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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Section 58: Decisions affected by marine policy documents

187.This section makes provision about the effect which “the appropriate marine policy documents” are to have on the taking of certain decisions by public authorities. The documents that may be appropriate marine policy documents are the MPS and any marine plans. The rules for determining whether the MPS or any particular marine plan is an appropriate marine policy document in any article case are set out in section 59 (as read with section 60).

188.Subsection (1) provides that all authorisation and enforcement decisions must be taken in accordance with any relevant MPS and plans, unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise. Subsection (2) requires that public authorities give their reasons if they make decisions which do not follow the MPS or plans.

189.Subsection (3) requires that public authorities have regard to any relevant MPS or plans when taking any decision which relates to a function capable of affecting the UK marine area (other than an authorisation or enforcement decision).

190.Subsection (4) defines “authorisation or enforcement decisions”. These decisions relate to the licensing (or other authorisation) of particular activities which affect, or might affect, the whole or any part of the UK marine area, the conditions attached to those authorisations, and the enforcement action to be taken with a view to securing that any such activities are carried out only under a licence, and in accordance with any conditions attached to the licence, and not in breach of any prohibition or restriction. The closing words provide that decisions under the Planning Act 2008 on applications for development consent for nationally significant infrastructure projects are not “authorisation or enforcement decisions”. As such, they are decisions within the scope of subsection (3), which requires public authorities to have regard to marine policy documents when making decisions.

191.Subsection (5) inserts a new paragraph into section 104(2) of the Planning Act 2008, requiring the Infrastructure Planning Commission (established under that Act) to have regard to “the appropriate marine policy documents” when making decisions on applications for nationally-significant infrastructure projects.

192.Subsection (6) includes some further definitions of terms used in this section.

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