The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) invites your views on proposals to revise the current marine licensing requirements.

The range of licensable activities are set out under the Marine and Coastal Act 2009 (MCAA) under MCAA section 66. Anyone undertaking such activity is required to obtain a marine licence from the appropriate licensing authority.

There are a few specific circumstances where those undertaking a licensable activity are exempted from the requirement to obtain a marine licence. These exemptions are set out under section 74 of MCAA and in the Marine Licensing (Exempted Activities) Orders 2011 and 2013.

Defra is now consulting on the introduction of new exemptions to the regime and amendments to some existing exemptions. The proposed changes are looking to be implemented to lessen the legislative burden needed to complete these activities.

The proposed changes comprise of new exemptions for the following activities:

  • The recovery of marine litter and abandoned, discarded or lost fishing gear (ADLFG/ghost gear) by recreational divers.
  • The use of vehicles or vessels to routinely remove marine debris by a Harbour Authority
  • In-water hull cleaning of lightly fouled recreational vessels

Propose to dis-apply current exemptions for the following activities:

  • Shellfish Propagation and Cultivation (Article 13) in the circumstance of new areas of shellfish propagation and cultivation or extensions to existing areas of shellfish propagation and cultivation
  • Scientific Instruments (Article 17)

Proposed amendments

Proposed amendments of existing exemptions to provide clarification for the following activities:

  • Maintenance of coast protection, drainage and flood defence works (Article 19)
  • Emergency works in response to flood or flood risk (Article 20
  • Use of vehicles to remove litter, seaweed or dead animals (Article 21) Moorings or aids to navigation (Article 25)
  • Temporary markers (Article 26a)
  • Diver Trails within restricted areas (Article 31)Cables and Pipeline – authorised emergency inspection and repair (Article 34)

This consultation applies to English Inshore and Offshore marine area, and Northern Ireland Offshore marine area where the Secretary of State (SOS) is the appropriate licensing authority.

Documents relating to this consultation may be found on the government website at

If you wish to obtain a hard copy of this consultation, please make your request by email to: or send your request in writing to the following address:

Marine Licensing Team (Exemptions)
Seacole Block
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF


To submit your response to the consultation you are invited to:
complete the online consultation questionnaire provided through Citizen Space (a response though this means would be preferable as it allows for more efficient analysis of responses and a quicker government response to the consultation)

Or if this is not possible, respond by email to or in writing to the address given in the section above. This consultation is open for six weeks, the deadline for submitting a response is by midnight on 14 December 2018.