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Agreement announced on approach for development on the Thames

Words: Laura Edgar
Teddington Lock

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and the Port of London Authority (PLA) have agreed on a streamlined approach to regulating development on the River Thames.

The Thames Concordat (pdf) [https://server1.pla.co.uk/assets/mmoplathamesconcordat.pdf] is a new set of principles both organisations will follow when they each have a regulatory remit.

Under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA), the MMO regulates activities in the marine area, including the tidal areas of the River Thames.

The PLA has a statutory responsibility for navigation, hydrodynamics, promoting the use of the river and for licensing works and dredging.

The agreement applies to areas where the duties of each organisation cross over. It covers from PLA’s seaward limits in the Outer Thames Estuary to its landward limits at Teddington Lock and tidal tributaries.

Shaun Nicholson, head of marine licensing, MMO, said the “agreement is a blueprint for setting out the more streamlined way in which we want to work in regulating activities in the Thames in future”.

Jim Trimmer, director of planning and environment, PLA added that the Thames Concordat “marks a step forward in developing more efficient regulation on the River Thames”.

“We look forward to further efficiency improvement through the Thames Tideway Tunnel project and ultimately the delegation of marine licensing powers to the PLA.”

Five key principles form the agreement, to be used when considering applications for development on the Thames where both organisations have a regulatory remit. They are:

  1. Provide a single point of entry into the regulatory system for seeking consent for development.

  2. Establish a single lead authority for coordinating the requirements of Environment Impact Assessment Directive or Habitats Regulations Assessments.

  3. Act on available opportunities for coordinating, dispensing or deferring regulatory responsibilities.

  4. Communicate the likely evidence requirements of all authorities as early as possible in the consent process.

  5. Coordinate the advice provided to applicants across their respective organisations.

More information can be found here.

Image credit | Jim Lockwood