England’s sea life and habitats will benefit from greater protection after the Marine and Coastal Access Bill received Royal Assent on 12 November 2009, creating the Marine and Coastal Access Act.
The Marine and Coastal Access Act covers England’s inshore waters and off shore waters around the UK. Many of its provisions also apply to Wales. The Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive are producing similar legislation.
The Act will create a new marine planning system designed to bring together the conservation, social and economic needs of our seas. This new legislation will introduce a number of arrangements designed to improve marine conservation and management including:
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
This new organisation will provide expertise and oversee marine planning, licensing and conservation. It will be a central body for any developers to approach for information regarding projects which have a potential impact on the seas. This will provide a more streamlined process for considering licence applications as well as considering the cumilative impact each project will have on the marine environment. The MMO will work closely with local authorities and the Infrastructure Planning Commission to provide advice on larger scale projects of national importance such as offshore renewable energy planning applications and major port developments.
To find out more visit the MMO pages on the RYA website.
Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs)
A network of Marine Conservation Zones will be created that will protect rare and threatened species and habitats. Four regional projects have started working with local groups and businesses to identify which areas will be designated as Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs).
Currently sailors and boaters have until Autumn 2010 to come forward and share their information and observations about the areas of sea they use, so that leisure interests can be taken into account in the planning of new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). The RYA are involved with all four MCZ projects to ensure recreational boaters are represented in the consultation process.
To find out more visit the MCZ pages on the RYA website.