The DCMS publishes a summary of responses to the consultation on HMS Victory.
Marine Policy Statement published
The UK Marine Policy Statement has now been published. The MPS is the framework for preparing Marine Plans and decisions affecting the marine environment. It aims to “ensure a sustainable marine environment which promotes healthy, functioning marine ecosystems and protects marine habitats, species and our heritage assets”.
The policies in the MPS take both designated and non-designated heritage assets into account, bringing marine planning in line with the planning system on land. “Many heritage assets with archaeological interest in these areas are not currently designated as scheduled monuments or protected wreck sites but are demonstrably of equivalent significance…. the marine plan authority should consider them subject to the same policy principles as designated heritage assets”.
The Ministry of Defence and DCMS have launched a public consultation on managing the site of the HMS Victory which was located in the English Channel in February 2009. The document welcomes the views of all those concerned with Britain’s naval and maritime heritage and seeks views on three proposed options for the site:
- management of the wreck in situ (essentially, monitoring and site stabilisation where appropriate
- recovery of the wreck artefacts that are visible on the sea bed (including various bronze cannon) and management of the remainder of the site
- a more extensive archaeological evaluation and excavation
This is the first consultation of its kind on the future management of an historic wreck site and the CBA welcomes this opportunity to broaden the debate about the discovery and encourage wider public interest in the protection of the marine heritage.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
The Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn, has announced (March 22) that the Marine Managment Organisation (MMO) will come into being on 1 April 2010. The MMO has been established by the the Marine and Coastal Access Act and will act as the UK Government’s principal delivery body in the marine area in the waters around England in the UK offshore area for matters that are no devolved and will be its centre of marine expertise.
The Marine (Scotland) Act
The Marine (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 29 April 2009 to provide a framework for the sustainable management of the seas around Scotland. The Bill introduces marine planning, marine licensing, marine conservation, seal conservation and enforcement. The Bill received Royal Assent on 10 March 2010.
Further information on all aspects of the Marine (Scotland) Bill is available from the Scottish Government website.
The Marine and Coastal Access Act
The Marine and Coastal Access Bill (PDF | 1.34MB) received Royal Assent on 12 November 2009. Part 9 of the Marine and Coastal Access (MCA) Act 2009 introduces new powers to extend public recreational access to the English coast. Its provisions place a duty on the Secretary of State and Natural England to secure, as far as possible, a continuous, signed and managed long distance route and wider spreading room which will be accessible on foot. To achieve this, the Act amends existing legislation – namely the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.Information on coastal access provisions is available on the Defra website.
Current consultations on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Marine Plans and the North West Sea Fisheries may be found on the consultations page.
Baroness Taylor, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, has announced that the Government intends to consult stakeholders on the future of the wreck. Her announcement said: ‘Following a Royal Navy survey vessel’s survey of the site in July, we will be releasing a detailed analysis of the wreck site. Due to the unique importance of this wreck for naval heritage, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Media, Culture and Sport will jointly be engaging in a process of consultation on the approaches that should be adopted for this wreck’. The consultation process will start towards the end of the year.
The announcement recognises that the wreck of Balchin’s Victory is ‘Sovereign Immune’ and remains the property of the Crown and that no intrusive action can be taken on it ‘without our express consent’. Even so, the UK Government is reported to have paid a salvage award of US$160,000 to Odyssey Marine for the two bronze cannon that the firm recovered from the wreck: a 12-pounder featuring the royal arms of George II and a 4-ton, 42-pounder bearing the crest of George I.
- Wreck of HMS Victory Salvage Claim (2 February 2009)
- HMS Victory - update (5 February 2009)
- UNESCO calls for measures to preserve wreck of the British warship HMS Victory (6 February 2009)
- Ministry of State , Bob Ainsworth’s, written answer on behalf of the Ministry of Defence about the Victory claim (11 February 2009).
The Marine and Coastal Access Bill
The Marine Bill will pass through its final Report Stage in the House of Commons and Third Reading during the current parliamentary session. Earlier amendments to the Bill have resulted in a requirement for marine plan authorities to have regard for historic and archaeological assets, and that these may also be taken into account in designating marine conservation zones. Details of current parliamentary programme are available here.
The CBA strongly supports the Marine and Coastal Access Bill which will provide a framework for the sustainable management of marine resources and integrated planning and conservation for the marine environment. It includes helpful general provisions for protection of the marine historic environment. Sustainable development principles underpinning the proposed Marine Policy Statement will include consideration of impact on cultural resources; ‘environment’ for the purpose of marine licensing is defined to include any site of historic or archaeological interest.
It was originally envisaged that the Marine Bill would be complemented by new provisions for protecting marine heritage assets in the Heritage Protection Bill, adding a level of protection for individual sites through designation. Now there is no certainty that the Heritage Protection Bill will be taken forward, CBA believes it is essential to ensure there is stronger and more specific consideration of the marine heritage in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill.
The Scottish Government announced the launch of Marine Scotland on 1 April 2009 which will combine the functions and resources of the former SG Marine Directorate, Fisheries Research Services and the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency. This management body has responsibility for marine science, planning, policy development, management and compliance monitoring measures.
2 March 2009 Debate in the Committee stage of the Bill continues with commitments from the Government for marine heritage.
The Marine and Coastal Access Bill is being keenly debated in its Committee Stage in the House of Lords. Last week’s debate on heritage and archaeology amendments probed the question of why there is no specific reference to marine archaeology in the draft Bill or to English Heritage as a statutory consultee. The heritage provisions in the M&CA Bill are all the more significant given the uncertain future for the Heritage Protection Bill, which would have introduced new measures for protecting the marine historic environment. As matters currently stand only historic wrecks have legal protection.
Baroness Hooper and Lords Howarth, Judd and Chorley have eloquently made the case for amending the Bill to include specific provisions for the heritage. Although Baroness Hooper’s amendment was withdrawn after a keen debate, it drew a commitment from Lord Davies on behalf of Government that the marine policy statement will indeed set out the Government’s policy on safeguarding the marine environment which will include cultural and historic marine heritage and that English Heritage will be consulted wherever aspects of the marine conservation zones and marine plan are developed that affect anything to do with our heritage at sea. The matter is likely to be returned to at a later stage in the Bill’s progress. The debate in the Lords will continue through to its Report stage towards the end of March.
You can read the full debate on Clause 52 in the House of Lords here:
- The Marine and Coastal Access Bill webpage on the Parliament website.
- Hansard column 36-43
- Hansard column 44-51
- Hansard column 52-58
The Scottish Marine Bill is also in preparation and the results of public consultation on this were debated in the Scottish Parliament on 26 February. A transcript of this debate can be read here.
At the State Opening of Parliament on 3 December, HM The Queen announced that the current Parliamentary session will include a Marine and Coastal Access Bill. The Bill received its first and second readings in the House of Lords on 4 and 15 December 2008:
‘A Bill to make provision in relation to marine functions and activities; to make provision about migratory and freshwater fish; to make provision for and in connection with the establishment of an English coastal walking route and of rights of access to land near the English coast; to enable the making of Assembly Measures in relation to Welsh coastal routes for recreational journeys and rights of access to land near the Welsh coast; to make further provision in relation to Natural England and the Countryside Council of Wales; to make provision in relation to works which are detrimental to navigation; to amend the Harbours Act 1964; and for connected purposes.’
The UK-wide Marine Bill White Paper, A Sea Change, was published on 15 March 2007 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This included important proposals for the management of the marine environment, including its cultural heritage, which complement those proposed for marine heritage assets in the Heritage White Paper. The Marine Bill White Paper proposals included:
- A new Marine Management Organisation to provide a holistic approach to marine management dealing with a range of functions including marine planning, licensing and enforcement;
- A new system of marine spatial planning;
- A streamlined marine licensing system;
- New mechanisms for marine conservation;
- Modernisation of marine fisheries management.
Read the CBA’s response. (PDF c105KB)
Read the CBA’s response on the Draft Bill.
As part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, a Joint Committee of both Houses conducted an inquiry on the Draft Marine Bill. Its report, published in July 2008, is available from the Parliament website.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee also undertook an examination of the coastal access aspects of the Draft Marine Bill. Its report is available.
- Government has responded to EFRA and Joint Committee recommendations on the draft Marine Bill.
Draft Guidance on Part 4 of the Draft Marine Bill, relating to Marine Conservation Zones, was published in May 2008.
The Draft Heritage Bill includes important new provisions for the protection of the marine heritage in English and Welsh waters. These are for the designation of marine heritage sites, their inclusion in the new statutory Register and for licensing of activities on such protected sites. Further details of the new Heritage Protection system are available here.
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