South Inshore and South Offshore marine plan areas

Details of the process and documents about making the South Inshore and South Offshore Marine Plans.

The South Inshore and South Offshore areas are the third and fourth areas in England to be selected for marine planning.


The South Inshore Marine Plan Area includes a coastline that stretches from Folkestone to the River Dart.

Download a high resolution version of the map.

1. Select plan area

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) considered 7 things when selecting the third and fourth marine plan areas. These looked at:

  • stakeholder engagement in the plan areas
  • coastal stakeholder partnerships
  • a technical report of economic, environmental and social information
  • current and proposed marine protected areas
  • future pressures and their implications
  • implications of planning inshore and offshore together
  • implications of planning with bordering nations

The South marine plan areas were favoured because they:

  • benefitted from a greater number of marine planning-related projects
  • showed high levels of economic human activity
  • tended towards the poorest environmental status or declining condition
  • were able to plan inshore and offshore areas together

They also had:

  • 10 coastal stakeholder partnerships
  • a high percentage of surveyed seabed
  • no border with a UK devolved administration
  • significant shell fisheries
  • a significant number of major ports, and a high level of shipping density in the English channel
  • a high proportion of marine protected areas
  • significant tourism and recreation, including a high level of marinas and boat-based activities

Read the ‘Decision on third and fourth marine plan areas’.

2. How and when interested people will be involved

The Statement of Public Participation (SPP) was approved by the Secretary of State in April 2013. A first revision to the SPP was published in February 2015. The SPP sets out:

  • the process for plan making in the South marine plan areas
  • how and when interested people can get involved
  • an overall timeline for plan-making in the South plan areas

3 and 4. Initial preparation (identify issues and gather evidence)

Marine planning officially started in the South areas in April 2013 although work on them (such as evidence gathering) began in late 2012.

The draft scoping report is the first stage in the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) process, where the South marine plans are independently assessed to how they deliver sustainable development.

The scoping report identifies the sustainably issues that are to be included (or excluded) from the SA, such as Communities, Health and Wellbeing, Marine Ecology and Cultural Heritage. It also sets out the relevant policies and establishes the baseline of the appraisal in relation to these topics.

Consultation on the Scoping report ran for 5 weeks and closed on 2 January 2015. The MMO would like to thank all those who have commented; the report published here reflects the comments made as a result of this consultation.

Final sustainability appraisal scoping report (PDF, 8.19 MB, 193 pages)

The draft South Plans Analytical Report (SPAR) summarises the evidence and issues for the plan areas. It will inform the process of generating a vision, objectives and options for the plan area.

MMO held a formal consultation on the SPAR which closed on Friday 1 November 2013. At the beginning of October 2013 the MMO held evidence and issues workshops that were attended by almost 300 people.

The pre-screening report for the Habitats Regulations Assessment for the South marine plans (PDF, 4.19 MB, 98 pages) presents the findings from the initial ‘Pre-Screening’ phase of the HRA process and outlines the work required to deliver a Habitat Regulations Assessment for the South marine plans.

The pre-screening phase identified a total of 293 European/Ramsar sites by using a 100km buffer zone around the South marine plan areas. The 293 sites comprise of: 64 SPAs; 188 SACs/cSACs/SCIs; 33 Ramsar sites and 8 compensatory (managed realignment) sites.

5. Agree vision and objectives

MMO consulted on the Draft Vision and Objectives for the South Inshore and South Offshore Marine Plan Areas (PDF, 1.06 MB, 36 pages) in July 2014 and the Draft Vision and Objectives for the South Inshore and Offshore Marine Plan Areas Consultation Summary (PDF, 519 KB, 20 pages) is now available.

6. Options

The options process focuses on the consideration of different ways of achieving the draft plan objectives and vision, to make sure that the choices made and their implications have been considered.

Between 3 February and 4 March 2015 the MMO consulted on the draft Options report (PDF, 1.99 MB, 93 pages) and supporting documentation included Options map annex (PDF, 1.13 MB, 12 pages) and Options policies (PDF, 69 KB, 32 pages) Options policies (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 2.35 MB).

Following this consultation period we have produced the South marine plan areas options consultation summary (PDF, 643 KB, 13 pages)

7. Future steps

The plans will then be developed following the steps summarised in ‘How a marine plan is made’.

MMO expects to release a consultation draft of the marine plans for formal representations in winter 2015 to 2016.

Further information

General information about marine planning in England and how a marine plan is made

Marine planning in the East Inshore and East Offshore marine plan areas

Contact information

Marine Planning Team

Telephone: 0208 0265 325

Published 11 June 2014
Last updated 25 March 2015 + show all updates
  1. South marine plan areas options consultation summary added and options text changed

  2. Final Sustainability Appraisal report added

  3. Draft sustainability appraisal scoping report added

  4. Options polices spreadsheet and PDF updated

  5. Options policies spreadsheet and PDF updated

  6. Options policies spreadsheet updated

  7. Revision to The Statement of Public Participation published February 2015.

  8. Information on consultation on draft plan options added

  9. Information added regarding consultation on draft Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report for the South Inshore and South Offshore Marine Plans

  10. Draft Vison and Objectives for the South Inshore and Offshore Marine Plan Areas and consultation summary added

  11. First published.