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Section 2. Consents for Coastal Development and Works

This page is designed to give applicants wishing to undertake work around the coast a summary of the different types of coastal consents that may be needed, additional factors to consider and links to more information. The two main types of development consent required for coastal or marine works are planning permission for infrastructure to the boundary jurisdiction of the local planning authority (LPA) (generally above the Mean Low Water Mark (MLWM)) and a Marine Licence for works below Mean High Water Springs (MHWS). For developments taking place in the intertidal zone or across the land/sea boundary, for example a slipway, both planning permission and a Marine Licence will be required. The LPA jurisdiction can extend into main rivers and estuaries, for example on the River Hamble, so planning permission from the LPA may also be needed for marine works where this occurs. The two systems work independently of each other and are administered by local planning authorities and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) respectively. In addition to these there are usually several other important permissions, summarised below.

The MMO have produced a useful diagram that shows the geographical extent of each of the major pieces of legislation affecting the coast. This helps to illustrate the various legislation that may apply depending on the exact location of the works or development.

Disclaimer

The information in this page is for guidance only, it has no legal basis and specific queries should always be directed to the consenting authority.


Marine Licence

The marine licensing system under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA) has been in force since 6 April 2011. Marine Licences are issued by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).  This system consolidates and replaces previous statutory controls.  A Marine Licence is required for many activities involving a deposit or removal of a substance or object below the mean high water springs mark (MHWS), or in any tidal river to the extent of the tidal influence and up to the boundary of the UK territorial seas. One Marine Licence may cover a number of activities. Below is a list of typical activities that require a Licence, the list items are linked to the appropriate MMO Guidance Note that gives detailed information on each one.

Example of when a Marine Licences is required

Q: If a company wants to construct a bridge over an estuary where no part of the bridge will be below mean high water springs will the activity require a marine licence?
A: Yes. The Marine and Coastal Access Act states that to construct, alter or improve works over the sea is a licensable activity.

Q: A few years after construction has finished the company wants to re-lay the road surface. Will this require a marine licence?
A: No. The MMO does not class this as constructing, altering or improving but rather maintenance of the structure.

Source: Marine Management Organisation, Licensing Guidance Note 2: Construction (including renewables) and removals.

If a Licence is issued it can contain conditions that have to be met before works can begin. These can include provisions on when the work can take place, or stipulations on the construction methods.

A Marine Licence constitutes a statutory consent; its terms and conditions must be complied with in full and are also binding upon any agent or subcontractor who undertakes the activity on behalf of an applicant. Applicants can appeal within six months of the issue of a licence against a decision made on the application; this can include an appeal against the inclusion of any provision within the licence or the length of licence granted; see the the Marine Licensing (Licence Application Appeals) Regulations 2011. The MMO does not issue retrospective licences; if someone undertakes unlicensed works then it would refer this to its enforcement team to investigate.

Use the MMO Public Register of Marine Licences to look at past applications. This is helpful to see what type of information the MMO require for the submitting of an application for a Marine Licence. You should also view the MMO page on Service Levels for timescales for the various stages of licence processing.

Example of a Licence Condition

Piling works should be carried out during the period 1st December to the 15th March inclusive to prevent disturbance to migratory salmonids. If piling works are required outside of this period vibro piling techniques must be used.

Marine Licenses and Maintenance Dredging

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA) introduced new provisions which made dredging a licensable activity in its own right. In March 2012, the UK Government decided to extend the current one year transition period for low risk maintenance dredging activities for a further two years in respect of English waters. The Marine and Coastal Access Act (Transitional Provisions) Order 2009 came into force on 6 April 2012. This Order will apply in English waters only and will expire on 6 April 2014.  The MMO have published a Navigation Dredging Operational Guidance Note on the topic. 

s66 (2) (a) of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 defines dredging activities as ‘including any device to move any material (whether or not suspended in water) from one part of the sea or sea bed to another part’.

Whilst most maintenance dredging activities are unlikely to need licensing during this period, it will be necessary to apply for a Marine Licence where an environmental assessment is required in order to ensure compliance with the relevant EU legislation. The transitional provisions ensure that the assessment requirements of the Habitats, Environmental Impact Assessment and Water Framework Directives will be applied. Please remember that a Marine Licence is needed for the disposal of dredged spoil at sea.

For more detailed information, please visit www.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/protect/licensing/.

Marine Licence Exemptions

A number of activities are exempt from the need for a Marine Licence under the Marine Licensing (Exempted Activities) Order 2011. Section 5 of Defra's Guide to Marine Licensing goes into these exemptions in more detail and we advise that you read this document and then contact the MMO to confirm if your proposals are indeed exempt. Exemptions include:

Maintenance Work

If you are undertaking work to maintain or refurbish an existing structure you should check with the MMO to determine whether or not a Licence is required. Licences are normally only required for works or activities that 'construct, alter or improve'. Maintenance dredging that triggers an environmental assessment will require a Marine Licence.

I represent a Harbour Authority, do I need a Marine Licence to carry out minor works in my Harbour?

A deposit, removal or works activity carried out on or behalf of a Harbour Authority for the purpose of maintaining harbour works is exempt from requiring a marine licence. This exemption is subject to the condition that the activity is carried out within the existing boundaries of the works being maintained.

I am a shell fisherman, do I need a Marine Licence?

The deposit of any shellfish, trestle, raft, cage, pole, rope or line in the course of propagation or cultivation of shellfish is exempt from requiring a Marine Licence. A dredging activity carried out for the purpose of moving shellfish within the sea in the course of its propagation or cultivation is exempt from requiring a Marine Licence. However all UK fishing vessels are required to have a Vessel Licence from the MMO in order to fish for profit.

The MMO will provide up to two hours free pre-application advice to applicants.  You can apply for the licence online at the MMO website and download a Process Overview Guidance Note (pdf file). Defra have produced a very useful Guide to Marine Licensing that sets out the process in detail and gives timescales and costs for the licensing process.

My boatyard wants to put in a new mooring, do I need a Marine Licence?

A deposit or works activity carried out to install a pile mooring, swinging mooring, trot mooring or aid to navigation by one of the following organisations listed below is exempt from requiring a Marine Licence:

  • A Harbour Authority;
  • Lighthouse Authority;
  • Any other person in accordance with consent required from and granted by one of those authorities.

Therefore if you have permission from the Harbour Authority to install a new swing mooring you will not require a Marine Licence.

The situation with pontoons is more complicated, and although they are not usually exempt from a Marine Licence, we recommend that you contact the MMO to see whether an exemption may apply.

A new feature of the marine licensing system is that decisions that may affect the UK marine area must be taken in accordance with appropriate marine policy documents. Marine Plans will interpret and present the national policies within the Marine Policy Statement and apply area specific policies to a Marine Plan area. The MMO is currently drafting marine plans and expects to adopt these in 2013. Marine Plans will give direction on the nature of activities that may be licensed in a given location. This should provide greater certainty to developers when considering whether to apply for a Marine Licence. They will also be a source of information, which applicants can use when considering where and how they might carry out activities. Where a plan is not currently in place, such as the Solent, the MMO will take decisions in accordance with the Marine Policy Statement. If you want more information on the status of Marine Planning in the Solent, please contact the Solent Forum Office and we will be able to tell you its progress.

Scientific Sampling of the Seabed

A marine licence is required before carrying out removals from either the surface or sub-surface of the seabed, consent is required to use a vehicle, vessel, aircraft, marine structure or floating container to remove any substance or object from the sea bed within the UK marine licensing area. Therefore a marine licence is required to remove sediment and/or biological samples from the seabed as part of scientific or investigative surveys if using any vessel or vehicle, e.g. boat or hovercraft.  If the location of the sampling is within a site designated for nature conservation importance, then Natural England should be consulted as their consent may also be required. The MMO also recommend that permission is obtained from the landowner, e.g. the Crown Estate, before survey works commence.

Solent Case Studies


Planning Permission

Most new buildings or major changes to existing buildings or to the local environment on land need consent, this is known as planning permission.  Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1990 defines what development is and hence whether planning permission is required. It is required for any development that falls within the Local Planning Authorities (LPA) jurisdiction, this is normally land above the mean low water (MLWM) but some LPAs boundaries do go out across rivers and estuaries; you may therefore need planning permission for works within a river or estuary, contact your LPA for advice. The LPA is responsible for deciding whether a development should go ahead; use the Solent Forum Directory to find your relevant LPA.  

For developments that cross the land/sea boundary the LPA and MMO will take a decision as to who should be the lead authority for the application depending on the exact nature of the proposals.

Applicants should view the local planning documents applicable to the site pre-application and ask the LPA for details of any relevant studies that may have been published, for example, on slope stability.  These documents will show what types of development are likely to be permitted at a location and are available to view at the planning department of the LPA.  You may also wish to speak to a local planning officer if you have queries, there is sometimes a charge for this service.

Do I need planning permission for repair or replacement to existing infrastructure?

The replacement of existing infrastructure (rather than repair) is likely to require planning permission, particularly if the work improves or alters the existing infrastructure. Local planning authorities regularly receive applications for replacement piles, slipways and pontoons where there jurisdiction extends into a river or estuary. Repair works such as essential maintenance or, for example, the resurfacing of an existing slipway are unlikely to require permission.

Local authorities have different definitions on what constitutes repair and what constitutes replacement. You must check out the definitions with your local planning authority and where their boundary jurisdiction lies before commencing work.

I want to build a new jetty - do I need planning permission?

Planning permission will be required if any part of the jetty infrastructure is within the local planning authority's area of jurisdiction. Subsequent maintenance activity will not require planning permission. But if you alter or improve the jetty in the future you will need to apply for planning permission once again. If you construct a building on the jetty, you will also need to obtain Building Regulations approval.

As the jetty will go out beyond MHWS you will also require a Marine Licence from the MMO (amongst other permissions).

Permitted Development

You can make certain types of minor changes to structures without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called "permitted development rights". They derive from a general planning permission granted by Parliament. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 details what is considered to be permitted development, for example, new works on industrial land subject to a height limit of 15m that do not materially affect the outside appearance. Such permissions are still subject to the the Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c.) Regulations 1994. In some 'designated areas', such as conservation areas permitted development rights are more restricted. Your local planning authority will advise on whether your plans are considered to be permitted development or will need planning permission; permitted development can still be subject to conditions, limitations and exceptions. Many of the conditions require prior submission of a notice of intent to carry out the development, to enable the planning authority to control certain aspects of the development, such as siting or design. For developments in European Marine Sites (most of the Solent) if developers are uncertain whether their proposal is likely to have a significant effect on the site, Planning Policy Statement 9 urges them to seek an opinion from Natural England.

Some coastal landowners have permissive development rights for privately owned coastal defences. Please refer to the 'North Solent Shoreline Management Plan Information Note for landowners, planners and developers on privately owned coastal defences' for more information.

Planning Appeals

The Planning appeals process is designed for anyone who has applied to their council or national park authority for planning permission, but is unhappy with the resulting decision, or the lack of a decision (which should normally be made within 8 or 13/16 weeks). The appeals page on the government's planning portal will tell you how to go about appealing a decision.

Building Regulations

Building Regulations are required for the erection of new buildings, the material change of use of a building or for the extension or modification of existing buildings or their services.  Planning rules determine whether you are allowed to go ahead with a building project and Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings.  Meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations is the responsibility of the person carrying out the building work and, if they are not the same person, the owner of the building.  They are required for coastal developments that are wholly or partly located above mean low water (MLWM). This is the local planning authority boundary. Applicants need to contact the Building Control section of the local planning authority in the first instance.

Building consent is not needed for structures below the MLWM, except for buildings on piers. However the LPA does have powers to take action against structures such as pontoons that it deems unsafe.

Planning Guidance Material

The Planning Portal is the Government’s official planning website. Every local authority in England and Wales accepts planning applications via the Planning Portal. In this Portal you can make an application for a range of consents, learn how to apply and view and continue with applications you have already started. You can also make an application directly to the LPA and this is advised for those more complex projects that will have lots of files and documents of supporting evidence.

Planning Policy Guidance 20: Coastal Planning is the government's planning guidance that relates to the coast and gives more information on the different types of coastline, applicable policies such as conservation and development and highlights those developments like marinas for which a coastal location is essential.

Planning Permission and Coastal Defence Work

In general, planning permission would not be needed for works of maintenance or minor works required to enable continued use of existing structures while they are structurally sound. However, new construction works, or works of improvement (such as increasing the height, width or length of the defences), demolition or removal of defences will almost certainly require planning permission and may require various other consents and licences depending upon the type, location and timing of the proposed work (source: North Solent Shoreline Management Plan). The General Development Order 1995, does allows new works on industrial land subject to a height limit of 15m and that do not materially affect the outside appearance.

Case Study: Milford-on Sea Seawall Collapse

Following a series of prolonged south westerly storms that resulted in scouring and drawdown of beach levels, a section of seawall collapsed at Milford-on-Sea in Aug 2008. All conditions and approvals were sought retrospectively due to the emergency nature of the works; works were advertised in local newspaper in accordance with CPA1949, and notices sent to statutory consultees.

Planning permission was sought from New Forest District Council Planning Department for various elements including rock groyne and rock revetment and underpinning of seawall. Natural England consent was obtained for construction of rock revetment and groyne and recharge. As works pre-dated the Marine Management Organisation, a FEPA (1985) licence and Coast Protection Act (1949) approval were obtained from the Marine Fisheries Agency for placement of materials below Mean High Water. A footpath closure notice was also required from Hampshire County Council as the seawall collapse and construction works meant the local footpath and access was restricted or not available during period of works. Landowner consent was also obtained as lands affected by collapse and works are leased from a private estate.

Houseboats

Houseboats fall outside of planning control unless moored for so long in the same place that they can be regarded as bringing about a material change of use of land. The permanent mooring of a boat for residential purposes, where there was not one previously, is likely to be a material change of use of land and planning permission would, therefore, generally be required. Similarly, works associated with the mooring of the boat might require planning permission if they amount to operational development. With regards to shoreside ancillary infrastructure, for which a houseboat is reliant on, this will require planning permission (if it hasn't already been consented/existing as a houseboat mooring). Ultimately, it is for the local planning authority to decide whether planning permission is required. Flood Defence Consent may also be required for mooring fixings, ask the Environment Agency to advise.

Hazardous Sites

There are several major industrial installations around the Solent coast and the Health and Safety Executive can advise that planning permission should be refused for development for, at or near to a hazardous installation or pipeline, or that hazardous substances consent should be refused.

Marine Plans

The Marine Management Organisation is currently developing Marine Plans for the coast of the UK.  Section 42 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act, 2009 defines the marine area to include "the waters of every estuary, river or channel, so far as the tide flows at mean high water spring tide".  Once these have been produced over the next few years, developments that take place in the marine area will need to take account of the policies within these plans.  For more information, please see our marine planning section.


Other Permissions

In addition to the main two types of consent required for development in the coastal zone (planning permission and Marine Licence) there are certain other permissions that may well be required. These are explained below.

Harbour Works

Harbour Authorities grant licences to construct, alter, renew or extend works within the harbour up to the mean high water springs mark.  Works should not affect rights of navigation or other public rights.  The licences are granted under the relevant Harbour Act or Harbour Order which are unique to each harbour. Applicants must contact their Harbour Authority and gain a licence before the commencement of work.  For the contact details of Harbour Authorities in the Solent please use the Solent Forum Directory.

The Harbours of the Solent are managed by a variety of different organisations, some are privately owned, others are Trust Ports and one is managed by a Local Authority. The Harbour Authorities that manage them all have different roles and responsibilities, based on the specific legislation that gives them their powers under their individual Harbour Acts or Orders. Applicants must therefore contact their local harbour authority to see whether the works they wish to undertake requires Harbour Works consent. This is particularly the case for small scale works and repair or replacement work as different local circumstances can apply. Harbour Authorities are also a good source of information and advice and can assist developers and those wishing to undertake works in helping to tailor their application for local conditions.

Case study: River Hamble

The majority of works within the River Hamble Harbour Authority's jurisdiction require Harbour Works Consent. This consent is considered by the River Hamble Harbour Management Committee which then advises the River Hamble Harbour Board before the Board make the final decision. A public online consultation is held for each application for Harbour Works Consent which goes before the Board and this allows interested parties to have their say. The Harbour Board will consider the potential impacts of the works upon safety and ease of navigation and the environment when making their decision. The cost of this consent will depend on the size of the project.

Maintenance works and replacement of structures on a like-for-like basis are consented under the Harbour Masters delegated powers. This means that an application does not have to go before the River Hamble Harbour Management Committee and Harbour Board and so there is a reduced application fee. For very small maintenance works, consent is not required. The Harbour Authority recommend that people contact the harbour office for advice before undertaking any work if they are unsure.

Further Information


Landowner Consent

A landowner's permission/consent will nearly always be required for any activity that disturbs the land or affects the owner's potential use of their land.  The Crown Estate owns approximately fifty percent of UK foreshore, defined as being between mean low and mean high water, and almost all of the sea bed below mean low water.  Examples of other owners are Local Authorities, Port Authorities, Defence Estates, National Trust and private individuals.  The Crown Estate requires that all other necessary consents are obtained before it will issue landowner consent, however it is happy to receive applications whilst other consents are still being processed.  The Crown Estate's Managing Agent for the Solent region is Chesterton Humberts based in Southampton and they are the first point of call for Crown Estate licences and leases in the Solent.

Land Registry searches can be made for the foreshore in the same way that they are made for land; you firstly need to register with Land Registry Business Eservices.  There are some large scale plans of Crown Estate ownership.  It is usually not possible to search on the sea bed as it cannot be registered.

The main exceptions to the above are activities that rely on the public rights of fishing and navigation.  Anchoring may also be excluded when carried out in the course of navigation, but moorings will require landowner consent.

What are Mooring Leases?

The Crown Estate grants a block lease or licence to a mooring body, such as a harbour authority, boat club or fairways committee for moorings. These bodies provide local administration and sometimes the mooring tackle and other facilities and make appropriate charges to the boat owners. Boat owners pay the local market rate for a mooring, which depends on a number of factors such as the type of mooring, the length of boat and location. This fee is paid to the mooring operator. The mooring operator pays a ground rent to the Crown Estate for the right to lay the moorings.


Wildlife Licence

A Wildlife License is needed for anyone who wishes to undertake an action which is prohibited under wildlife legislation such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 or The Conservation of Species and Habitats Acts, 2010. This can include the killing of, surveying of, disturbing of and/or damaging the habitat of protected species. Examples of protected species include: otters, badgers, bats, great crested newts, seahorses, marine turtles and dolphins, porpoises and whales. Wildlife licenses are provided free of charge. Natural England are responsible for issuing wildlife licenses landward of the mean low water mark and aim to issue licenses within 30 working days. The Marine Management Organisation are responsible seaward of the low water mark and aim to issue wildlife licenses within 6 weeks.

The requirement for a wildlife license does not depend on the location being within a Marine Protected Area (MPA), however typically marine protected species (such as seahorses) are present within MPAs and so there can be an overlap. The Solent is a Marine Protected Area due to its European Marine Sites designations and its location within a Marine Conservation Zone (Balanced Seas).  The JNCC provides an interactive map of the locations of MPAs.

Case Study: Wildlife Licence

Flood defence works such as a managed realignment, might cause ditches with water voles to be flooded, this would kill the voles so a Wildlife License would be needed. The issuing of the Licence may require certain conditions to be made such as the voles to be trans-located.

Guidance on obtaining a licence for offshore activities or development that may impact on Offshore European Marine Sites is available from the JNCC.


SSSI Works Notification

If the work that you intend to carry out lies with a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) then you must formally notify Natural England of your intentions (applicants don’t need to do this directly if they are applying for other consents as those bodies will automatically consult Natural England as a statutory consultee). On receipt of your notice, Natural England must consider the likely impact on the special features of the SSSI. The legislation provides it with four months to decide whether to, issue consent, issue consent with conditions or refuse consent. Notices for an operation that will not damage the special interest, are likely to be consented. In some circumstances conditions or time limits may need to be attached to the consent to make sure that a notified operation is not undertaken in such a way, that damages an SSSI. See Natural England's Guide for SSSI Owners and Occupiers for more information.

To see whether your location for works has been designated as an SSSI, visit Natural England's Nature on the Map website.

SSSI Works Notification Example

A coastal landowner wishes to improve the condition of a track running across his land as it is in poor condition. Although the works will occur within land which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the works do not require planning permission. Before carrying out the works, the land owner contacts his local Natural England (NE) office for further advice on the works. The NE member of staff confirms that the works has the potential to damage the SSSI and that a formal Consent is required. The landowner completes a notice form which outlines the works he wishes to undertake and sends this to NE. The land is an important area for overwintering birds and for breeding birds in the summer and so is sensitive to disturbance. However as long as the works occur after August and before October the works can proceed without harming the SSSI features, therefore a Consent is issued on this basis. The landowner is then able to lawfully undertake the works without damaging the SSSI.


Flood Defence Consent and Flood Risk Assessment

The principle aim of a Flood Defence Consent (FDC) application is to ensure that the proposed works will not increase flood risk to the area or prevent access, for maintenance purposes, to coastal defences. In carrying out the determination of an application the Environment Agency also considers any environmental issues and FDC may not be granted in cases where there is an unacceptable impact upon designated habitats or species.

The requirements for a FDC are included within three different pieces of legislation:

  1. Water Resources Act 1991 - covers all works in, under or over a 'main river'. Main rivers in the Solent include Lymington Harbour, Beaulieu River, River Itchen, River Hamble, Portsmouth, Langstone and Chichester Harbours, River Yar, Newtown Creek, River Medina, Wootton Creek and Bembridge Harbour.
  2. Southern Region Land Drainage and Sea Defence Byelaws (pdf file) - covers all works in or within eight metres of the top of the bank of a 'main river' and also works within 15 metres of a sea defence measured on the landward side or in any part of the area lying between Mean Low Water Mark (MLWM) and the seaward side of any sea defences.
  3. Land Drainage Act 1991 - covers culverting, flow diversion or impounding type works within an 'ordinary watercourse'.

Usually any coastal works will require FDC under the Water Resources Act 1991 and/or the Southern Region Byelaws.  The FDC application process is separate from and in addition to any planning requirements.  The fee for a FDC application is £50.00, and the forms can be obtained from the Local Environment Agency, Development And Flood Risk team.

Following changes to the Marine and Coastal Access Act, administered by the Marine Management Organisation, the Environment Agency can in certain circumstances disapply the requirement for FDC where a Marine licence is also required.  Applicants are therefore advised to contact the Environment Agency before submitting an application for FDC to check requirements.

Where a development is proposed within an area shown to be located within a flood risk zone a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) will need to be submitted with the planning application.  The FRA will need to assess the flood risk to a development over it's lifetime and provide mitigation measures to demonstrate how the development would remain safe in flood risk terms.  The Environment Agency's flood zone maps can be used by the public to identify whether a site is located within a flood risk area.  If a site is located within a risk area it is advisable to contact the local Environment Agency, Development & Flood Risk team, to gain further site specific information.


Environmental Permitting

If you are going to make a discharge to surface water (for example a river, stream, estuary or the sea), or to groundwater (including via an infiltration system) then you may need to apply for an environmental permit to make that discharge. The Environment Agency is the consenting authority.

If the water is clean surface run-off, for example, from a roof, road, pathway or clean hardstanding area, you do not need a permit. You just need to make sure your discharge stays clean and uncontaminated.  If you want to discharge to a public foul sewer (or a drain that connects to one) you don’t need an environmental permit, but you should contact your sewerage undertaker, which is usually your local water company.  If you want to discharge treated sewage effluent, to a river, stream, estuary or the sea and the volume is 5 cubic metres per day or less you might be eligible for an exemption rather than a permit.  All other types of discharge will probably require a permit and advice should be sought from the Environment Agency.

Landowner permission can also be required for rights to use the land over which the discharge is made, as this activity may restrict further use of the land.


Harbour Orders

From 1 April 2010, the MMO inherited responsibility from the Department for Transport for certain functions under the Harbours Act 1964 (the Act).  This includes responsibility for harbour revision orders, harbour empowerment orders and harbour reorganisation schemes in England and Wales.   Harbour revision orders (HROs) are used to amend existing legislation.  The authority engaged in improving, maintaining or managing the harbour or a person appearing to have a substantial interest or body representative of persons appearing to have such an interest may apply for one of these orders.  Harbour empowerment orders (HEOs) are used to construct a new harbour or to gain powers to improve, maintain or manage an existing harbour where no such powers or effective powers exist.  Those harbour orders that authorise a development are commonly called works orders. Where a harbour order is sought which would authorise a harbour authority to undertake works, a marine licence may also be required.  In these situations the MMO will try to process the applications for the harbour order and the marine licence simultaneously. Download the 'Marine licensing guidance 4, Harbours Act 1964' from the MMO website for more information.

The MMO maintains a public register of Harbour Orders applications and decisions.


Fishing Vessel Licences

The Marine Management Organisation issue and administer vessel licences that all UK fishing vessels are required to have in order to fish for profit. Fishing licences can be transferred subject to existing licensing rules.  All commercial UK fishing vessels also need to be registered with the Registry of Shipping and Seamen, which is part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency based in Cardiff.


Role of the Infrastructure Planning Commission

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) is the independent body that examines applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects. These are the large projects that support the economy and vital public services, including railways, large wind farms, power stations, reservoirs, harbours, airports and sewage treatment works. The proposed Navitus Bay Windpark off the coast of the Isle of Wight is an example of a Solent located development that will be under the jurisdiction of the IPC.

The IPC was created to implement a streamlined process for deciding nationally significant infrastructure projects. In England, it examines applications for development consent from the energy, transport, waste, waste-water and waste sectors. Changes following the last election mean that the IPC in the future will become a Major Infrastructure Unit with its own special character, within a revised departmental structure that includes the Planning Inspectorate.