Planning and development – press release

Marine milestone for England's seas

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The first ever plans for the future of the seas around England have been published.

England’s first ever plans for the future of our seas have been published today (2 April 2014).

The marine plans – which provide much-needed guidance for sustainable development in English waters – cover the coast and seas from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe.

They have been developed by the Marine Management Organisation on behalf of the Secretary of State Owen Paterson, who has formally approved the plans.

An interactive tool explaining how marine plans affect your area also goes live today (2 April) – the Marine Information System.

Marine plans will inform and guide decisions on development in marine and coastal areas, while conserving and enhancing the environment and recognising leisure uses too.

This should reduce costs and increase certainty for developers, boosting economic and employment benefits for coastal communities and beyond.

The first two plans cover the East inshore and offshore areas, with a total of 11 plans covering all English waters anticipated by 2021.Our seas have become increasingly busy, with industries such as oil and gas, wind farms, shipping, aggregates and fishing competing for space with each other and with nature. The marine economy is currently worth more than £49 billion a year and has the potential to grow significantly.

Environment Minister George Eustice said:

UK seas are home to one of the richest marine environments in the world and are currently worth more than £49 billion a year to our economy.

We are making sure that environmental considerations are embedded in every decision about proposed developments along the coast from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe and in our seas out to the maritime borders with the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

By 2021, marine plans will cover the entire English marine area, supporting an estimated £50 million of economic benefit each year and helping to promote sustainable development of the marine area.

MMO Chief Executive James Cross added:

These plans are the culmination of years of work by government, industry, environmental organisations and many others.

We are delighted to be at the forefront of sustainable marine development, cutting red tape for developers while taking full account of social and environmental impacts.

The UK has one of the richest marine environments in the world, with more than 8,000 species recorded in our seas.

Plans will take full account of marine protected areas, recognising the wealth of species and habitats in our seas

Notes to editors

The Marine Information System is an interactive tool to understand how the East marine plans apply to different marine sectors and geographic areas. It will highlight policies that apply to a chosen area to inform plan users, and mapping information makes searching for your area of interest easier.

Experience from developing the East marine plans is already informing the approach to the next two marine plans in the South – from Folkestone to the River Dart in Devon – including expanding the evidence base.

More information on marine planning.

View our short animation film on marine planning.

Follow us on Twitter @The_MMO

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