the management regime
Licensing under Protection of Wrecks Act 1973
For designated wreck sites, Historic Scotland currently issues visitor, survey, surface recovery and excavation licenses. Anyone can apply to Historic Scotland for a licence which will be issued if it will be of benefit to the care, understanding or public appreciation of the site. To apply for a licence, please:
- download an application form;
- contact Historic Scotland’s Scheduling, Marine and Battlefields Team if you require assistance;
- send your completed application form by post to the address given on the form;
- note that you will be informed of the results of your application in writing.
Transition to Historic Marine Protected Areas
Once the system of Historic MPAs has replaced designation under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, wrecks licenses will no longer be required.
What does Historic MPA designation mean for me?
- Historic MPA designation does not prevent public access – indeed responsible access, including non-intrusive surveys, is normally encouraged. However, you must not remove, alter or disturb marine historic assets or carry out works in the protected area which could cause damage to an asset, or have a significant impact on the area such that the ‘preservation objective’ for the area are hindered.
- Impacts from a wide range of works or activities subject to planning permission or marine licensing processes will be assessed by Historic Scotland in discussion with the relevant authority.
- Diving groups and archaeologists wishing to undertake intrusive archaeological investigations (for example excavation and recovery of objects) within Historic MPAs will need to apply for a marine licence and should make early contact with Marine Scotland’s Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT).
- Where there is a need to prohibit, restrict or regulate particular activities, for example access, this will be achieved through the use of Marine Conservation Orders, an additional statutory tool to further the preservation objectives of Historic MPAs.