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 and Coastal Access Act 2009

Scotland has engaged with the UK Government on changes which have been made to the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 ("the 2009 Act")[13] [14] so that it continues to operate 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 2009 Act established provisions for the management and protection of the marine environment. In relation to Scotland, the Act applies to offshore waters, beyond 12 nautical miles. It sets out requirements for a UK Marine Policy Statement,[15] a marine licensing regime, powers to designate marine protected areas, a duty to contribute to a UK network of marine sites, and associated enforcement powers.

Amendments have been made to some provisions and definitions which would not work once the UK left the EU:

  • replacing references to Member States with references to the UK or an appropriate body;
  • replacing references to Community legislation or EU law with references to retained EU law;
  • requirements to notify or report to the European Commission are replaced with requirements to report publicly;
  • amending cross-references to EU legislation such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, so that they continue to make sense.



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