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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Section 81: Submarine cables on the continental shelf

264.In the case of certain submarine cables, this section restricts the application of the marine licensing regime as respects their laying or maintenance. The effect of the section, as read with the other provisions of Part 4, is as follows-

  • a cable constructed or used in connection with any of the activities specified in subsection (5) (mineral exploration and exploitation activities etc) is fully licensable anywhere in the UK marine licensing area;

  • the following rules apply to a cable that is not constructed or used for any of those purposes (an “exempt cable”);

  • if the whole of an exempt cable is beyond the seaward limits of the territorial sea, the cable is not subject to any requirement for a marine licence;

  • if the whole of an exempt cable is within those limits, the cable is fully licensable;

  • if part of an exempt cable is, but part is not, within those limits, a marine licence is needed, but only in relation to the laying (and not the maintaining) of the part of the cable that is within those limits, and the licensing authority must grant the licence though it may attach conditions to it as respects the laying of that part of the cable.

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