Harbour Moorings

Marine Policy

Policies created for a marine environment growing in use.

Sailing in the bay

Marine Planning

Use of the marine environment is growing for more and more activities as more people use the sea for recreation, transport and energy production. To ensure this use is managed sustainably and key marine habitats are maintained and improved the Marine and Coastal Access Act received royal ascent in 2009.

This Act enables the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to perform various roles to ensure the sustainable development of the UK marine area. These roles include marine planning, licencing and regulating activities.

The Act established the need for regional plans for inshore and offshore areas around the UK Coast. The plan relevant to Falmouth Harbour is the South West Marine Plan. For more information and to view the South West Marine Plan please click here.

The plan includes a series of policies encompassing sustainability criteria including social, economic and environmental considerations. The SW marine plan was fully adopted in summer 2021.

A marine licence

A marine licence is required for some activities carried out within the marine environment including construction, dredging, deposit and / or removal of any substance or object. The MMO offer a ‘Do I need a marine licence tool’ which is useful. The SW Marine plan is a material consideration for all marine licence applications.

Falmouth Harbour are a statutory consultee on any marine licence application in our waters so it may be worth getting in touch prior to submitting your licence application. We will consider things like safety of navigation and relevant policies that make up the SW Marine plan when making a response. As a harbour authority we have a responsibility under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (Section 58(3)) to have regard to the appropriate marine policy documents when taking decisions which relate to the exercise of any function capable of affecting the whole or any park of the UK Marine area.

If you require any further information on this, please do contact us.

Dinghy sailing

Designated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Falmouth Harbour contains and is near to a number of environmentally protected areas that are part of an ecological network of areas called Marine Protected Areas, set up to ensure the survival of Europe’s most valuable species and habitats under the Habitats Regulations and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

Fal & Helford Special Area of Conservation

Much of Falmouth Harbours’ waters are within the Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in accordance with the Habitats Regulations. This is a legal designation aimed to protect the environment. The Fal and Helford SAC was designated in 2005, it has 7 qualifying features including Salt Marsh meadows, Estuaries, Reefs and Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time.
Falmouth Harbour is a member of the SAC Management Forum, a group of Relevant Authorities meeting regularly to discuss issues affecting the management of the SAC. Falmouth Harbour is committed to working in partnership through the SAC Management Forum to achieve the conservation objectives.

Helford Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)

The Helford MCZ is in place to protect the native oyster. Further information is available here.

Falmouth Bay to St Austell Bay Special Protection Area

There is a Special Protection Area (SPA) in the marine area from St Austell to Falmouth Bay, this is to protect 3 species of overwintering birds from October to March. The species under protection are the Black-throated diver, Great northern diver and Slavonian grebe. Further information on the SPA can be found here.

Manacles Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)

To the South of our Harbour Limits, is the Manacles Marine Conservation Zone. Further information is available here.

Viewing Falmouth Harbour

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

The Cornwall AONB was designated in 1959. It is made up on 12 sections. There are two AONBs next to Falmouth Harbours’ area South Coast – Central and Western. Further information on these sites and others around Cornwall are available here.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

There are a number of SSSI sites that border our waters. Most notably is the SSSI that covers the pool at Swanpool. Further information on local SSSIs can be found on the designated sites section of the Natural England website here.


Falmouth Harbour from the air