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Marine Planning

Marine planning is a new approach to managing the sea. The system was introduced by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. It involves preparing plans that will guide decisions affecting marine areas.

UK Marine Policy Statement

The UK Marine Policy Statement was published in March 2011. It sets out general policies for sustainable development in the UK seas. It explains how authorities should go about preparing marine plans. It also sets the framework for taking decisions affecting the marine environment. It deals with environmental, social and economic considerations, and policies affecting different sectors such as fisheries and dredging.

Marine Plans

The sea around the UK is divided into marine areas. Over the years leading up to 2021, authorities will produce a marine plan for each area. The plans will set out policies for the sustainable development of each area. These will need to conform with the Marine Policy Statement unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise. The policies will guide decisions about activities that affect the sea.

Authorities have to consult the public about Marine Plans before they can adopt them.

  • The Marine Management Organisation is producing plans for English marine areas. Their website explains the process and how you can get involved.
  • The Welsh Government is producing the plan for the Welsh marine area.
  • The Scottish Government is preparing the plan for the Scottish marine area.
  • The Northern Ireland Executive is preparing the plans for Northern Ireland's waters.


Decisions about marine licences and other kinds of authorisations that affect the marine area will have to comply with the Marine Policy Statement and Plans unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise.


Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, Part 3

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