The Solent Forum

Working in parnership for the future

Marine Consents

Marine Management Organisation

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) administers a range of statutory controls that apply to marine works, including all construction, coastal defences, dredging and the disposal of waste materials at sea in waters around England for which responsibility is vested in the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  You can view licence applications on the MMO's public register available on its website.

In April 2011, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) launched a new system for licensing marine activities in seas around England, a commitment set out in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The new system should result in a more streamlined application process for developers, and will enable the MMO to publish information about how decisions take into account the needs of coastal communities and the environment.  

In summer 2017, the Solent Forum published the fifth edition of its popular Coastal Consents Guide. This gives information on consents and considerations that need to be taken into account for those wishing to undertake development and activities around the coast.


Coastal Concordat for Development

In 2013, Defra published a coastal concordat that is an agreement between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, and the Marine Management Organisation.  It sets out the principles according to which the regulatory and advisory bodies  propose to work with local planning authorities to enable sustainable growth in the coastal zone. The concordat applies to the consenting of coastal developments in England where several bodies have a regulatory function, and is designed to form the basis of agreements between the main regulatory bodies and coastal local planning authorities. It provides a framework within which the separate processes for the consenting of coastal developments in England can be better coordinated. 

National Infrastructure Planning 

On 1 April 2012, under the Localism Act 2011, the Planning Inspectorate became the government agency responsible for operating the planning process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs).

NSIPs are major infrastructure projects such as new harbours, roads, power generating stations (including offshore wind farms) and electricity transmission lines, which require a type of consent known as ‘development consent’ under procedures governed by the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008). Development consent, where granted, is made in the form of a Development Consent Order (DCO).

The planning framework  for Ports around England and Wales is set out in a National Policy Statement (NPS).  This document sets out the future planning framework for ports development with a target audience of Port Development Applicants and other planners.

Some large national infrastructure plans, even after considerable attempts to avoid, reduce or mitigate, cannot eliminate all negative impacts. Where developments, such as offshore wind farms, have the potential to impact protected sites, they may still be able to proceed provided that certain tests can be met. These tests include that there are no suitable alternative options and that there are Imperative Reasons of Overriding Interest (IROPI) in line with the requirements of The Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations 2017 or that the benefit to the public of proceeding with the development clearly outweighs the risk of damage to the environment in line with the requirements of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.


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