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 0300 056 3000 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 National Laboratory Service – Environment Agency SOCOTEC RPS Ocean Ecology Limited Kenneth Pye Associates Limited
Inorganics (inc. Trace Metals)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Organotins (Tributyltin and dibutylin)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Brominated Flame Retardants

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

Total hydrocarbon content (THC)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs)

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

Total Organic Carbon (TOC)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Particle Size Analysis (PSA)

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

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 and to the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science’s (Cefas) Action Levels. These Action Levels are used to determine the contaminant loading of the material and its suitability for disposal at sea.

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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