East Marine Plans

Information and documents on the development of the East Marine Plans

The East Marine Plans

The East Marine Plans were published on 2 April 2014. You can download or read the East Marine Inshore and Offshore Marine Plans here.

You can also use our Marine Information System to understand and use the plan policies.

East marine plan areas

The East Inshore Marine Plan area covers 6,000 square kilometres of sea. It stretches from mean high water springs to 12 nautical miles offshore off the coastline between Flamborough Head and Felixstowe.

The East Offshore Marine Plan area extends from the outer boundary of the East Inshore area to England’s borders with the Netherlands, Belgium and France. This is a total of about 49,000 square kilometres of sea.

  1. East marine plan areas map

Using the plans

As with land-use planning, marine planning is a statutory requirement.

Marine plans must be used in all planning decisions for the sea, coast, estuaries and tidal waters (which sometimes extend a long distance inland), as well as developments that impact these areas, such as infrastructure. All public authorities are responsible for implementing the East Marine Plans through existing regulatory and decision-making processes.

As well as public authorities, all applicants, third parties and advisors should also consider the East Marine Plans. Proposals should conform with all relevant policies, taking account of economic, environmental and social considerations.

To view the East Marine Plan policies you can use our Marine Information System or read the full East Marine Plans.

Monitoring and review

The first three year review of the East Marine Plan is now available.

You can read the report here or download the report below.

The East Marine Plans are 20 year plans, so it is important that they are regularly assessed.

As with all marine plans, the East Marine Plans are monitored and reviewed every three years, looking at:

  • the effects of policies in the marine plan
  • the effectiveness of those policies in securing plan objectives
  • the progress towards achieving any objectives set out for that region in a marine plan and the Marine Policy Statement

Based on this review, the MMO has concluded that there is no reason to amend or replace the East Marine Plans at this time and Defra has agreed that recommendation. The next formal review of the East Marine Plans is due in 2020. MMO will continue to monitor the plans in the meantime for any significant changes that may bring forward the need for earlier amendment of the East Marine Plans.

Details of how the East Marine Plans are monitored are included in the Implementation and Monitoring Plan.

  1. East Marine Plans
  2. East Marine Plans Implementation and Monitoring Plan
  3. Marine planning: East Marine Plans three-year progress report
  4. Marine planning: a guide for local councils

Developing the plans

The development of the East Marine Plans followed a 12 stage process, from plan area selection to implementation and monitoring. It included:

Choosing a plan area

The decision to choose the east marine plan areas for the first English marine plans was based on based on seven decision streams that were examined collectively with the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Have your say

The Statement of Public Participation (SPP) set out engagement during the development of the East Marine Plans. The SPP helps ensure that the marine planning process is transparent, and that stakeholders understand how they can be involved and influence a marine plan’s development.

The Statement of Public Participation (SPP) for the East Marine Plans was revised in July 2013 with Secretary of State approval. The SPP was originally published in April 2011 and a second version was published in May 2012.

More information on how the SPP was developed, and copies of the 2011 and 2012 versions of the reports, is available on The National Archives including consultation responses.

Issues and evidence

Understanding the opportunities and challenges for the marine plan areas is critical to developing meaningful and tailored marine plans.

As part of the development of the East Marine Plans we produced and published an Evidence and Issues report. The report identifies key issues for the east marine plan areas and supporting evidence. It informed the next steps in the plan development process (generating objectives and options) and also met the requirements for scoping for the Sustainability Appraisal.

We also undertook a number of specific research projects. This included a seascape assessment.


Marine plans place sustainability at the centre of all decisions.

The Sustainability Appraisal provides an independent assessment of economic, social and environmental sustainability.

As part of ensuring the marine plans are sustainable, we also undertook a Habitats Regulation Assessment.

  1. East Marine Plans Sustainability Appraisal
  2. East Marine Plan - Habitats Regulations Assessment
Published 13 September 2016
Last updated 3 April 2017 + show all updates
  1. East Marine Plan, three year review published
  2. Added the three-year progress report on the East Marine Plans.
  3. Tagging added
  4. New feedback questionnaire on East Marine Plans
  5. First published.