Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

With the multitude of pressures imposed upon our sea and coasts, an integrated approach to managing such activities has been long awaited. On 12 November 2009, the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 received Royal Assent, making the UK the first country in the world to successfully introduce a single piece of legislation to protect the marine environment.

The Act has created a new, comprehensive management system for our coasts and seas, helping us to achieve clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. It will provide better protection for our marine environment; sustainable use of our marine resources; an integrated planning system for managing our seas, coasts and estuaries; a robust legal framework for decision-making; streamlined regulation and enforcement; and access to the coast.

Key elements of the Marine and Coastal Access Act include:

  • The marine planning system, consisting of three stages:
  1. The Marine Policy Statement (MPS)
  2. Marine plans
  3. Marine licensing

To clarify the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, Explanatory Notes have been published to be read in conjunction with the Act.

Further information and documents relating to the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 can be found on Defra’s website here.

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