WHILE THE UK’S MARINE AREAS have been subject to multiple use for many years, the situation in some areas is becoming increasingly complex, with competing and potentially conflicting demands for space.
For industry, this often results in uncertainty, delays and increased costs associated with marine developments and the delivery of the social benefits that they bring.
A formal system of marine planning must allow all legitimate marine activities and uses to be considered, guided by the national objectives and the associated policy framework.
Marine planning, as described in the Marine and Coastal Access Act, is part of broad changes to the planning system. There are two issues to tackle.
First comes the need to build a body of knowledge about the dynamics of the marine environment. Second, improving the planning system so that it is better informed, more efficient and delivers decisions more quickly.
There are important proposals within the Act that would simplify the consents and licensing system and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will have a critical role in ensuring that efficiencies are delivered.
Delivery will also depend upon adequate resourcing of the MMO.