Consultations are underway over plans to increase marine licensing fees in Wales next year. The move will mainly affect commercial operations such as dredging.

Plans are underway to increase marine licensing fees in Wales from April 2017.

The Welsh government is currently consulting over its proposals, which will mainly affect commercial operations.

A wide range of activities in Welsh waters require a marine licence before works can be undertaken.

These include navigational dredging and the disposal of dredged material at sea, aggregates dredging, the installation of tidal or wind turbines and construction works on the coast such as sea walls, jetties and extensions to ports and harbours.

The government argues that the changes to the fees and associated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) charges for marine licensing would move towards a system of “full cost recovery”, enabling the licensing authority to provide a “fair and adequate provision of services”.

It says that currently, the fee structure is based on a fixed fee model, which doesn’t take into account the variables between applications.

The government would like this changed to a tiered model, where those requiring a licence pay a mix of fixed fees and hourly rates, depending on the complexity of each application.

This is the same model currently being used in England by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

“This model allows for the recovery of costs at all stages of the licensing process,” states the consultation document.

“This model provides for an accurate, proportionate and fair system for the recovery of costs,” it adds.

Full details about the changes and how to respond to the plans can be found here.

Those wishing to respond to the consultation have until 28 November, 2016.

The Welsh government will also be holding a consultation event on 10 October, 2016 at its office in Cardiff for those affected by the proposed changes.

Following a review of the consultation responses, final legislation and guidance will be drafted.

The existing marine licensing fees in Wales have not be reviewed since 2010. It is operated by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).