activities The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 Marine Management Organisation
Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) of impacts

 

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (Regulation 63) All Competent or Responsible Authorities as defined by the Regulation.
Duty on Public Authorities to consider the effect of proposed activities on MCZs before authorising them Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Section 126) All Public Authorities
Duty on a harbour authority to consider the environment in its management of a port or harbour Harbours Act 1964 Harbour and Port Authorities

Relevant Guidance, Plans or Codes (England)

The following guidance, codes, plans or strategies are also relevant to the management of this activity:

Name Description Responsible Organisation Statutory or Non-Statutory?
Port Marine Safety Code 2016

 

Sets out a national standard for port marine safety. The code applies to all harbour authorities and other marine facilities, berths and terminals in the UK. It includes a section on environmental duties.

 

Department of Transport/MCA Non-Statutory
A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations (Department of Transport/Maritime and Coastguard Agency 2016) – guidance prepared in conjunction with the Port Marine Safety Code

 

Department of Transport/MCA Non-Statutory

Details of Current Management (England)

Harbour authorities have general duties to conserve the harbour so that it is in a fit condition for a vessel to be able to use it safely. Harbour authorities typically have a statutory power in their local legislation to dredge for the maintenance and improvement of channels. Dredging may be classed as maintenance (done on a routine basis to maintain existing access to the port and to allow all vessels using the port may do so safely) or capital (deepening or widening of existing channel or construction of new channel to provide improved access). Regulation of dredging is largely through the mechanism of marine licencing.

Consents and Licences:

A Marine Licence from the MMO is required for dredging and dredge disposal between mean high water spring tide and the territorial limit (including estuaries, rivers and channels where water flows at mean high water spring tide). https://www.gov.uk/guidance/do-i-need-a-marine-licence Where unconsented works occur, the MMO has the power to issue remediation notices and stop notices. The Environment Agency is a Statutory Consultee on all marine licence applications and advises on contaminants in spoil and the locations of suitable deposit locations.

Certain exemptions exist for the need for a Marine Licence. Under Article 23 of the 2011 Exempted Activities Order, a licence is not required for the deposit, removal or works activity carried on by or on behalf of a harbour authority for the purpose of maintaining any harbour works. This exemption is subject to the condition that the activity is carried out within the existing boundaries of the works being maintained. Under Article 18A of the 2011 Exempted Activities Order, low volume maintenance dredge activities with a history of the activity at the site, can (with conditions) carried out without a licence. More information on this can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/marine-licensing-exempted-activities/marine-licensing-exempted-activities

The Marine Management Organisation should be consulted to give a definitive judgement on whether any activity is exempt for the need for a marine licence.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) may be needed if the MMO believe that activities fall within the scope of The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007.

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) has issued guidelines for limits on levels of contaminants in dredge spoil for licensing of disposal at sea to ensure levels do not exceed environmental standards.

Where the Crown Estate or another person owns the bed of the harbour their permission for dredging operations is likely to be needed.

Capital dredging may also require a Harbour Order. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-harbour-order

Habitats Regulations Assessment:

Before deciding to undertake, or give any consent, permission or other authorisation for activities which might impact on a SAC or SPA, Competent Authorities are required by law to undertake an assessment that there will be no significant impact on the features for which the site has been notified. This assessment comprises several distinct stages which are collectively described as a ‘Habitats Regulations Assessment’ (or HRA). This will include formal screening for any Likely Significant Effects (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects). Where these effects cannot be excluded they are then assessed in more detail through an Appropriate Assessment (AA) to determine if an adverse effect on the integrity of the site can be ruled out. If an adverse effect on the site cannot be ruled out then the project can only go ahead if there are imperative reasons of over-riding public interest and if the necessary compensatory measures can be secured.

Statutory Duty to consider impacts on Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs):

Public authorities have a statutory duty to consider the effect of proposed activities on MCZs before authorising them and to impose restrictions on the authorisation of activities that may have a significant risk of hindering the conservation objectives of the site.

Environmental Duty on Harbour Authorities:

The Transport and Works Act 1992 amends Section 48 of the Harbours Act 1964 and places a responsibility on a harbour authority to consider the environment in its management of a port or harbour. Section 48 states:

It shall be the duty of a harbour authority in formulating or considering any proposals relating to its functions under any enactment to have regard to –

a) the conservation of the natural beauty of the countryside and of flora, fauna and geological or physiographical features of special interest;
b) the desirability of preserving for the public any freedom of access to places of natural beauty;
c) the desirability of maintaining the availability to the public of any facility for visiting or inspecting any building, site or object of archaeological, architectural or historic interest;
and to take into account any effect which the proposals may have on the natural beauty of the countryside, flora, fauna or any such feature of facility.

Port Marine Safety Code:

The Port Marine Safety Code (2016), produced by the Department for Transport and the MCA, sets out a national standard for port marine safety. The code applies to all harbour authorities and other marine facilities, berths and terminals in the UK. It includes a section on environmental duties. A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations has been prepared in conjunction with the Port Marine Safety Code.

The Code sets out environmental duties of Harbour Authorities are set out in paragraph 3.8. This states that “Harbour authorities have a general duty to exercise their functions with regard to nature conservation and other related environmental considerations. They may now seek additional powers for these purposes. They also have an obligation, where a Special Protection Area for Birds or a Special Area of Conservation has been designated under the Wild Birds or Habitats Directives, to have regard to the requirements of the Habitats Directive so far as they may be affected by the exercise of those functions. Harbour authorities also have to comply with The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 which strengthened the requirement for public bodies, including statutory undertakers, to have regard for bio-diversity in undertaking their activities.”

Gaps in Management (England)

More work is needed to raise awareness of the qualifying features of inshore MPAs and the requirements of the Habitat Regulations in relation to harbour works

Legal Responsibilities or Duties (Scotland)

A number of legal powers, duties or regulatory tools exist which are relevant to this activity and its management. These are summarised in the table below:

Legal Power, Duty or Regulatory Tool Relevant Legislation Responsible Organisations
Requirement for Marine Licences Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (Part 4) Marine Scotland
Requirement for Environmental Impact assessment (EIA) of certain activities The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 Marine Scotland
Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) of impacts

 

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (Regulation 48) All Competent or Responsible Authorities as defined by the Regulation.
Duty on a harbour authority to consider the environment in its management of a port or harbour Harbours Act 1964 Harbour and Port Authorities
Biodiversity Duty on Public Bodies Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004) (Section 1) All public bodies

Relevant Guidance, Plans or Codes (Scotland)

The following guidance, codes, plans or strategies are also relevant to the management of this activity:

Name Description Responsible Organisation Statutory or Non-Statutory?
Port Marine Safety Code 2016

 

Sets out a national standard for port marine safety. The code applies to all harbour authorities and other marine facilities, berths and terminals in the UK. It includes a section on environmental duties.

 

Department of Transport/MCA Non-Statutory
A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations (Department of Transport/Maritime and Coastguard Agency 2016) – guidance prepared in conjunction with the Port Marine Safety Code

 

Department of Transport/MCA Non-Statutory

Details of Current Management (Scotland)

Harbour authorities have general duties to conserve the harbour so that it is in a fit condition for a vessel to be able to use it safely. Harbour authorities typically have a statutory power in their local legislation to dredge for the maintenance and improvement of channels. Dredging may be classed as maintenance (done on a routine basis to maintain existing access to the port and to allow all vessels using the port may do so safely) or capital (deepening or widening of existing channel or construction of new channel to provide improved access). Regulation of dredging is largely through the mechanism of marine licencing.

Consents and Licences:

A Marine Licence from Marine Scotland is required for dredging and dredge disposal between mean high-water spring tide and the territorial limit (including estuaries, rivers and channels where water flows at mean high water spring tide) http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Licensing/marine

Certain exemptions occur to the need for a Marine Licence. Under Article 24 of The Marine Licensing (Exempted Activities) (Scottish Inshore Region) Order 2011, a licence is not required for the deposit, removal or works, activity carried on by or on behalf of a harbour authority for the purpose of maintaining any harbour works. The exemption is subject to the condition that the activity is carried out within the existing boundaries of the works being maintained. More information on this can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/marine-licensing-exempted-activities/marine-licensing-exempted-activities

Marine Scotland should be consulted to give a definitive judgement on whether any activity is exempt for the need for a marine licence.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) may be needed if Scottish Ministers believe that activities fall within the scope of the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) has issued guidelines for limits on levels of contaminants in dredge spoil for licensing of disposal at sea to ensure levels do not exceed environmental standards.

Where Crown Estate Scotland or another person owns the bed of the harbour their permission for dredging operations is likely to be needed.

Habitats Regulations Appraisal:

Before deciding to undertake, or give any consent, permission or other authorisation for activities which might impact on a SAC or SPA, Competent Authorities are required by law to undertake an assessment that there will be no significant impact on the features for which the site has been notified. This assessment comprises several distinct stages which in Scotland are collectively described as a ‘Habitats Regulations Appraisal’ (or HRA). This will include formal screening for any Likely Significant Effects (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects). Where these effects cannot be excluded they are then assessed in more detail through an Appropriate Assessment (AA) to determine if an adverse effect on the integrity of the site can be ruled out. If an adverse effect on the site cannot be ruled out then the project can only go ahead if there are imperative reasons of over-riding public interest and if the necessary compensatory measures can be secured.

The Scottish Natural Heritage website contains further details of this.

Environmental Duty on Harbour Authorities:

The Transport and Works Act 1992 amends Section 48 of the Harbours Act 1964 and places a responsibility on a harbour authority to consider the environment in its management of a port or harbour. Section 48 states:

It shall be the duty of a harbour authority in formulating or considering any proposals relating to its functions under any enactment to have regard to –

a) the conservation of the natural beauty of the countryside and of flora, fauna and geological or physiographical features of special interest;
b) the desirability of preserving for the public any freedom of access to places of natural beauty;
c) the desirability of maintaining the availability to the public of any facility for visiting or inspecting any building, site or object of archaeological, architectural or historic interest;
and to take into account any effect which the proposals may have on the natural beauty of the countryside, flora, fauna or any such feature of facility.

Port Marine Safety Code:

The Port Marine Safety Code (2016), produced by the Department for Transport and the MCA, sets out a national standard for port marine safety. The code applies to all harbour authorities and other marine facilities, berths and terminals in the UK. It includes a section on environmental duties. A Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations has been prepared in conjunction with the Port Marine Safety Code.

Biodiversity Duty:

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004), all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities. This includes coastal and marine biodiversity where relevant to the functions of the public body. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act (2011) requires public bodies in Scotland to provide a publicly available report, every three years, on the actions which they have taken to meet this biodiversity duty.

Gaps in Management (Scotland)

More work is needed to raise awareness of the qualifying features of inshore designated areas and the requirements of the Habitat Regulations in relation to harbour works.