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Marine and waterway transport

Senedd Cymru has legislative competence in relation to ports and harbours wholly in Wales with the exception of reserved trust ports. A number of matters relating to maritime transport in Wales are reserved under Schedule 7A to the Government of Wales Act 2006, specifically:

  • Navigational rights and freedoms.
  • Shipping and technical and safety standards of vessels that are not ships (whether or not capable of navigation), including the subject-matter of

a) section 2 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 (prohibition on approaching dangerous wrecks),

b) the Dangerous Vessels Act 1985, and

c) the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

  • Reserved trust ports and harbours not wholly in Wales.
  • Pilotage other than devolved pilotage.
  • Coastguard services and maritime search and rescue.
  • Hovercraft.

Subject to the reservations, Senedd Cymru may legislate, in particular, in relation to:

  • The regulation of works that may obstruct or endanger navigation apart from works in relation to, or for constructing, reserved  trust ports or harbours not wholly in Wales.
  • The participation by Welsh fire and rescue authorities in maritime search and rescue responses.
  • Financial assistance for shipping services to, from or within Wales.
  • The regulation of the carriage of animals on vessels for the purposes of protecting human, animal or plant health, animal welfare or the environment.

Executive functions in relation to harbours under the Harbours Act 1964 have been transferred to the Welsh Ministers. These reflect the legislative competence of Senedd Cymru and relate to the day to day governance of ports and harbours wholly in Wales (with the exception of reserved trust ports).

The Welsh Ministers have concurrent powers with the Secretary of State under section 17 of the Ministry of Transport Act 1919 to make grants or loans to any authority or person for the construction, improvement or maintenance of canals or inland navigations, transport services by water, harbours, docks or piers. Such powers can be exercised either by the Welsh Ministers or the Secretary of State.

Published on
Last updated
13 May 2021