This page is to act as guidance for the laws that apply in and around the UK.
It is also worth referring to the NAS Statement of Principles, which outlines the policy of the Rules of the Annex to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001 – particularly useful when determining applications for licences, consents etc.
Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 - Marine licensing
A joint statement from the Marine Management Organisation and Historic England, November 2015 - click here.
Marine Licensing Exemptions for Archaeology May 2015 - full report and Appendix II - for more details click here.
New Update - NAS response May 2013
NAS response January 2013
New release from English Heritage - 'Marine Licensing and Underwater and Foreshore Archaeology' December 2012
England – NAS interim statement July 2011
Scotland – NAS interim statement
Wales – NAS interim statement
Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
Marine Conservation Zones
NAS interim statement
Historic Environment Projects and Activities within Marine Conservation Zones - Historic England report 2017
More information on MCZs from Defra
UNESCO Convention on The Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001
Visit the UNESCO website
Although the United Kingdom has not ratified the Convention, it has adopted Rules of the Annex to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001.
UNESCO has also adopted a “Code of Ethics for Diving on Submerged Archaeological Sites”
Marine Antiquities Scheme
Further information on UK Statutory Legislation: