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Dredging in the Offshore Region

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Transitional Provisions) Order 2012

The UK Government has decided to extend the current one year transition period for low risk maintenance dredging activities in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 for a further two years from 6 April 2012.

The Order will only apply in English waters and the Scottish Offshore Region and will expire on 6 April 2014.

Why is the order being made?

Prior to the introduction of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA), operators required a licence to dispose of dredged material, but did not require a licence for the dredging operation itself. The MCAA introduced new provisions which made dredging a licensable activity in its own right. However, a one year transition period to help operators adjust to the change, was included in the act.

The UK Government has decided to increase this transitional period for a further two years to allow further time to review the licensing of dredging, explore the scope to exempt certain low risk activities and help prepare operators for implementation.

The Order does not apply to certain types of dredging, including activity that would normally require Environmental Impact Assessment, would have a significant effect on a European site or which may cause environmental damage.

It is extremely unlikely that any dredging captured by the order will take place in the Scottish Offshore Region prior to 6 April 2014.

Further information regarding the Order is available on the Defra website.