Advice and Support

Marine consent

Find out how we advise on looking after Historic Marine Protected Areas, including our role in assessing the impacts of works subject to consent processes.

Historic Environment Scotland provides advice on looking after all Historic Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scottish territorial waters. This helps public authorities and sea-users to play a positive role in supporting the preservation objectives for these important areas.

Public authorities

Public authorities with functions that could adversely affect marine historic assets should carry out their duties – for example, preparing plans and strategies or issuing consents – in a way that respects the preservation objectives for Historic MPAs.

Works and activities subject to consenting processes

Impacts on a Historic MPA and its immediate surrounds from a wide range of works and activities that are subject to consent processes (e.g. planning permission, marine licensing or Crown Estate seabed leases) will be assessed by Historic Environment Scotland in discussion with the relevant public authority.

Diving and archaeological investigations

The public can access Historic MPAs – in fact, responsible access is usually encouraged. But it is against the law to remove, alter or disturb marine historic assets within a Historic MPA without permission.

Local diving groups and archaeologists in particular can play a positive role in helping to investigate and monitor the condition of marine historic assets within Historic MPAs. Those wishing to conduct intrusive archaeological investigations must apply for a marine licence and should make early contact with Marine Scotland’s Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT).

Marine conservation orders and fisheries regulations

The Scottish Parliament can legislate on marine conservation orders where there’s a need to prohibit, restrict or regulate particular activities within a Historic MPA.

If there’s a need to restrict or prohibit particular types of fishing activity in the area, we can do this via existing fisheries legislation.

Historic Environment Scotland advice

Regulators, developers and sea-users can use our operational advice to help work out how particular activities may or may not impact on Historic MPAs.

Download Scotland's Historic Marine Protected Areas guidelines

Download Scotland's Historic Marine Protected Areas (available in English and Gaelic)    

Contact us

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact us by telephone on 0131 668 8600 or email us at

Contact Marine Scotland

Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team
PO Box 101
375 Victoria Road
AB11 9DB

Telephone: 01224 295579