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Planning and Environment Update

March 2020

Despite the current social distancing requirements, the day to day work of RYA Planning and Environment Officer, Richard Hill, continues.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is currently revising their marine plans for the draft North East, draft North West, draft South East and draft South West. Due to new working arrangements, the MMO has extended the deadline for comments to 20th April 2020. The plans set out the priorities and directions for development within a given area of the sea around the UK. It should establish the sustainable use of marine resources and help determine the best locations for activities.

These plans form the basis for licensing activities such as renewable energy developments, aquaculture, dredging, etc. which may impact upon our boating areas and activities. The RYA is currently drafting a response. Our objective is to ensure that the plans protect and provide safe boating areas, with good environmental quality, for recreation and water sports.

Natural England have recently published draft Marine Conservation Advice Packages for nine Marine Protected Areas (MPA). The packages guide the management of the MPAs in English waters. These packages follow the recent designation of the Solent and Dorset Coast Special Protection Area (SPA) and the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast SPA. The RYA will comment upon the Natural England consultation (Conservation Advice for Marine Protected Areas: guidance and supporting material), whilst providing advice to members on the implications and benefits of these designations.

Our day to day response to marine licence applications continues at pace. Recent applications include a range of proposals: from constructing barrier fencing along a foreshore at Hilbre Island (MLA/2020/00094), to siting of pontoons on the River Wear (MLA/2020/00068) and undertaking maintenance dredging on the Tyne (MLA/2016/00234/4).

One application, the Morlais Project (ORML 1937) to Natural Resources Wales has raised concerns for the precedent it may set. Rather than accept maritime safety recommendations, developers are continuing to propose a narrow navigation channel between the coast of Anglesey and a proposed site for tidal energy structures. The justification being that maritime safety improvements would threaten the viability of the project. The RYA maintain the position that safeguarding marine users should always take priority. There is due to be another round of consultation in the near future.

If you have any questions about planning and environment matters, please contact Richard:


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