The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA 2009) establishes a marine licensing and enforcement regime under which the Welsh Ministers are the appropriate licensing authority and enforcement authority. The majority of these licensing functions are delegated to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) pursuant to a delegation order made under section 98 of MCAA 2009, while the enforcement functions are retained by the Welsh Ministers. The Welsh Ministers' have the power to direct NRW in respect of delegated licensing functions. The Welsh Ministers' functions are limited to the Inshore Region and do not extend to petroleum and defence activities.
Whilst not strictly a marine regime, the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 extend to the Inshore Region. NRW is the determining and enforcement body for the purpose of environmental permitting in Wales, though the Welsh Ministers have the power to direct NRW; they can require that an application is referred to them for determination and have appellate functions. The Welsh Ministers also have the power to issue guidance.