Beach and Jurassic coastline at West Bay

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West Bay showing the beach and Jurassic coastline

Proposals for Marine and Protected Wrecks

We play a role in providing advice in the licensing process for marine projects and regarding access to Protected Wreck Sites through a licensing scheme.

Marine planning

The marine planning authority for the English area of the UK Territorial Sea (to 12 nautical miles offshore) and the adjacent area of UK Continental Shelf (to a maximum of 200 nautical miles offshore) is the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The MMO prepares marine plans and acts as the regulatory authority for a reformed system of marine licensing.

Our role is to provide independent advice to the MMO as part of the marine licensing process, covering not only proposals for development, such as marine aggregates extraction or channel dredging, but also advice on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for marine projects, such as port expansion programmes and offshore wind farm developments.

Protection of Wrecks Act 1973

Our responsibilities under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 are to consider applications relating to the designation of shipwreck sites and to administer a licensing scheme for access to protected sites.

In March 2013 there were 46 sites designated within the English area of the UK Territorial Sea. This total ranges from possible prehistoric seafaring craft with associated cargos through to prototype submarines.

We therefore authorise access for named individuals to England's Protected Wreck Sites through a licensing scheme which we administer on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

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