Home > Expertise > Planning and Infrastructure > Marine Planning and Harbour Orders

The marine environment has never been as regulated as it is today. The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 established a new regime of marine planning, enabling marine plans to be prepared to promote sustainable development in the “marine plan areas” of England and Wales. All marine plan areas in England are due to have a plan in place by 2021. A single National Marine Plan is being prepared for Wales.

Those applying for licences or approvals in a marine plan area will need to show that the adopted or draft marine plan has been considered. Landmark barristers have substantial experience of all stages of this process, from advising those tasked with preparing and scrutinising marine plans, to advising private clients on the best strategy for delivering development in accordance with the marine plans that are now emerging.

Many activities proposed in the marine environment require a marine licence under the 2009 Act. In most cases, a licence will be required because something is proposed to be built in, or removed from, the sea or sea bed. Landmark barristers have extensive experience of advising applicants, objectors and regulators on matters relating to marine licensing, including representation at appeal hearings. Recent cases in the offshore environment include the Tilbury 2 DCO, and the Hornsea 3 and Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farms.

Additional procedures come into play when dealing with harbours. A harbour empowerment order (“HEO”) enables a new harbour to be built, and creates the harbour authority responsible for managing it. A harbour revision order (“HRO”) enables changes to be made to the management of an existing harbour. Applications for both types of order, if sought in relation to a harbour in England, are made to the Marine Management Organisation. Since 1 April 2018, the Welsh Ministers have been responsible for HEOs and HROs so far as they relate to harbours wholly in Wales (except for major trust ports).

Landmark barristers have featured prominently in all the judicial review litigation relating to HEOs and/or HROs in recent years.

The regulation of fisheries, and issues relating to marine conservation and pollution, are also part of our marine work. Any question relating to the laws in the Blue Book – the compendium of UK and EU laws on fishing – is firmly within our expertise.

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