Agreement aims to cut red tape for coastal developments

An agreement intended to cut red tape for port developers and marina companies by providing a framework within which the separate processes for the consenting of coastal developments in England can be better coordinated has been launched by ministers.

Ports: agreement aims to cut red tape for coastal developments (picture: Associated British Ports)
Ports: agreement aims to cut red tape for coastal developments (picture: Associated British Ports)
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that the "coastal concordat" agreement "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

The concordat is an agreement between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, the Marine Management Organisation, the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Local Government Association’s Coastal Special Interest Group and National Parks England.

In a statement, the business department said that the concordat is based on five principles aimed at ensuring that:
  • Applicants seeking regulatory approval will be provided with a single point of entry into the regulatory system, guiding them to the organisations responsible for the consents, permissions and licences they need
  • Regulators will agree a single lead authority for coordinating the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive or Habitats Regulations Assessments
  • Regulators will dispense or defer regulatory responsibilities where legally possible and appropriate
  • Competent authorities and statutory advisers will agree up front the likely environmental and habitats assessment evidence requirements for a project
  • Regulators and statutory advisors will provide coordinated advice for applicants.
Business minister Michael Fallon said: "Overlaps between land-based and marine planning regime requirements can cause confusion, costs and delays for business. A single company told us that delays to approvals had increased their direct costs by as much as £1 million, putting at risk around 2,000 jobs.

"UK ports face serious competition from overseas ports. Today sends a clear signal that our ports are open for business and that we are determined to continue attracting the important jobs and investment ports generate here."

The Coastal Concordat is available here.

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