EU Exit: marine environmental legislation in Scotland

Explains the changes made to marine legislation to ensure that the law remains operable and effective from 1 January 2021

Marine (Scotland) Act 2010

Changes have been made to the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 ("the 2010 Act")[10] [11] so that it continues to operate effectively now that the UK is no longer part of the EU. The amendments are minor and technical in nature - the legislation continues to operate as it did before exit day.

Further information

The 2010 Act created a legislative and management framework for the marine environment in Scottish inshore waters, to help ensure clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

The 2010 Act created a system of marine planning to manage the various and often competing uses of the sea, whilst making sure the marine environment is protected. The 2010 Act also created a system of licensing and enforcement, and included powers to establish marine protected areas to protect natural and cultural marine features. It also introduced a new regime for the conservation of seals.

Amendments have been made to some provisions and definitions which would not have made sense once the UK left the EU. For example,

  • references to "obligations under EU law" have been changed to "obligations under retained EU law";[12]
  • a reference to "a Member State" has been changed to "the United Kingdom"; and
  • the definition of "third country vessel" has been amended so that it includes all non-UK vessels.



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