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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Byelaws for protection of MCZs etc: England
Section 129: Byelaws for protection of MCZs in England

367.This section gives the MMO the power to make byelaws to protect MCZs in the English inshore region and help further their conservation objectives. There is no power to make byelaws in the offshore region. Separate arrangements for Wales are detailed in section 134.

368.Subsection (3) sets out some of the activities which may be controlled through the making of byelaws. These are primarily activities which are not otherwise controlled (for example under the new licensing system). Research has shown that unregulated activities may threaten biodiversity, and that those of highest risk are motorised recreation (such as the use of speed boats and jet-skis), wildlife watching (which may also disturb sensitive species), and land-based recreation. The powers are drafted widely in order to allow the MMO to regulate these, and any other activities likely to threaten a site’s conservation objectives.

369.Subsection (4) allows the MMO to control specific activities on the seashore adjacent to an MCZ, for the purposes of protection (for example to control noise disturbance from vehicles or music).

370.Subsections (5) and (6) enable the MMO to issue permits (with whatever conditions it feels appropriate) to authorise activities which would otherwise be unlawful under a byelaw.

Section 130: Byelaws: procedure

371.This section requires the MMO to carry out public consultation before making a byelaw. It must publicise its intention to make a byelaw and provide a copy of the draft byelaw if asked, for which it may charge a fee to cover the cost of doing so.

372.Byelaws must be confirmed by the Secretary of State before they come into force. Once made, byelaws must also be publicised.

Section 131: Emergency byelaws

373.This section enables the MMO to make byelaws (under section 129) urgently, without having to comply with the usual consultation and publication requirements and without confirmation by the Secretary of State. This is only permitted where the MMO considers there to be an urgent need to protect an MCZ.

374.A notice that the emergency byelaw has been made must be published (subsection (3)). Those likely to be affected may then make representations to the Secretary of State – who has the power to revoke an emergency byelaw.

375.The MMO must keep the emergency byelaw under review. Under subsection (2), emergency byelaws remain in force for a maximum of 12 months (although they may be extended by up to a further six months by the MMO (subsections (7) to (9)).

Section 132: Interim byelaws

376.This section enables the MMO to make interim byelaws to protect features in an area where the MMO considers there may be reasons for the Secretary of State to designate an MCZ, and where there is an urgent need for protection. Delay in providing protection through a byelaw could otherwise result in harm to the site. Byelaws under this section are essentially the same as emergency byelaws made by virtue of section 131 except that they apply to areas which are not yet designated as MCZs.

377.As there will be no MCZ designated in these cases, subsection (3) requires that the interim byelaw clearly states the boundaries of the area to which it will apply.

378.As with emergency byelaws, subsection (4) exempts interim byelaws from consultation (although the MMO must publish notice of them), and the MMO must keep the need for them under review.

379.Subsection (5) provides for an interim byelaw to remain in force for up to 12 months, unless revoked by the Secretary of State. In cases where the period specified in the byelaw is under 12 months, it may be subsequently extended by the MMO (under subsection (10)) – but the byelaw cannot remain in force for more than 12 months in total in any event.

380.If, while an interim byelaw is in place, the Secretary of State gives notice of a proposal to make an order (under section 116) to designate any part of the area as an MCZ, the Secretary of State may direct that the interim byelaw is to remain in place until the Secretary of State decides whether to make the order and until any such order comes into effect.

Section 133: Further provision as to byelaws

381.This section sets out the administrative and notification requirements in relation to byelaws (whether they are made urgently or not) and interim byelaws.

382.Subsections (4) and (5) provide that the MMO must make an order available for inspection and provide a copy if asked, and may charge a fee to cover its costs of doing so. It must send a copy of the byelaw to the Welsh Ministers if the byelaw may affect activity in Wales.

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