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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Sections 65 and 66: Requirement for licence; Licensable marine activities

226.Anyone undertaking an activity mentioned in section 66 will need to obtain a licence from the appropriate licensing authority, subject to any exemption provided for in the Act.

227.The appropriate licensing authority for any area is specified in section 113.

228.The list of licensable activities is similar to that covered by the Act’s predecessor, Part II of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (“FEPA”). One of the main differences is dredging. Under FEPA only some forms of dredging were licensable, namely those that involved the removal and dumping of sediment elsewhere at sea. For example, hydrodynamic and plough dredging that involve the use of water jets or ploughs, respectively, to move sediment along the sea bed were not licensable. Aggregate dredging which involves the removal of sediment but for use on land was also not licensed under FEPA. Item 9 of subsection (1), as read with subsection (2)(a), make all forms of dredging within the UK marine licensing area licensable under this Part. Section 75 provides an exemption from the need for a marine licence for dredging already authorised under a Harbour Order or other local Act.

229.The list of licensable activities is self-explanatory. In summary:

  • All vessels, aircraft or structures, regardless of their country of origin, will need a licence to deposit, scuttle or incinerate any object or substance within the UK marine licensing area;

  • All vessels, aircraft or structures, regardless of their country of origin, where it is their intention to engage in such an activity anywhere at sea, will need a licence to load or begin towing in the UK marine licensing area; and

  • British vessels, aircraft or structures will need a licence to deposit, scuttle or incinerate any object or substance anywhere at sea. British vessels, aircraft or structures are defined in section 115.

230.By virtue of section 85, it is an offence to engage in a licensable activity without the requisite licence or in a way that breaches the conditions attached to that licence.

231.The list of activities that need a licence may be amended by order. Each licensing authority may produce such an order for activities within its competence. This order making power cannot be delegated to another body under the powers given in section 98.

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