Marine licensing: considerations before submitting an application

Considerations before submitting an application.

Marine licensing: before submitting an application

Information on what to consider before you submit a marine licence application:

Before you submit an application for a marine licence you should consider the following:

  • certain activities are specified as exempted activities and therefore may not need a marine licence. Further information on exempted activities
  • Pre-application Consultation (PAC) and notification may be required before applying for a marine licence for certain activities
  • certain construction projects may need an accompanying Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Pre-application Consultation (PAC)

Information you should consider before submitting an application:

  • Prospective applicants for marine licences for certain activities will be required to carry out a public pre-application consultation to allow local communities, environmental groups and other interested parties to comment upon proposed marine projects at an early stage - before an application is submitted gives stakeholders and the public an opportunity to comment on the proposal at a PAC event before the applicant submits a marine licence application
  • compulsory for prescribed classes or descriptions of licensable marine activity under Regulation 4 of The Marine Licensing (Pre-Application Consultation) (Scotland) Regulations 2013
  • 12 week process which must be completed before submitting a marine licence application
  • marine licence application must be submitted within one year of the PAC event
  • the applicant can request a PAC statement from Marine Scotland - Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) to confirm PAC requirements

We have also published guidance on marine licensable activities subject to Pre-application Consultation.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening

Information you should consider:

  • MS-LOT cannot process a marine licence application for Schedule 2 works unless the project is screened to determine if EIA is required.
  • request for an EIA screening opinion must include information required under Regulation 10 of The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017
  • minimum nine week process
  • MS-LOT will carry out the screening process where this has not been initiated by an applicant, and must seek from the applicant the required information in order to do so.
  • MS-LOT cannot process an application for an EIA project (Schedule 1 works or Schedule 2 works likely to have significant effects on the environment) unless it is accompanied by an EIA report.

For more information, see marine licensing and consenting: Environmental Impact Assessment.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) scoping

Information you should consider:

For more information, see marine licensing and consenting: Environmental Impact Assessment.

Marine licensing: application process and timescales

Information on the marine licensing process and timescales.

The following marine licence application process will apply where no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or statutory Pre-application Consultation (PAC) is required.

Stage 1: submission of a marine licence application to Marine Scotland – Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT)

Application forms and guidance can be found below:

Stage 2: initial checks and invoicing

Checks are carried out by a Licensing Support Officer to ensure that application forms are completed in full and all relevant supporting documents have been provided. Where an application is incomplete, a Licensing Support Officer will notify the applicant. The case will be put on hold until a complete application form and supporting documents have been submitted. Review at this stage does not include reviewing the detail of the application. MS-LOT may need to ask for more information from the applicant after the case has been allocated to a Casework Officer. Once the completed and correct application has been accepted, the Licensing Support Officer sends the application fee invoice to the applicant.

Stage 3: payment of invoice

The applicant pays the marine licence application fee as invoiced. The 14 week target determination timescale begins when MS-LOT receives payment of the application fee.

Stage 4: casework officer pre-consultation review

The case is allocated to a Casework Officer who reviews the application and may request further information from the applicant if required. The case may be placed on hold while MS-LOT waits for an applicant to provide the information required. Once the application review is complete, the application documents are uploaded to Marine Scotland Information website and the Casework Officer sends a public notice template to the applicant for publication (when applicable).

Stage 5: applicant publishes a public notice in a local newspaper

The applicant arranges the placing of a public notice, which provides any person having an interest in the outcome of the application an opportunity to comment on it, in a newspaper circulating in the locality in which the proposed activity is situated. The applicant must send proof of publication to MS-LOT before the case can be progressed.

Stage 6: consultation

Once proof of public notice publication has been provided, MS-LOT starts consultation with statutory (Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB), Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), NatureScot and regional Marine Planning Partnerships) and non-statutory consultees. The standard consultation period is for 28 days. All representations received are shared with the applicant at the end of the consultation period and the applicant has an opportunity to make representations about any observations made by the consultees.

Stage 7: determination and further assessments

Casework Officer reviews the representations received during consultation and advises the applicant to resolve any issues identified during consultation. MS-LOT may request further information from the applicant, if required. MS-LOT carries out further assessments, if required. These may include a Marine Protected Area (MPA) Assessment (where the proposal is capable of affecting, other than insignificantly, an MPA) or an Appropriate Assessment (where the proposal is likely to have a significant effect on a European Site).

Stage 8: application determination

After any further assessments have been completed (where required) and all issues identified during consultation have been resolved, the Casework Officer determines if a licence can be granted and determines licence conditions. A Casework Manager then reviews the case and signs the licence.

Stage 9: marine licence issue

The marine licence is sent to the licensee and uploaded to the Marine Scotland Information website. The licensee may be required to fulfil suspensive conditions prior to commencement of the licensed activity and may be required to submit reports to MS-LOT as per licence conditions.

Back to top