Harbour Works Consent

Please refer to the information in this section if you intend to carry out any works within the Southampton Harbour Area (for example, any form of construction, installing pontoons or piles, laying buoys or deploying temporary scientific equipment on the seabed).
If you are a berth holder and wish to carry out any form of dredging (however minor you may consider the works to be), it is likely that you will require both a licence from the MMO and consent from the Harbour Authority before work commences. Failure to obtain such licences may be a criminal offence.
Harbour works consents must be submitted no less than 4 weeks in advance for review and approval.
A Harbour Works Consent is an agreement in principle to the works detailed.

Local Notice to Mariners may be required as part of a Harbour Works Consent, charges will apply.

Please see information relating to:

Dredge Licencing

Carrying out work below the mean high water mark

Additional Information

Click here to download the Harbour Works Consent form

Please contact ABP Harbour Masters Department for any queries


Please note that from 6th April 2014, all forms of dredging will require a licence issued by the MMO, in addition to any local consents that may be required.
Please see This Letter  from the MMO which explains the new requirements
Further comprehensive and useful guidance has been issued by The Solent Forum who publish a Coastal and Marine Consents Guide


Associated British Ports (ABP) is the Statutory Harbour Authority, the Statutory Dock and Local Lighthouse Authority and Competent Harbour Authority for Southampton Water and the navigable parts of the River Test (below Redbridge Causeway) and River Itchen (below Woodmill), by virtue of the Southampton Harbour Acts 1863 to 1949, Harbours Act 1964, British Transport Docks Act 1966 and the Pilotage Act 1987.The carrying out of all works, including the erection of pontoons, bridges and other like structures, below Mean High Water Springs requires the prior written approval of the following authorities:-
  1.  ABP for the purpose of Section 13 of the Southampton Harbour Act 1924, as amended by the Southampton Harbour Act 1939, Section 48 of the Southampton Harbour Act 1949 or Section 21 of the British Transport Docks Act 1966;
  2. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) for the purpose of Section 13 of the Southampton Harbour Act 1924 as amended by the Southampton Harbour Act 1939, or Section 21 of the British Transport Docks Act 1966 and Section 34 of the Coast Protection Act, 1949;
  3. The MMO for the purposes of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009
  4. The Environment Agency for the purposes of the Water Resources Act 1991.
  5. The owners of the foreshore or seabed where the works are proposed. If the site of the works is on, under or over ABP or Crown owned foreshore and bed of river, the works will be subject to licence arrangements and the payment of such annual financial consideration as may be determined.
These statutory procedures apply to all works (including dredging and depositing) below Mean High Water Springs. Applicants are required to satisfy themselves that they have approval of the owner of the land above High Water Mark both for construction and access before formally approaching ABP.
Applications for ABP consent will be considered by the Harbour Master Southampton. Any approval granted by ABP will be subject to certain conditions to protect its Conservancy and Navigation interests and these will include the requirement for the works to be marked and/or lighted if considered necessary. Applications should be accompanied by THREE copies of each of the following drawings or documents (digital copies of all drawings and plans in “cad”, “dxf” or similar format are requested if possible, and may help expedite the decision process):-
(i) An Ordnance Sheet on the scale of 1/2500 of the immediate locality with the work indicated upon it in distinctive colour. High and Low Lines of Ordinary Spring Tides should be shown on the Ordnance Sheet; and
(ii) A detailed plan and cross section of the riverbed and foreshore affected, with the work delineated in distinctive colour and shown in elevation. The section should be drawn on a scale not less than 1/200, and should show the High and Low Lines of Ordinary Spring Tides, the position of Ordnance Datum and have the principal dimensions figured upon it.
Any temporary works (coffer dams, causeways etc.) needed to facilitate construction should also be shown on the scheme drawing and marked “Temporary – to be removed”.
The consent of the MMO, as referred to in (2) above, and the licence, also issued by the MMO as per (3) above can be applied for jointly on application to:-
Marine Management Organisation
PO Box 1275
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE99 5BN
Tel: 0300123 1032


i) ABP cannot consent to works in the Rivers Test and Itchen beyond or riverward of the Redbridge Causeway on the River Test or Woodmill on the River Itchen.
ii) For works to be undertaken in the River Hamble, the River Hamble Harbour Authority should be contacted.
iii) Most areas of Southampton Water, the River Test and the River Itchen are notified as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for the purposes of Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981; as Special Protection Areas under European Union Directive 79/409/EEC on the Conservation of Wild Birds; as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention and as a Special Area of Conservation under the Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations 2010. You are advised, therefore, to consult with Natural England, 2nd Floor, Cromwell House, 15 Andover Road, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 7BT, Tel: 0300 060 2514.
Email: enquiries.southeast@naturalengland.org.uk. A copy of any consent issued by Natural England must be forwarded to ABP

Vessel Traffic Services Centre
Ocean Gate
Atlantic Way
SO14 3QN
Tel: 023 8060 8208