Harbour authorities—duties and powers
Produced in partnership with Nicola Canty, Barrister of 9 Hazel Tree Chambers
Harbour authorities—duties and powers

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with Nicola Canty, Barrister of 9 Hazel Tree Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Harbour authorities—duties and powers
  • Brexit impact
  • Duties and powers

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see: Brexit—impact on environmental law and Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

Duties and powers

Harbour authorities

A harbour authority is an independent self-governing body that is responsible for safely managing and efficiently running a harbour.

Most harbours are administered by statutory harbour authorities (SHAs), empowered and governed by local legislation which is generally tailored to the particular requirements of the harbour in question.

There are various definitions according to different legislation.

Section 313 of Merchant Shipping Act 1995 (MSA 1995) defines 'harbour authority' as including all persons entrusted with the function of constructing, improving, managing, regulating, maintaining or lighting a harbour:

'"harbour authority" means, in relation to a harbour—

  1. (a) the person who is the statutory harbour authority for the harbour, or

  2. (b) if there is no statutory harbour authority for the harbour, the person (if any) who is the proprietor of the harbour or who is entrusted with the function of managing, maintaining or improving the harbour'

A 'competent harbour authority' is a harbour authority which has statutory