encourage local communities to be involved in planning
make the most of growth and job opportunities
consider the environment from the start
enable sustainable development in the marine area
integrate with planning on land
save time and money for investors and developers by giving clear guidance on things to consider or avoid
encourage shared use of busy areas to benefit as many industries as possible
encourage developments that consider wildlife and the natural environment
A marine plan:
sets out priorities and directions for future development within the plan area
informs sustainable use of marine resources
helps marine users understand the best locations for their activities, including where new developments may be appropriate.
A marine plan also provides guidance on things to promote or avoid for some locations. They could also support an activity that is important to you.
Marine plans guide those who use and regulate the marine area to encourage sustainable development while considering the environment, economy and society. Marine plans apply only in their area, but if a proposed activity may affect the plan area, this should be acknowledged and considered in the application and decision making.
When you apply for a licence or approval you’ll need to show how you have considered an adopted marine plan or the Marine Policy Statement (MPS). You should explain how the marine plan supports your activity and explain how your project will contribute to achieving objectives in the marine plan.
If you are making an application in an area with a draft plan, the draft marine plan must be considered, but it is not a determining factor.
The Explore Marine Plans interactive service enables users to view data and policy information spatially to support applications for activities in and around the sea.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is responsible for preparing marine plans in England. See details of the exact function of MMO and the scope of its powers in relation to marine planning, as agreed by the Secretary of State in 2010.
Each of the 11 marine plan areas will have a marine plan with a long-term (20 years) view of activities and will be reviewed every 3 years. There will be 10 marine plans as the North West will have a single plan following requests to have a single process and one plan for these areas.
All marine plan areas are scheduled to have a plan by 2021.
Where there is no marine plan in place, the MPS sets the direction for decisions that affect the marine areas, such as granting licences for all public bodies. A public body must explain any decision made that is not in line with an adopted plan or the MPS. See ‘Marine planning: A guide for local authority planners’.
Exceptions do exist. For example, a relevant national policy statement carries greater weight so any decision must be in line with that rather than a marine plan or MPS.
‘A description of the marine planning system for England’ describes the marine planning system.
The ‘Strategic Scoping Report for marine planning in England’ identifies natural resources and activities in the marine area of England. It gives a national picture of how activities, resources and ecosystems vary across each of England’s 11 marine plan areas, so we can understand the specific characteristics of each and make plans that take into account the needs of the country as a whole.
The socio-economic study helps marine planners, developers, local councils and others with an interest in sustainable development in the marine area to understand various issues affecting coastal communities. It takes a national view of the socio-economic factors currently driving coastal communities in England, from planned developments to tourism, and then looks in more detail at the East of England – the area where the first 2 marine plans were being developed (at the time).