Request a sampling plan for a dredge or disposal marine licence application

Before you apply for a licence to dredge or dispose of dredged material at sea, the material must be analysed for a range of physical and chemical properties in line with OSPAR guidelines

You'll need to:

  • agree the sediment sampling and analysis requirements with us by requesting a sampling plan
  • carry out the sampling and analysis in line with this plan
  • submit the results with your dredge or disposal marine licence application

Request a sampling plan


We use external scientific advisors to produce the sampling plan. They will return it to us and we will send it to you. You'll receive your plan around four weeks after you complete the form and pay your fee.

Pay your fee

Once you complete the form you'll need to pay a fee of £420. Pay by calling us on 03000 653 770 between 9 and 5, Monday to Friday, or by bank transfer to:

Company name: Natural Resources Wales
Company address: Income Department, PO BOX 663, Cardiff, CF24 0TP
Bank: RBS
Address: National Westminster Bank Plc, 2 ½ Devonshire Square, London, EC2M 4BA
Sort code: 60-70-80
Account number: 10014438

This fee does not include the external charges for scientific advisors' time in producing the sampling plan. When we receive confirmation of their costs we will invoice you.

Where to get your sediment samples analysed

You must use one of the following laboratories that have been validated to undertake sediment analysis to inform marine licence applications.

Check if it has been validated for the determinands that your sampling plan requires you to carry out.

-

Cefas

Element Materials Technology

Fugro GB Marine Limited

Kenneth Pye Associates Limited

National Laboratory Service – Environment Agency

Ocean Ecology Limited

RPS

SOCOTEC

Inorganics (inc. Trace Metals)

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Organotins (Tributyltin and dibutylin)

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Brominated Flame Retardants

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

Yes

Total hydrocarbon content (THC)

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs)

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

No

Yes

Total Organic Carbon (TOC)

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Particle Size Analysis (PSA)

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

 

Analysis can take up to eight weeks to complete, depending on the laboratory you use and the analysis requirements.

Costs of sample analysis

Sample analysis costs will vary depending on the bespoke sampling plans for the associated works. You will need to discuss and agree sample analysis costs directly with the laboratory you choose.

How to send us the sediment analysis data

To send us your analysis data:

  • ask us for a template by emailing marinelicensing@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk
  • send the completed template to us with the rest of your dredge or disposal marine licence application

We cannot accept sediment results submitted in a different format.

We'll return any incomplete submissions to you and this may delay the marine licence application process.

If you make changes to your proposed works

If you make changes to your proposed works after the sampling plan has been produced, ask us for confirmation that the plan is still applicable. Changes could include change in area to be dredged or dredged volume. 

Failure to do so may mean there are delays, additional charges and a possible requirement to resample.

What we do with the data

We must make sure that sediment analysis data submitted to support an application are consistent and comparable between separate applications. These Action Levels are used to determine the contaminant loading of the material and its suitability for disposal at sea.

The action levels are listed below:

Action level 1

Contaminant /compound mg/kg Dry Weight (ppm)
Arsenic 20
Mercury 0.3
Cadmium 0.4
Chromium 40
Copper 40
Nickel 20
Lead 50
Zinc 130
Orgotins; TBT DBT MBT 0.1
PCB s, sum of ICES 7 0.01
PCB s, sum of 25 congeners 0.02
DDT 0.001
Dieldrin 0.005

Note: Levels for DDT and Dieldrin were set in 1994

Action level 2

Contaminant /compound mg/kg Dry Weight (ppm)
Arsenic 100
Mercury 3
Cadmium 5
Chromium 400
Copper 400
Nickel 200
Lead 500
Zinc 800
Orgotins; TBT DBT MBT 1
PCB's, sum of ICES 7 none
PCB's, sum of 25 congeners 0.2


The sediment analysis data will make up part of the supporting information for the application. We will share the data, and the application, with our consultees and it will be available for the public to view.

We will likely be required to consult with external scientific advisors whose time will be chargeable. We will provide you with a quote for this cost during the application process.

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