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A dredging licence is required for any works involving dredging. Dredging is defined as including any operation to cleanse, scour, cut, deepen, widen, dredge or take up or remove material from the bed and banks of the Thames. Bed levelling, ploughing and hydrodynamic dredging fall within this definition.


Prior to any application being submitted for maintenance or capital dredging, applicants should submit a request for a sample plan by completing the relevant parts of the application form and submitting it and the necessary plans to [email protected]. Applicants will either be informed that no sample plan is required or, following discussion and agreement with the MMO, a sample plan provided. The requirements of this sample plan must be complied with and the results submitted with any subsequent application.

The following should be provided with any dredging application:

  • Application Form (Word or PDF)
  • A recent hydrographic survey with the proposed dredge area clearly marked. The dredge plan should include any side slopes and over dredge tolerances. PDF reference documents are available: example dredge plan and guidance on dredging terminology
  • Method statement (to be produced by the dredging operator)
  • Results of sediment quality analysis undertaken within the last two years
  • Description of the hydrodynamic characteristics of the river in the vicinity of the proposed works
  • Details of any potential effects on nearby sites designated for nature conservation interest and on nearby berths
  • Water Framework Screening Assessment
  • Application fee
  • Landowner consent if the area of riverbed to be dredged is not in the ownership of the PLA

Please submit completed applications to [email protected]

Related: Frequently asked questions about the licensing process