ARCHIVE: Factsheet: what the Act means for industry
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The Act provides us with the tools to effectively manage activities in the UK’s seas. We need make the most of our marine resources, and ensure we can manage them sustainably for the future.
Protecting our resources
At the heart of the Act is a new marine planning system, which will enable us to set a clear direction for managing our seas and making the best use of those marine resources. Plans will set out accessible information and clear policies, that industries can use when considering where and how they might apply to carry out activities, reducing investment risks and costs.
Coupled with this, is a simpler, more flexible and more streamlined marine licensing system. Our aim is to make sure our decisions are based on sound evidence, and any constraints we impose are proportionate.
Modernised marine management
A new Marine Management Organisation – a centre of excellence in marine regulation and enforcement – will be created, providing a consistent approach to delivering improved data, providing advice, and licensing marine developments. The MMO will operate from a network of coastal offices and will deliver a modernised stream-lined licensing system.
We expect the clearer direction given by planning and the changes introduced by the Act to make licensing more efficient to benefit many stakeholders, including ports and harbours, fishermen, aggregate dredgers and renewable energy developers.
Effective enforcement is essential to ensure that regulations and rules are implemented fairly. The Act creates a set of common enforcement powers for enforcing marine licensing, fisheries and nature conservation. It also introduces administrative penalties which will enable regulators to tackle offences in a more proportionate way and level the playing field for people and businesses operating within the law.
Fishing for the future
For fishermen and sea anglers, the Act introduces a suite of measures aimed at delivering a sustainable and profitable fisheries sector. It will mean more effective action can be taken to conserve fish stocks and the habitats on which they depend. For example, Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities will replace outdated Sea Fisheries Committees and will have strengthened powers to tackle fishing practices that cause unacceptable damage to the wider marine environment. Further offshore, enforcement officers will have new powers to tackle IUU (Illegal Unreported and Unregulated) fishing on the high seas.
Inland fisheries will benefit from a more targeted and effective licensing and authorisation system, leading to more sustainable migratory and freshwater fisheries. The Environment Agency will also have more powers to introduce emergency byelaws, for example, in flood or drought situations to protect fish when they are particularly vulnerable.
The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 provides powers to introduce a new system to manage live fish movements; businesses involved will see a reduction in administrative burden by consenting multiple movements, rather than permits for each and every movement as at present.
Marine planning will offer the fisheries industry the chance to have their say, alongside all of the other marine users, about how the seas should be managed to meet everyone’s needs as far as possible.
Tackling climate change
Our seas offer huge potential in our drive to expand the amount of energy produced from renewable sources to combat climate change, and real momentum is building. The Act will simplify the consenting of wind, wave and tidal projects (of 100MW or less in output) by ensuring only one administrative process is used to consider all the marine elements of an application. This will help stimulate the sector, particularly the developing wave and tidal energy sector.
Promoting business and trade through our ports
Port and harbour developments present some of the most complex licensing and environmental challenges. The Act will considerably simplify the consenting regime by drawing up to five different licences and consents (under the current system) together in the MMO and putting them through a single consenting process. This should make it easier to plan port development.
Making a difference for small coastal businesses, recreation & tourism
The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 secured wide support from a range of coastal managers, industries and voluntary organisations, who wanted to see the legislation making a difference. All small businesses will benefit from a more efficient licensing regime, from the certainty that marine planning will bring, and from increased leisure and recreational opportunities.
Marine planning will raise awareness of the activities taking place at sea, and will provide coastal communities with a real opportunity to become actively involved and shape what happens in the marine area in the future, and to explain the effects that activities will have on our coastal areas.
The coast is vitally important for tourism, nature conservation and wildlife. Our vision for improving access to the English coast will provide opportunities to boost economic prosperity in coastal areas.
More than 70 million trips to the coast are made each year, with people spending over £1.4bn, which helps to support a myriad of small businesses on the coast.
It has been estimated that the South West Coastal Path, which runs from Minehead to Poole, brings over £300m of spending to the South West regional economy. The expansion of coastal access should bring many other economic benefits across coastal areas. In working to improve access in other areas to a similar level, we ought to see other areas of the coast sharing this sort of success.
In determining the best route for each part of the coast Natural England will take account of local circumstances and will consult with local interests including landowners and managers.
Page last modified: 13 November 2009