Proposed amendments to The Marine Licensing (Exempted Activities) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011

Consultation opened on 28 May 2021. Closing date 30 July 2021.


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has published a consultation setting out proposed amendments to The Marine Licensing (Exempted Activities) Order (NI) 2011 (The Exempted Activities Order).
The function of the Exempted Activities Order is to identify activities that do not require a marine licence and provide for exemption from that need in defined situations. The proposed changes to the Exempted Activities Order are intended to ensure that the marine licensing system remains proportionate to the risk to the environment, human health and other uses of the sea and that its operation is efficient and coherent. The proposed amendments will also ensure that Northern Ireland maintains broad consistency with the Exempted Activities Orders across the rest of the UK.


Consultation description

This consultation is aimed at anyone who has an interest or is involved in activities that take place in the marine environment. It may be of particular interest to those involved in the following marine activities:

  • Beach cleaning
  • Coastal protection
  • Emergency repairs
  • Fisheries
  • Recreational diving
  • Recreational sailing
  • Removal of accidental deposits
  • Shellfish farming
  • Scientific surveys
  • Temporary markers
  • Cleaning of boat hulls

It is expected that this consultation will be of interest to businesses, operators, clubs/associations and individuals, conservation bodies and environmental groups that are concerned about man’s impact on the marine environment, navigational safety and human health.

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA) introduced a streamlined licensing system that came into effect in April 2011. The aim was to enable consistent and sustainable decision making on activities within the marine area. In making those decisions, the Department as the licensing authority must balance the need to protect the environment, the need to protect human health, the need to prevent interference with legitimate uses of the sea and any other such matter that that Department considers relevant. As the Licensing Authority for the Northern Ireland inshore region (0 to 12 nautical miles), DAERA has the power under provisions in the MCAA to make and amend legislation exempting some activities from the need to obtain a marine licence. The specific circumstances are defined in the Articles of part 3 of the Exempted Activities Order.

This consultation paper seeks your comments on proposed amendments to the Exempted Activities Order which refine the existing detail of circumstances where an exemption can apply and adds new ones. This review and amendment of the Exempted Activities Order is extensive in nature. Aside from minor technical changes, DAERA proposes to make substantive amendments to nine existing articles and to add an additional seven to the Order.

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