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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Section 55: Delegation of functions relating to marine plans

175.This section enables a marine plan authority to direct another public body to carry out some of its marine planning functions, by giving it a direction. The Government’s intention is that this power will be used to delegate functions of the Secretary of State to the Marine Management Organisation.

176.Subsection (3) requires the marine plan authority to obtain the public body’s consent before making the direction. Since public bodies may generally only do things that they have specific powers to do, subsection (4) compels the public body to comply with the direction and states that it is taken to have any necessary powers to carry out the functions delegated to it.

177.Subsections (5) to (7) set out which functions may be delegated in this way. A marine plan authority may delegate any of the functions in Chapter 2 (apart from the “excepted functions”) and the duty to monitor and report on the effects and effectiveness of marine plans in section 61. The functions in Chapter 2 which may be delegated include:

  • preparing a marine plan for a marine plan area in accordance with the procedure in Schedule 6 (section 51);

  • amending a marine plan (section 52); and

  • keeping relevant matters under review (section 54).

178.The “excepted functions” which must be carried out by the marine plan authority and may not be delegated are:

  • adopting a marine plan (paragraph 15 of Schedule 6); and

  • withdrawing a marine plan, or withdrawing agreement to a marine plan (section 53).

179.In addition, functions of the Secretary of State in his own capacity may not be delegated by a direction under this section (see subsection (7)). These functions include agreeing to the publication of statements of public participation and consultation drafts by the devolved administrations, and agreeing, or withdrawing agreement, to the adoption of their final marine plans.

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