Marine Plan for Northern Ireland

The Marine Plan for Northern Ireland will inform and guide the regulation, management, use and protection of our marine area.

Public authorities taking authorisation or enforcement decisions, which affect or might affect the marine area, must do so in line with marine policy documents, such as Marine Plans and the Marine Policy Statement (MPS), unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise. A public authority must explain any decision not made in line with an adopted plan or the MPS.


The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 introduced a new marine planning system for the UK and established marine planning in Northern Ireland’s offshore region (beyond 12 nautical miles). The Marine Act (Northern Ireland) 2013 builds on the provisions set out in the 2009 Act by establishing a strategic system of marine planning in Northern Ireland’s inshore region (0-12 nautical miles).

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is responsible for preparing marine plans in Northern Ireland.

Marine plans contribute to the implementation of the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive. This Directive requires marine plans to be completed by 31 March 2021. Further information is available on the EU Maritime spatial planning webpage.


DAERA is currently developing marine plans for both the inshore and offshore regions, which will be published as a single document. A Sustainability Appraisal is also being undertaken to assist in the development of the Marine Plan.

The Department publishes a Marine Plan newsletter which can be viewed on this website.

DAERA is required by legislation to prepare a report on the Marine Plan process in Northern Ireland. The report is available using the below link.

How and when to get involved

The involvement of those with an interest in and responsibility for the marine area has been central to the development of the Marine Plan,  as set out in the Statement of Public Participation below:

We encourage anyone with an interest in marine planning to get in touch. You can be added to our stakeholder database to receive updates on progress and information on upcoming events. During the consultation on the draft Marine Plan you can comment with your view on the policy proposals.


The Marine Plan will be informed by a Sustainability Appraisal, which will incorporate the requirements of a Strategic Environmental Appraisal. These requirements are:

The following assessments will also be carried out:

  • Habitat Regulations Assessment pre-screening, screening and Appropriate Assessment, if required
  • Equality Impact screening exercise
  • Rural Proofing 
  • draft Regulatory Impact Assessment
  • Human Rights Impact Assessment


For more information or if you wish to be kept up to date with Marine Plan events and consultations, please contact the Marine Plan team.


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