In response to the submissions from the RYA and other industry representatives the NI Executive have altered the wording of their draft Marine Bill such that socio-economic impacts, which include recreational boating must be taken into consideration when designating MCZs.
Caroline Price, RYA Planning & Environmental Advisor, comments.
'This is great news for recreational boating. The wording in the Marine and Coastal Access Act which applies to England and Wales states that socio-economic impacts 'may' be taken into consideration when designating MCZs - and we had to push hard to get that in.
For the NI Executive to amend their Bill wording to say that socio-economic impacts must be taken into consideration is fantastic. This should ensure that recreational boating will be considered from the outset when drafting proposals for MCZs rather than as a secondary process.
Of course we won't know for sure what the final wording of the Marine Act in NI will be until it receives Royal Assent (hopefully early in 2013) but this is a good indicator that the NI Executive are listening to their stakeholders. The RYA and RYANI will continue to provide input to the Bill as it completes its journey through the Assembly.'
The committee stage of the Northern Ireland Marine Bill was recently completed. The RYA together with the RYANI submitted comments to the NI Assembly Committee seeking to minimise deviation from the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
In particular we were keen to ensure that socio-economic impacts, which include recreational boating, would be taken into consideration in the designation of Marine Conservation Zones in NI waters.
More information on the NI Marine Bill