ARCHIVE: Marine Licensing
Part 4 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 provides a framework for a new marine licensing system. This will enable regulators to make sustainable and effective decisions on activities which may be carried out in the marine environment, for example, aggregate dredging, offshore wind farms and construction works.
Defra issued a consultation paper on 9 March 2010 inviting views by 1 June 2010 on policy proposals for the enforcement of the new marine licensing system.
The new licensing system is planned for spring 2011. Until then, existing consenting systems will continue to operate. Defra will consult on the main features of the new system later in the year.
A joint Defra and Welsh Assembly Government publication: Managing our marine resources – licensing under the Marine Bill (PDF 1.86 MB) explains the changes made to the marine licensing and enforcement systems through the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
Key features of the new marine licensing system include:
- Marine licences will cover the entire life of the development, enabling redundant structures to be removed safely
- A transparent appeal mechanism against licensing decisions to an independent body
- There will be a wider range of more proportionate enforcement tools available in order to protect the environment and make safe navigational hazards
The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 consolidates and modernises two existing Acts: the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) and the Coast Protection Act 1949 (CPA) - removing the complexity and overlap by introducing a single marine licence.
The marine licence has a broad scope covering removals from the seabed, construction and dredging as well as deposits. This broad scope means that the new marine licensing system is simpler than the old one. For example, it removes the need for a separate approval under the Electronic Communications Code as well as bringing FEPA and CPA together and allows us to simplify marine Environmental Impact Assessment regulations.
The Act also establishes a new delivery body from April 2010, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), to carry out licensing and enforcement functions on behalf of the Secretary of State in respect of all waters adjacent to England and all UK offshore waters, except those adjacent to Scotland.
For information on how to apply for a licence and on licence fees, please see
A consultation carried out from July to September 2009 (jointly published with the Welsh Assembly Government) sought early views and suggestions on how key aspects of the new marine licensing system should work in England and Wales. It put forward some general principles and our proposed approach on:
- the marine licence application and decision-making process;
- the basis for making appeals against licensing decisions and statutory notices; and
- the basis for deciding what activities to exempt from the need for a marine licence.
Page last modified: 16 April 2010
Page published: 31 March 2009