This notice provides guidance on the Consent Procedures, including the marking requirements for offshore installations, produced by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). The main features of the guidance are summarised in Annex A. This notice should be read in conjunction with Operations Notice 6 Reporting of offshore installation movements and Operations Notice 39 Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995: Guidance on identification of offshore installations.
This guidance is issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Following the guidance is not compulsory and you are free to take other action. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to this guidance as illustrating good practice
The Coast Protection Act (CPA) 1949 section 34 (as extended by the Continental Shelf Act 1964 section 4(1)), provides that where obstruction or danger to navigation is caused or is likely to result, the prior written consent of the Secretary of State for DECC is required for the siting of the offshore installation - whether mobile or permanent - in any part of the UK designated areas of the Continental Shelf. In practice, this means that consent must be obtained for each drilling operation and for all offshore production facilities.
Applications for such consent should be made to the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Environmental Management Team, 4th Floor, Atholl House, 86 - 88 Guild Street, Aberdeen, AB11 6AR, Tel: 01224 254050, Fax: 01224 254019, Email: EMT@decc.gsi.gov.uk.
Applications for fixed installations should be submitted as early as possible, and no later than the time when the formal application for development approval is made to DECC. The Departments will endeavour to issue consents simultaneously. Any problems will be highlighted at the earliest possible time.
DECC will give a decision on straight forward applications within 30 days. Full details of rig movements should be notified separately to all the appropriate authorities.
Only in exceptional circumstances, with stringent conditions, will permission be given for operations in deep water routes and traffic separation schemes. Authorisation for fixed installations will not usually be granted because they will obstruct and endanger navigation.
DECC's statutory duty refers to the likely obstruction or danger to navigation, rather than to the risk of collision with an installation. Risk assessments, in support of other site specific evidence, will facilitate decisions but may not lead to acceptance. Operators should note that commitment of resources before approval is strictly at their own risk.
The Environmental Management Team co-ordinate consents with the Field Team under the Petroleum and Submarine Pipelines Act 1975. If an authorisation from the Field Team is required, they will arrange for the CPA 1949 consent procedure with the Environment Management Team on behalf of the operator or their contractors.
The siting and operation of aids to navigation are given under CPA 1949 section 34 (as extended by the Continental Shelf Act 1964). Consent will be conditional on deployment of specific aids, usually as set out in the Standard Marking Schedule available from DECC at the address in para 13 below. Sea bed facilities will not normally require marking. Operators are no longer required to submit a NAV37 form with applications. Applications should certify that the operator will follow the standard conditions or give details of the alternatives that will satisfy the requirements.
In their consent applications, people to whom formal consents may be given will be required to demonstrate that they have systems in place to ensure compliance with the conditions in the consent.
The Hydrographic Office must be told, without delay, of any failure of an installation's aids to navigation if:
it is likely that it will not be possible to show main or subsidiary navigation lights all round when visibility falls below two miles;
fog signals cannot be given;
any element of the aids navigation is operating on stand-by because of a failure of primary systems.
The Hydrographic Office will decide whether to issue a warning to shipping. Any warnings judged to be needed will be broadcast on the Department's behalf at the Operator's expense.
Aids to navigation will be monitored by the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) who will notify the OIM, the operator, or DECC of any significant deficiencies. Any remedial action to comply must be taken within seven days. Operators' senior management will be notified of causes for concern.
Failure to comply with consent conditions is an offence for which DECC is the enforcing authority. However, where such failures also prejudice the safety of the installation, HSE inspectors can require remedial actions to be taken, but they will liaise with DECC in such circumstances.
The guidance referred to in this notice is regularly reviewed and updated, and copies can be obtained from the Department of Energy & Climate Change Environmental Management Team, 4th Floor, Atholl House, 86 - 88 Guild Street, Aberdeen, AB11 6AR, Tel: 01224 254050, Fax: 01224 254019, email: EMT@decc.gsi.gov.uk