Helping you understand Welsh law

Maritime transport in Wales

The National Assembly does not have legislative competence in relation to shipping apart from in respect of financial assistance for shipping services to, from or within Wales, and the regulation of use of vessels carrying animals for the purposes of protecting human, animal or plant health, animal welfare or the environment (see the exceptions listed under paragraph 10 of Part 1 of Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006).

The National Assembly does not have legislative competence to pass laws about navigational rights and freedoms, except for the purpose of regulating works which may obstruct or endanger navigation.

The National Assembly cannot pass laws in relation to harbours, docks, piers and boat slips, except for in relation to those used or required wholly or mainly for the fishing industry, for recreation, or for communication between places in Wales; and except for the purpose of making regulations to protect human, animal or plant health, animal welfare or the environment.

Certain executive functions in relation to fishery harbours under the Harbours Act 1964 have been transferred to the Welsh Ministers.  Under sections 14 and 15A of that Act, the Welsh Ministers may make orders securing harbour efficiency and in relation to the appointment of Port Authority members.  They may make harbour empowerment orders relating to the improvement and construction of harbours under section 16 of that Act, and may amend local acts relating to harbours that are inconsistent with the Harbours Act 1964 under section 60.

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.

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