South West Marine Plan

Information and documents on the development of the South West Marine Plan.

We have included below the latest information on process to develop the South West Marine Plan.

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South west marine plan areas

The south west marine plan areas includes the south west inshore and the south west offshore marine plan areas.

The south west inshore marine plan area covers an area of approximately 2,000 kilometres of coastline stretching from the River Severn border with Wales to the River Dart in Devon, taking in a total of over 16,000 square kilometres of sea.

The south west offshore marine plan area includes the marine area from 12 nautical miles extending out to the seaward limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a total of approximately 68,000 square kilometres of sea. You can see more details of the south west marine plan areas on our Marine Information System’s interactive map.

  1. Marine plan areas in England

Developing the plans

Marine plan development for the north west, north east, south west and south east areas follows an iterative process, from plan area selection to implementation and monitoring.

Have your say

Online engagement:

Our Iteration 2 online engagement will be open from Monday 29 January 2018 until Thursday 29 March 2018. This is the most comprehensive way to view and provide comment on our Iteration 2 products. Workshops:

We are holding further workshops in the south west marine plan areas in Spring 2018. These workshops will allow input into the options process and determine a preferred option. We need your views on preferred options and the emerging south west marine plan areas vision.


For each plan area, issues have been grouped with a number of options to address them. These may include: an existing policy or drafting a new policy to address the issue, signposting to existing legislation, or a response separate to the marine planning process.


A vision defines what is distinctive about marine plan areas and what the areas will look like after 20 years of marine plan implementation. By considering the issues and aspirations in an area the vision provides local context for marine plan preparation and policy development.

Causes and effects of issues:

In summer 2017 we assessed the causes and effects of issues to help us understand how marine plans might respond to issues. We checked our work on causes and effects through focused engagement with targeted stakeholder groups.

Iteration 1: Common policies and digital format:

In spring 2017 we engaged on our first products of the process that will lead to the development of the North East Marine Plan. We presented the current policy thinking for stakeholders to consider where issues were potentially addressed by existing policy and presented marine plan products in a digital format. You can view the engagement summary here.

Issues and evidence:

We held a call for issues with supporting evidence in 2016. The Issues Database is a summary of the issues gathered for the north east, north west, south east and south west marine plan areas. As part of this work, the issues have been categorised into ones that are ‘common ‘across two or more marine plan areas and those specific to the south west.

You can view all issues with supporting evidence for the south west marine plan areas here.


Marine plans place sustainability at the centre of all decisions.

Sustainability Appraisal

The Sustainability Appraisal provides an independent assessment of economic, social and environmental sustainability. The Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report is the first stage of the Sustainability Appraisal. It sets out what issues the appraisal will consider. This work has contributed to the identification of issues in the south west plan areas.

The Sustainability Appraisal contractors have completed the assessment of options for the South West marine plan. This assessment is informing the production of the next iteration of marine plans.

Habitats Regulation Assessment

Under the EC Habitats Directive, all marine plans must have a Habitats Regulation Assessment. The Habitats Regulation Assessment looks at what impact a plan could have on the objectives of a European conservation site. It includes:

  • pre-screening review
  • screening review
  • an appropriate assessment information report

We have completed the pre-screening review for the north east, north west, south east and south west marine plan areas. It has determined that an HRA is required and also has identified which European/Ramsar sites are to be screened into the assessment.

Using the marine plans

Until this marine plan is adopted you should use the Marine Policy Statement, which is the relevant policy document to be used when making decisions and proposals.

You should also consider the draft South Marine Plans as they border the south west marine plan areas.

  1. UK marine policy statement

Key documents

Published 10 May 2016
Last updated 6 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. South West sustainability appraisal options assessment report added
  2. Text updated
  3. Questionnaire launched
  4. Information on the development of the marine plan updated
  5. Statement of Public Participation published
  6. Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report published
  7. Call for issues with supporting evidence launched
  8. Issues and evidence workshops announced
  9. First published.