This page provides information about the flood and coastal erosion risk management in Northumberland.
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This note is designed to advise those wishing to undertake work around the coast with a summary of the different types of coastal consents that may be needed, additional factors to consider and links to more information.
The two main types of development consent required for coastal or marine works are:
Planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for infrastructure to the boundary jurisdiction of the local planning authority (LPA, Northumberland County Council). Generally, the seaward boundary is the Mean Low Water Mark (MLWM).
A Marine Licence under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 for works below mean high water springs (MHWS), which is assessed and issued by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
Depending on the environmental significance of the immediate and adjacent areas, a number of nature conservation consenting processes may also apply, even in cases where works are not deemed to be development requiring planning permission or a marine licence. Such consenting process might include:
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Consent under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which is issued by Natural England
Habitat Regulations Assessment required under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended 2012) if works have the potential to impact European protected sites.
The entire shoreline of Northumberland, except a small section around Lynemouth, has multiple SSSI, European and international nature conservation designations in place and the above statutory conservation consenting processes are also likely to apply.
To find out if the location of your proposed works is located within or may affect a designated site please see the following website:
Defra Magic Map
For developments taking place in the intertidal zone or across the land/sea boundary, for example a slipway, both planning permission and a Marine Licence will be required.
The planning, marine licensing and nature conservation consenting systems work independently of each other and are administered by Northumberland County Council, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Natural England respectively.
For all proposals it is advised that you discuss your proposal with your local SSSI advisor, planning officer and MMO officer for initial advice on the permissions that are likely to be required.
Permission should be sought from all landowners whose land will be affected either permanently, or temporarily during works.
The Crown Estate owns much of the foreshore and sea bed around the UK, between Mean High Water (MHW) and the 12 nautical mile territorial limit including the beds of many estuaries and tidal rivers. In general, the Crown Estate does not sell these areas but instead grant leases for works and activities occurring on owned foreshores and beds. If consent is required, a short application form will need to be completed and the application will take up to 4 weeks to process. For further information or clarification, email email@example.com
In Northumberland, however, many areas of the shore are under multiple land owners which include the National Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust and private owners. Those proposing development will need to identify the appropriate landowner and seek their permission.
It is also recommended that you consult your Town/Parish Council to inform them of the works.
Northumberland County Council Local Planning Authority
Marine Management Organisation
Natural England and SSSI Consents
Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, lead local flood authority are a designating authority.
We may designate certain structures or features for the purpose of flood and coastal risk management. A person may not alter, remove or replace a designated structure or feature without the consent.
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