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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Section 59: The appropriate marine policy documents

193.This section sets out the rules for determining whether an MPS or plan applies to a particular decision.

194.Subsections (3) and (4) relate to the effect of marine plans on decisions. The effect of subsection (3) is that a marine plan applies to any decision which relates to the area covered by the marine plan, unless subsection (4) applies. The effect of subsection (4) is that a marine plan for an area in the Northern Ireland, Scottish or Welsh offshore region, or the Welsh inshore region, is not an appropriate marine policy document for decisions relating to the exercise of retained functions (that is, functions which are not devolved) unless the marine plan states that:

  • it includes provision for retained functions;

  • it was adopted with the agreement of the Secretary of State; and

  • it was prepared and adopted whilst an MPS governed planning for the part of the marine area to which the plan relates.

195.Subsection (5) relates to the effect of an MPS on decisions. Since an MPS will always have been adopted by the Secretary of State, it will be relevant to all decisions relating to the English inshore or offshore region, and those relating to the exercise of retained functions in the other marine planning regions. An MPS will also be relevant to decisions relating to the exercise of devolved functions in the other marine planning regions if the marine plan authority for the region has adopted the MPS in its capacity as a policy authority.

196.An MPS adopted by the Scottish Ministers or Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland will also be relevant to decisions relating to their respective inshore regions, even though there are no “marine plan authorities” for those regions. For this reason, subsection (6) provides that, for the purposes of subsection (5)(f), the Scottish Ministers and DoENI are to be treated as the marine plan authorities for the Scottish inshore region and the Northern Ireland inshore region respectively.

197.Subsection (7) defines some of the terms used in this section.

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