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Marine and Coastal Access Bill Call To Action

by Robin Pilgrim,, London

01 July 2009

The Marine and Coastal Access Bill is a piece of legislation currently going through UK Parliament that will have a dramatic impact on everyone who uses the sea or runs businesses dependent on the marine environment, the British Marine Federation (BMF) has explained.

The BMF revealed that it has been working hard to ensure that the industry’s voice is heard by politicians and policymakers as the Bill goes through the House of Lords.

According to the BMF, as the Bill has now entered the House of Commons, it provides an excellent opportunity for BMF members to raise concerns with their local MP. Organizations that wish to limit marine activity have been very active in lobbying MPs and it is vital that the important contribution made by the leisure marine industry is known and understood.

Further to this, the BMF has suggested a list of points members may want to include in an e-mail/letter to their MP:

  • "What your company does, where it is located and how many people it employs;
  • Any activities that you undertake in the community and whether you employ apprentices;
  • Make the point that the Marine and Coastal Access Bill could have an impact on your business – companies such as yourselves are keen that the legislation does not unfairly penalize leisure marine firms ;
  • If you undertake maintenance dredging activities, or benefit from them, highlight the need to exempt all maintenance dredging from burdensome licensing requirements – an opportunity presented by the passage of the Bill but not yet currently included in the legislation;
  • The establishment of Marine Conservation Zones could heavily restrict the activities of sea users and also have a knock on effect on businesses supporting this activity;
  • Emphasis that the legislation must take into account economic factors, such as the effect on people’s livelihoods, when areas are being designated as Marine Conservation Zones, along with social and environmental factors;
  • If you have been involved in local environmental initiatives, such as the Green Blue, then include these as examples of how the industry is already working to minimize its impact on the environment – a consultative approach would be beneficial;
  • It would be useful to add any context on difficulties you have been facing due to the uncertainty that exists in the economy, including any job losses that have occurred and how it is important that any new measures are designed with the impact on businesses as a central concern during this difficult time;
  • Whilst welcoming the potential tourism opportunities that could come with the establishment of the coastal path, it would be a good idea to include any concerns you have about unfettered access to your premises – from a health and safety and security perspective;
  • It would be preferential for coastal marine businesses such as boatyards and marinas to be exempt from the establishment of the path where these issues are of real concern."

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