The UK Marine Policy Statement has been jointly published today by all UK Administrations as part of a new system of marine planning being introduced across UK seas.
Adopted by the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, the Marine Policy Statement will help achieve the shared UK vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.
The Marine Policy Statement will enable an appropriate and consistent approach to marine planning across UK waters, and ensure the sustainable use of marine resources and strategic management of marine activities from renewable energy to nature conservation, fishing, recreation and tourism.
Richard Benyon, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, said:
“The UK is leading the way worldwide in efforts to plan, protect and sustainably manage our marine environment and resources now and for future generations.
“We should plan and protect our seas as a valuable national asset as we do with our countryside. The Marine Policy Statement, jointly developed and adopted by all the UK Administrations, is a major milestone in ensuring an appropriate and consistent, UK-wide approach to managing our marine resources.
“The marine planning systems will allow us to strategically, and holistically manage our seas; integrating economic, social and environmental considerations, and engaging with communities to determine and shape the future.”
Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead said:
“This Policy Statement takes forward and embodies the positive co-operative approach to marine planning and management which is a hallmark of recent Scottish and UK marine legislation.
“We recognise the need for consistency where necessary in the dynamic marine environment. This Statement now forms the basis for joint working to develop a national marine plan for all of Scottish waters out to 200 nautical miles which will be relevant to all activity, including reserved activity.”
Welsh Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing Jane Davidson, said:
“I am delighted that all four UK administrations have worked so positively together to agree and adopt this UK wide Statement. We in Wales are now looking forward to preparing our first national marine plans over the next two years. These plans will build on the framework provided by the Marine Policy Statement to reflect the specific needs and interests of Wales”.
Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister, Edwin Poots said:
“Our seas are a precious resource; they are a way of life for many people. They provide important shipping lanes, unprecedented opportunities for the development of renewable energy and can accommodate the growth of leisure and recreational activities. All those elements can help to bolster our economy. They provide a livelihood for fishing communities and are home to rare and important marine life.
“This Marine Policy Statement paves the way for a completely new and strategic system of planning for our seas. Marine planning will help us to be proactive about the way in which we use and protect our marine resources.”
The UK Marine Policy Statement can be viewed at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/protect/planning/.
The UK Marine Policy Statement was revised following formal consultation between July-October 2010. Alongside the UK Marine Policy Statement published today are slightly revised versions of the Appraisal of Sustainability report; Impact Assessment, Habitats Regulations Assessment and an Equalities Impact Assessment Screening report. We have also published a Post Adoption Statement and a document summarising the differences between the draft consultation version of the UK Marine Policy Statement and the final adopted MPS. These documents can be found here http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/protect/planning/.
All public authorities taking authorisation or enforcement decisions that affect or might affect the UK marine area must do so in accordance with the UK Marine Policy Statement unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise. The Marine Policy Statement will also guide the development of Marine Plans across the UK.
In England marine planning is being administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The MMO will begin planning in the Eastern areas of England in April. Details on the Marine Management Organisation can be found at http://www.marinemanagement.org.uk/
The UK Marine Policy Statement draws from the UK High Level Marine Objectives which can be found at http://archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/documents/ourseas-2009update.pdf
In Wales, marine planning is being taken forward by the Welsh Assembly Government. For further information, including the consultation ‘Sustainable Development for Welsh seas: Our Approach to Marine Planning in Wales’, please visit http://wales.gov.uk/topics/environmentcountryside/consmanagement/marinefisheries/?lang=en
In Scotland, a pre-consultation version of a national marine plan has been issued for comment http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/seamanagement/national
In Northern Ireland, the Department of the Environment is bringing forward a Northern Ireland Marine Bill, which will enable the Department to carry out marine planning in the Northern Ireland inshore region, in addition to carrying out marine planning in the offshore region (under the Marine & Coastal Access Act). Further information is available at www.doeni.gov.uk/marine_planning