Governance and marine spatial planning

The Pilot's review of regulatory responsibilities and procedures led us to a focus on the need for cross departmental oversight of marine spatial planning to achieve full collaboration of all Departments, administrations, agencies and adjacent countries to achieve cooperation in planning at the regional sea scale.
The UK land-based planning process combines national and regional policy guidance with detailed local plans. These plans combine the adoption of principles and presumptions which guide decision-taking, with land use zoning. This planning process does not apply in the marine environment beyond the immediate coast. In the marine environment, planning processes have developed in some sectors, e.g. in oil and gas exploration and production, but, while such plans have regard to the need to avoid impacts on other sectors, planning is not integrated across sectors.
The Pilot project commissioned David Tyldesley and Associates, in association with W.S. Atkins, to review the issue of coastal and marine spatial planning and to identify good practice principles. This report is available for download ( Tyldesley et al, 2004). In the light of Tyldesley's conclusions, the Pilot project is making recommendations as follows:
Pilot's recommendations on marine spatial planning
  1. Effective mechanisms are needed to implement marine spatial planning out to 200n miles. Mechanisms should include:
    i. the introduction of marine spatial planning as a statutory process involving national planning guidelines, strategic plans at Regional Sea level and more detailed local plans;
    ii. marine spatial planning should cover development and other sectoral activities both current and proposed;
    iii. marine spatial planning should adopt an ecosystem approach and seek to implement conservation and other sustainable development objectives;
    iv. placing duties on public bodies carry out their functions in accordance with the principles of sustainable development and to further the achievement of the conservation objectives included in the plans;
    v. consensus should be built internationally to develop effective planning and management policies at the Regional Sea scale.
  2. A Cabinet committee or other cross-departmental authority be established to take overall responsibility for strategic planning in the marine environment and to develop the necessary links with other countries to ensure complementary working at the Regional Sea scale.
  3. In the UK, Defra should take the lead in developing strategic plans for the Regional Seas in full consultation with other UK Government Departments and devolved administrations, and in liaison with relevant other countries.
  4. To the extent practicable, fisheries, mariculture, marine pollution and nature conservation should be overseen by a single Government Department.
  5. Following completion of the various reviews being undertaken by Government on regulatory procedures and on enforcement in the marine environment, existing responsibilities be reviewed and any necessary adjustment made.