Have your say on Marine & Coastal Access Bill

DEFRA are inviting views on some of the secondary legislation that will be made under the Marine And Coastal Access Bill, subject to its passage through Parliament. Part 4 of the Bill provides the framework for establishing a new licensing regime to replace Part II of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985, Part II of the Coast Protection Act 1949 and the tidal works provisions of the Electronic Communications Code.

This consultation seeks early views and ideas from the public on how key parts and processes of the new marine licensing regime should work in England and Wales. It puts forward some general principles and DEFRAs proposed approach on a number of areas:

The marine licence application and decision-making process;
The basis of making appeals against licensing decisions and statutory notices; and in particular
The basis for making decisions on activities which are appropriate to exempt from the need for a marine licence.

DEFRA want regulation to be used effectively, but where activities pose a low risk, for these to be treated with a lighter regulatory touch. DEFRA intend to do this through use of the exemptions power established in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. The exemptions section of the consultation puts forward their approach to making decisions on activities which may be appropriate to make exempt from the need for a marine licence, how they should be “exempted” and the extent to which exempt activities should be registered.

In particular, it asks for views on:
How DEFRA could best use and adapt exemptions/exceptions in existing marine legislation as the basis for activities to go in a new exemptions order;
Whether there are other low-risk activities which may be appropriate to exempt from the need for a marine licence; and if the exemption is given conditionally, what those conditions should be; and
Whether exempt activities should be placed on the licensing register held by each licensing authority.

This is an important opportunity to influence Government policy at an early stage and will help shape an effective regulatory system that is transparent, efficient and fair which makes space for both conservation and commercial uses of our seas.
The BMF will be making representation on behalf of our membership and submitting a response before the deadline of 22 September 2009.

For more information or how to take part in the consultation process, please visit www.britishmarine.co.uk/m&cabill or contact Brian Clark, Environment Executive on 01784 223644 or at bclark@britishmairne.co.uk