South Marine Plans

Information and documents on the development of the South Marine Plans

Consultation on the draft South Marine Plan is now closed. We are currently analysing your feedback and responses.

The South Marine Plan has been developed with stakeholders, providing a robust and evidence based plan that is tailored to the economic, environmental and social needs of the south marine plan areas.

The plan highlights the need for co-existence, provides guidance as to what activities should or should not take place, and sets out requirements for new activities and developments.

The plan consists of the Draft South Marine Plan – including the plan’s vision, objectives and policies and the Draft Technical Annex which provides more detail to each policy. Supporting documents include the Draft Sustainability Appraisal and the Draft Habitats Regulation Assessment.

You can download the draft documents below:

Draft South Marine Plan

  1. Draft South Marine Plan

    • Guidance

South marine plan area

The south marine area includes two plan areas, the south inshore and the south offshore marine plan areas.

The south inshore marine plan area covers an area of approximately 1,700 kilometres of coastline, stretching from Dover to the river Dart taking in over 11,000 square kilometres of sea.

The south offshore marine plan area includes the marine area from 12 nautical miles extending out to the seaward limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone, a total of approximately 10,000 square kilometres of sea.

  1. South marine plan areas map

    • Map

Developing the plan

The South Marine Plan has been developed in close partnership with local and national stakeholders from a range of backgrounds and sectors. Their involvement has been central to creating a robust, evidence based and local plan.

The plan has been developed following the marine planning process.

Have your say

The Statement of Public Participation (SPP) for the South Marine Plan was published in April 2013. It sets out how and when stakeholders can get involved in developing the South Marine Plan.

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.

We are asking for your views on the draft South Marine Plan. This is the final stage of public consultation before we submit the South Marine Plan to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for approval.

You can have your say here.

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 South Marine Plan we produced and published an issues and evidence report.

The South Plan Analytical Report (SPAR)summarises the evidence and issues for the south marine plan area. It has informed the next steps in the plan development process, supporting the development of a vision, objectives and policy options.


Marine plans place sustainability at the centre of all decisions.

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

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

We are asking for your views on the draft Sustainability Appraisal as part of consultation on the South Marine Plan.

The draft South Marine Plan Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulation Assessment are available here.

  1. South Marine Plan Sustainability Appraisal

    • Research and analysis
  2. South Marine Plan Habitats Regulations Assessment

    • Research and analysis

Using the plans

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

A marine plan becomes a statutory consideration in all relevant planning decisions once it is published for public consultation. This includes the draft South Marine Plan.

Once it is published for public consultation, the draft South Marine Plan must be used for 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 South Marine Plan through existing regulatory and decision-making processes.

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

To view the South Marine Plan policies you can use our Marine Information System or read the draft South Marine Plan


As the South Marine Plan is a 20 year plan, it is important that it is regularly assessed.

As with all marine plans, the South Marine Plan will be monitored and reviewed every three years, looking at the:

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

After each report marine plans may be reviewed to allow them to respond to change.

Published 7 November 2016
Last updated 1 February 2017 + show all updates
  1. Consultation on the draft South Marine Plan now closed
  2. First published.