The environmental datasearch will show statutory protected sites. Alternatively a quick check can be made online using the Multi-agency Geographic Information for the Countryside website (see link below).
The presence of a site with statutory protection (e.g. SSSI, SAC, etc) based on the canal which may be affected by the proposed marina site may be an issue.
If statutory wildlife site/s and/or protected species are likely to be directly or indirectly affected by the development, then in the first instance you should talk to the local office of the statutory wildlife regulator (Natural England or Natural Resources Wales). They will be able to advise on the feature's significance and any further action you may need to take, e.g. survey work. If a statutory wildlife site is affected by the development, it is highly unlikely that planning permission will be granted.
A walk-over assessment of the site should be carried out at a suitable time of the year to identify any potential for protected species or other issues. This work should be undertaken by a suitably insured chartered professional with ecological expertise.
The area of the desk study and walk-over assessment should include the site of the new mooring basin itself, any associated infrastructure and the waterway which may be affected by any increased usage. If access to the site during the construction and/or operation phases is limited or difficult, you will also need to take into account whether any temporary or new access may impact on a designated wildlife site/protected species. Any impact the development may have on sites/species distant from it but affected by it, e.g. by hydrological connection, must also be considered.
The local Wildlife Trust can advise on the significance of non-statutory wildlife sites such as County Wildlife Sites. These are frequently given protection through policies in local plans which will be considered through the planning process.
Lay-by construction can have a greater impact on canal biodiversity as it necessitates the removal of a substantially longer section of canal bank and bed than where a standard marina connection is used.
During the construction phase, it is likely that a greater quantity of silt will be produced, thus having a detrimental impact on water quality. You will have to satisfy us that damage to the environment is minimised in the planning/execution of the works.
In the event of a pollution incident, it is difficult to isolate the marina from the waterway. You will have to satisfy us that there are appropriate measures in place to contain the spread of pollution in the event of a spillage.
Useful references and links
Local Wildlife Trusts www.wildlifetrusts.org
Natural England www.naturalengland.org.uk
Natural Resources Wales https://naturalresources.wales/splash?orig=%2f&lang=cy
Environment Agency www.environment-agency.gov.uk
National Biological Records Centre www.brc.ac.uk
National Biodiversity Network www.nbn.org.uk
Multi-agency Geographic Information for the Countryside https://magic.defra.gov.uk/