Sustainable development and the sea

Marine Management

WHAT HAS LONG BEEN NEEDED is joined-up thinking – an integrated approach to planning, managing and protecting our seas. We welcome the Government’s recognition of the need for change in terms of policy, planning and licensing; and its belief that the new system can be achieved while holding firm to the principles of sustainable development.

We are committed to working with Government and other stakeholders to ensure that the Act makes a significant contribution by putting in place cost-effective regulation and marine management that benefits both business and the environment.

Our priorities

  • A future for our seas based on sustainable development
  • Clear objectives covering economic and social, as well as environmental needs
  • An integrated approach to planning, management and protection
  • Cost-effective regulation and management
  • Planning decisions based on science and knowledge
  • Robust mechanisms for high level resolution of problems
  • Consistency from the devolved administrations
  • Transitional arrangements while the new framework is put in place.

The development of a UK Marine Policy Statement to define priorities under the umbrella of sustainable development is essential. It is, however, inevitable that issues will arise and it is equally important that the new legislation includes robust mechanisms designed to resolve them.

The objectives of the Act must be clearly stated in tangible terms that allow clear, objective and deliverable goals to be set by Government and the regulators who enforce legislation. These objectives and goals must address economic and social as well as environmental needs, so properly reflecting the sustainable use of UK seas.

Joined-up thinking necessitates a common approach from the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that may be difficult to achieve. The benefits would, however, be considerable and it is essential that the administrations deliver the same consistency in marine management when overlaying their own local requirements.

We recognise that the changes to be delivered through the Marine Act will inevitably take some time to be developed and implemented. It is, therefore, essential that the arrangements for the transitional period are clarified to ensure that ongoing marine development and operations do not grind to a halt while new policies, plans and licensing arrangements evolve.