From November 1st a new act protects designated wrecks and sites from divers in United Kingdom waters and, in some cases, from UK divers in foreign waters.
There are two levels of protection offered by this Act: Protected Places (wrecked vessels or aircraft) and Controlled Sites.
Protected Places include the remains of any aircraft which crashed while in military service or any vessel designated (by name) which sank in military service after 4th August 1914. Diving is allowed at “Protected Places” but it is an offence to tamper with, damage, remove or unearth any remains or enter any hatch or other opening. This means that you can look but not touch. There are currently 36 designated vessels, sunk between 1916 and 1982. For the full list see http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20062616.htm.
Controlled Sites are specifically designated areas which encompass the remains of aircrafts or ships sunk or stranded in military service within the last two hundred years. Diving is prohibited these sites without a specific licence. For the list of controlled sites see http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20062616.htm.