Marine Planning – Get Involved!

The region has in excess of 700 miles of coastline, resulting in a sizeable quantity of marine and coastal development opportunities. So when do you need marine planning permission (a marine licence) and what are the government's plans for the region?

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is responsible for marine planning and licensing under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The MMO's responsibilities include drafting and implementing 10 marine plans around the coast. Currently marine licensing decisions are taken in accordance with the national Marine Policy Statement. Once in place, marine plans will provide the more detailed structure and policy according to which marine planning and licensing decisions will be taken.

Among other permissions, a marine licence is required from the MMO for the construction, alteration or improvement of any works and the removal from the seabed of any substance or object. Therefore, unless an exemption applies, a marine licence is needed for a huge range of activities up to the spring high tide water mark. In tidal river basins this can encompass a substantial area. So, port authorities, marina and coastal developers, ferry operators,dredging companies, developers of offshore renewables and individuals with riverside properties located on tidal rivers (e.g. boat houses, pontoons etc.)are all likely to need such a licence at some point.

Currently, the MMO is consulting on the south marine plan areas (coast and seas from Folkestone to the River Dart in Devon). It is vital that the users listed above, coastal tourist-related industries and members of the public living or working in the south plan areas get involved in the process to ensure that their views and priorities are considered. The MMO has already hosted a series of workshops and there are on-going opportunities for public consultation.

Michelmores' highly experienced Marine Regulation Team headed by national expert Andrew Oldland QC provides advice on all aspects of marine planning and licensing.

For further information, please contact Andrew Oldland QC, Head of Marine Regulation at Michelmores, by telephone on 01392 688688 or by email andrew.oldland@michelmores.com.