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Marine Licensing 

The RYA keeps a watching brief on the marine licensing regimes administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in England, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Northern Ireland, Marine Scotland and Natural Resources Wales.

The RYA wants to achieve

  • Fair and proportionate licensing regimes in terms of both regulation and fees

The RYA has successfully

The RYA has lobbied the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) since its inception to ensure that the marine licensing requirements for recreational boaters are proportionate to the scale of activity undertaken. Our proactive engagement has secured many improvements for boaters including:

  • exemptions for low-risk activities (e.g. some navigational dredging and racing marks)
  • accelerated and self-service licences (e.g. marker buoys, maintenance works)
  • reduced licence fees for projects (between £5k to £1m)
  • clarification of activities deemed “non-licensable”
  • a greater understanding by the MMO of the recreational boating sector

Currently

Defra has carried out a consultation on proposals seeking to revise the marine licensing application fees applied to England and the Wales and Northern Ireland Offshore marine areas. It suggests that changes are needed in order to maintain marine licence applicant fee rates in-line with the costs incurred by the Marine Management Organisation in determining a marine licence application.

This is being proposed to make sure the cost burden associated with administering licences for development lies with beneficiaries and not taxpayers.

Detailed information on the proposals is included in Defra’s consultation document, but includes:

  • availability of self-service licences
  • a simplification of charges for a routine marine licence
  • an increase in the hourly rate charged for routine and complex marine licences (from £94 to £122 per hour)

The proposals were previously discussed by the MMO’s Chief Executive, John Tuckett, during a hearing of the Environment Audit Committee in the House of Commons in January 2017. They are also part of a wider programme of improvements in marine licensing to make sure that the process it is as efficient as possible and proportionately manages risks to the marine environment.

Businesses and industry representatives have been involved in this work and their views are being used to develop appropriate processes and services, such as a self-service approach for some marine licences, which is mentioned in the consultation document.

In February 2018 the RYA submitted a response to Defra’s consultation on proposals seeking to revise the marine licensing application fees applied to England and the Wales and Northern Ireland Offshore marine areas. Responses to the consultation are now being analysed and if any changes are agreed, it is anticipated they will come into effect in March 2018. Further details will be provided in advance of any changes taking place.

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