The UK Marine & Coastal Access Act has gained Crown Assent now making it an Act of Parliament and entering UK law. The Act provides executive devolution to Scottish Ministers of the new marine planning and conservation powers in the offshore region (12-200 nautical miles), coinciding with the existing executive devolution of marine licensing. The Scottish Bill will legislate for marine planning, licensing and conservation activities in the inshore region. This is demonstrated in the map below.
An agreement between UK and Scottish Ministers defining the interlocking responsibilities of both parties, was established through the Joint Ministerial Committee.
Key UK Marine & Coastal Access Act legislation relevant to Scotland:
- Marine Policy Statement (MPS) - will result in integrated management of the UK marine area. Scottish Ministers will participate in the formulation of the MPS.
- Marine Planning - if the MPS is adopted by Scottish Ministers, marine planning in the offshore and inshore area will be guided by the MPS.
- Marine Licensing - combines FEPA and CPA consent, making Scottish Ministers responsible for issuing new marine licences in the Scottish offshore region.
- Marine Conservation - Scottish Ministers will have a power to designate Marine Protected Areas.
- Common Enforcement Powers - Scottish Ministers' new enforcement powers extend to marine conservation and licensing.
In addition to the UK Bill, international responsibilities for the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in the Scottish inshore and offshore region, will fall to Scottish Ministers who are the competent authority.