The Marine and Coastal Access Bill received Royal Assent on 12 November 2009, creating the Marine and Coastal Access Act, 2009. The Act will create a new marine planning system designed to bring together the conservation, social and economic needs of our seas. A network of Marine Conservation Zones will be created that will protect rare and threatened species and habitats. Businesses should also benefit from a more streamlined consenting and licensing system through the creation of the Marine Management Organisation and a new range of sanctions will provide a more flexible approach to marine environment enforcement. The new Marine Management Organisation, a centre for professional and proactive marine management to be based in Newcastle, will regulate development and activity at sea and enforce environmental protection laws.
Key areas covered by the Act include: