MP calls for marine licenses to be issued by local councils

Posted on October 12, 2022Comments Off on MP calls for marine licenses to be issued by local councils
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n MP has called for marine licences to be issued by local councils instead of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), a group which he described “little known” and inexperienced.

As he introduced his Marine Activities (Licensing) Bill to the Commons, Conservative Giles Watling told MPs he has increasing come to see the MMO as an organisation “not fit for purpose” and with too much “centralised power”.

Marine licences are required for all sorts of activities, including laying cables in the sea, dredging, and using explosives.

The MP for Clacton argued local councils would be better suited for issuing such licences, as they “have a deep understanding of local issues and then local scene”.

Mr Watling told the lower chamber the MMO is “a little known group” with a “tremendous control” over the management of marine activities

The Tory MP said: “I think the issues here are a lack of expertise on the subject, a deficiency in direction and oversight and above all, thanks to the vast and various coastline and varied coastline, we have a lack of local insight.”

I think we need to look at a slimmer MMO, more devolution and a non-executive directors board of experts

He went on: “It seems rather odd to me that we should allow the MMO so much centralised power. We have seen planning and licencing become core parts of local authorities action plans.

Councils are of course accountable by their very nature, they have a deep understanding of local issues and their local scene.

“I think we need to look at a slimmer MMO, more devolution and a non-executive directors board of experts with real life experience holding them to account.”

The Bill, which would transfer responsibility for marine licensing from the Marine Management Organisation to local authorities was introduced as a Ten Minute Rule Motion, but it is unlikely to become law without Government support.

It is due to receive its second reading on February 3, 2023.

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