Harbour Revision, Empowerment & Closure Orders

Drafting and amending harbour revision orders for UK ports & harbours efficiently and effectively.

The majority of operational ports and harbours in the UK are run by statutory harbour authorities or "SHAs". SHAs powers come from both local and national legislation. Amending existing powers, creating a new SHA or closing a statutory harbour requires a Harbour Order. We draft Harbour Orders - including Harbour Revision Orders, Harbour Empowerment Orders and Harbour Closure Orders;  and lead the application process. 

If an SHA wishes to amend its statutory harbour powers, introduce new ones or remove those which have become outdated it will need to apply to the relevant regulator. 

The relevant regulators are:

  • Marine Management Organisation for ports / harbours in England (and reserved trust ports in Wales)
  • Transport Scotland for ports / harbours in Scotland
  • Welsh Ministers (via the Ports Policy Team or the Planning Inspectorate) for non-reserved ports in Wales

A Harbour Order may be either a 'works' Order - i.e., it authorises development works, or a 'non-works' Order -it relates only to the harbour authority's non-works-related powers or constitutional / administrative provisions.

Each regulator’s powers to make Harbour Orders originates from the Harbours Act 1964. There are three types of Orders:

  • Section 14, 15 & 15A: Harbour Revision Orders
  • Section 16: Harbour Empowerment Orders
  • Section 18: Harbour Reorganisation Schemes

In addition, the Marine Navigation Act 2013 amended the Harbours Act 1964 and introduced Harbour Closure Orders, to enable statutory harbour authorities to make applications to request the removal of the statutory harbour powers and effective 'closure' of a statutory harbour which is no longer commercially viable or necessary. The 'closure' of the harbour does not necessarily mean that it will no longer be used for marine purposes, simply that it will not be run by an SHA.  It may, for example become a private marina and the land around the harbour used for development. In England, Harbour Closure Order applications are made to the Department of Transport, rather than the Marine Management Organisation.

A similar regime operates in Northern Ireland under the Harbours Act (Northern Ireland) 1970, administered by the Department for Infrastructure. 

We act in respect of Harbour Order applications in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Our Harbour Revision, Empowerment and Closure Orders experience

  • Harbour Revision and Harbour Empowerment Orders: Instructed in relation to over 25 Harbour Order applications in 2023 (including drafting).
  • Acting in relation to the St Ives (G7) Harbour Revision Order 2021 and Clydeport (COP 26 etc.) Harbour Revision Order 2021 to enable national security arrangements for world leaders and other attendees at the G7 and COP 26 summits.
  • Acting and advising Cornwall Council in relation to a Harbour Revision Order and a Harbour Empowerment Order to consolidate and modernise the local harbour legislation applying to seven statutory harbours and three non-statutory harbours to ensure they are all governed by the same statutory powers in the future and pooling of funds is permitted.
  • Advising in respect of an EIA works-Harbour Order and associated consents connected to a multi-million pound development. 

Get in touch

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Our team will be responsive and accessible – a valued partner ready to assist you every step of the way.

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