South coast announced as next area for marine planning
Recreational boating can co-exist with most other marine activities but there are circumstances that are not straightforward and it is essential that the MMO understand these.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has today (1 Aug) announced that the coast and seas from Dover to the River Dart in Devon will be the second area in England to benefit from marine planning.
Co-existence on busy waters
The MMO explains that marine plans will inform and guide marine users and regulators, managing the sustainable development of marine industries, such as wind farms, shipping, marine aggregates and fishing, alongside the need to conserve and protect marine species and habitats and recognise leisure uses too.
The marine economy is currently worth more than £47 billion annually to the UK, and has the potential to increase significantly. We are the first country in the world to plan across all marine activities, for all our territorial waters, and the plan areas announced today are two of the 10 in total to be delivered by the MMO in the next decade.
Steve Brooker, the MMO’s Head of Marine Planning, said: “England’s South Inshore and South Offshore marine areas were chosen for their wide range of marine activities that need to co-exist in these busy waters. These marine areas are identified as environmentally sensitive so it is vitally important that new activities are introduced in a sustainable way, ensuring that social, environmental and economic implications are considered together.
“As the demand for space increases, so will the need for use of our seas as a key resource. This is an ideal time for marine planning to begin in these areas, to ensure there is a clear framework for sustainable development. ”
The views of all those with an interest in the South marine areas are vital to the plan making process, and the next step will be speaking to as many people as possible affected by these plans. A guide on how to get involved will be published before plan-making officially starts in early 2013.
Navigational safety and 'squeeze'
Caroline Price RYA Environment and Planning Advisor commented: “ Work has been progressing on a marine plan for the east inshore and east offshore marine plan areas since April 2011 and is due for completion in December 2012. The RYA has been engaged at both the national and local level on marine planning since the Marine and Coastal Access Act came into force in 2009.
"Marine planning provides an opportunity to understand all the activities that are taking place in a marine area and how they interact with each other.
“The RYA has been closely involved in this process from the start to ensure that the importance of recreational boating around the coast is understood. Recreational boating can co-exist with most other marine activities quite happily but there are circumstances that are not so straightforward and it is essential that the MMO understand these. For example allowing commercial and recreational traffic to remain separated is important for navigational safety and the ‘squeeze’ effect of numerous offshore renewable energy developments can make this challenging, particularly on the east coast.’
“Planning for the south coast presents different challenges for recreational boaters not least because this is such a busy part of the UK for boating. The RYA will continue to work with the MMO to ensure that the interests of recreational boaters are represented and taken into account in the marine planning process.
“We look forward to working with our regional committees and affiliated clubs across the south to ensure the MMO have a full understanding of the level of activity in this marine plan area, and how best to plan for the future”.
The MMO is accountable to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman, who will approve each plan for consultation and adoption.
Article Published: August 01, 2012 11:11