WHAT IS MARINE PLANNING?
According to the Maritime Management Organisation (created by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009):
“Marine planning is a new approach to the management of our seas. The aim is to ensure a sustainable future for our coastal and offshore waters through managing and balancing the many activities, resources and assets in our marine environment” ….more (incl explanatory video)
Some idea of the complex web of activiies to be embraced by Marine Planning can be reached by looking at the StrategicScoping Report published by the MMO in August 2013.
MARINE PLANNING PORTAL
Planning decisions must be based on sound data, and the MMO is trying to develop the national dataset, though they freely concede that there is some way to go, and some anomalies and gaps still exist. However, the data is transparently available at the MMO Portal, a website that rewards study
CUMULATIVE EFFECTS OF PROJECTS
The original justification for the complexity and cost of marine planning was the assertion that there are so many activities taking place in or on the sea that marine planning is required to evaluate the competing interests. But so far there is little evidence that solutions to the scientific, and administrative problems of dealing with multiple (and sometimes competing) projects have been developed. In particular correctly assessing the cumulative effects of several projects on the environment and populations remains elusive. This has caused Solent Protection Society and others to demand an open discussion hoping to lead to agreed standards and or a code of practice. MMO have agreed to explore the possibility of holding local seminars on this topic. In the Solent, this could be organised by Solent Forum, and would be supported by Solent Protection Society.
JOIN IN THE DEBATE
There is no doubt that there will be consultation on many aspects of marine planning. These will seem remote from the day to day activities of Solent users. By joining us you can keep yourself informed, and where appropriate we will try to involve you directly so that your interests are protected. To get some idea of where consultation may take place, the MMO page on gathering evidence gives a good overview. If we do not express our views clearly and forceably, there is a risk that the marine plan will be developed without the interests of Solent users being properly integrate into the plan.