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Marine Wildlife Protection Bill




Enable local authorities to prohibit the use of motorised marine leisure vessels in coastal areas for the purposes of protecting marine wildlife and promoting safety; and to make it an offence recklessly or intentionally to disturb marine wildlife.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

Motorised marine leisure vessels free zones.     1. - (1) A local authority may designate any coastal marine area within its jurisdiction as a motorised marine leisure vessels free zone for one or both of the purposes listed in subsection (2) below.
      (2) The purposes are-
    (a) to protect marine wildlife;
    (b) to safeguard human life.
      (3) A designation may be either-
    (a) temporary (in which case it shall be limited to a defined period of weeks, months or years, which may be coincident with the use of such an inshore area by migratory or transient wildlife); or
    (b) permanent, (in which case it shall be reviewed not less than once in any period of 3 years).
      (4) An area designated under this section shall be termed a motorised marine leisure vessels free zone and shall be-
    (a) defined with reference to clearly identifiable natural features or fixed buoys;
    (b) recorded on maps published by the local authority; and
    (c) clearly identified on weather resistant copies of such maps, which shall be placed at appropriate launch points and other sites suitable for public information together with an appropriate explanation of the purposes and meaning of the designation.
      (5) Where possible and appropriate a designation shall-
    (a) take into account other relevant plans which relate to the area involved;
    (b) be integrated into existing management plans;
    (c) have regard to the risk of displacing motorised leisure boat activity to adjacent sensitive parts of the coast or to neighbouring authorities;
    (d) ensure that the functions of any harbour authorities or other statutory undertakers are not prejudiced (except by agreement with the bodies concerned);
    (e) ensure that other powers to regulate given by Parliament under a Private Act or by other means are not prejudiced;
    (f) be made only after prior consultation on the feasibility of alternative schemes of management;
    (g) be made only after people or bodies with proprietorial interests have been identified and consulted where the designation may affect them;
    (h) not affect established rights except in unavoidable circumstances.
Byelaws.     2. - (1) A local authority may make byelaws for the proper use of any zone designated under this Act, including provision for the issue of fixed penalty notices for those contravening the provisions of such byelaws.
      (2) The confirming authority in relation to byelaws under this section shall be the Secretary of State.
      (3) A byelaw under this section may provide that persons contravening it shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1000 for each offence.
      (4) An appropriate local authority officer may issue a fixed penalty notice to any person who he has reasonable cause to suspect of committing an offence under a byelaw made under this section, but such a notice may be served only when-
    (a) he has shown the person on whom the notice is served a form of official identification; and
    (b) he has informed the person on whom the notice is served of the reasons for the penalty and the alternative of enforcement action through the courts.
      (5) An appropriate local authority officer may require a person who he believes may have committed an offence under a byelaw made under this section to provide the officer with his name and address.
      (6) It shall be an offence for a person who is required to give his name and address to an appropriate local authority officer for the purpose of enforcing a byelaw made under this section to refuse to do so or to give false information.
Amendment of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.     3. - (1) The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is amended as follows.
      (2) For subsection (4) of section 9 (protection of certain wild animals) substitute-
    "(4) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person-
    (a) intentionally damages or destroys, or obstructs access to, any structure or place which any wild animal included in Schedule 5 uses for shelter or protection;
    (b) intentionally disturbs any such animal while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for that purpose;
    (c) intentionally or recklessly disturbs any cetacean or basking shark in any location; or
    (d) intentionally or recklessly disturbs any sea bird within a breeding, moulting, roosting or feeding area where such birds congregate,
  he shall be guilty of an offence.".
      (3) After subsection (2) of section 10 (exceptions to section 9) insert-
    "(2A) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (4)(c) of section 9 a person shall not be guilty of an offence by reason of the disturbance of a cetacean or basking shark if he shows that his action was-
    (a) necessary to protect human health, the safety of a vessel or its cargo;
    (b) carried out for humane reasons; or
    (c) authorised by a licence under section 16.".
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