The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) today launched a public consultation on the proposed Marine Plan for Northern Ireland.
The consultation provides a new planning approach that supports the sustainable management of the Northern Ireland marine area.
The Marine Plan will facilitate the sustainable use of marine resources and the management of activities and uses from natural heritage to energy, aquaculture and tourism and recreation.
It builds upon the policy framework outlined in the UK Marine Policy Statement and will facilitate the integration of marine planning with land use planning. It is supported by a publicly accessible Marine Mapviewer showing the uses and activities that occur in the Northern Ireland marine area.
Denis McMahon, Permanent Secretary of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, said: “It is vital that we plan for and protect our marine area as we do with the land.
“Our seas are an important resource for many people. They provide a livelihood for fishing communities, are home to important marine wildlife and provide for our enjoyment and recreation.
“The Plan will enable public authorities making decisions that affect the marine area to manage our seas sustainably; integrating economic, environmental and social considerations.
“It will also provide greater certainty and clarity for developers in making investment decisions. It will also guide those with an interest in the marine area, to ensure that their views are relevant and considered in the decisions that affect it.
“We are all stakeholders in our seas and I would encourage everyone to get involved by providing their views on this draft Marine Plan for Northern Ireland. Together we can shape and deliver the sustainable management of our outstanding marine resource.”
The consultation will run for eight weeks from 18 April until 15 June 2018.
Notes to editors:
1. The Marine Act (Northern Ireland) 2013 and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 require the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, as the Marine Plan Authority, to prepare marine plans.
2. The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 provides for the preparation and adoption of a marine policy statement.
3. The UK Marine Policy Statement was adopted by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2011, alongside the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government.
4. The Marine Plan (when adopted) will be used by public authorities in taking decisions which affect or might affect the marine area, including:
a) Authorisation or enforcement decisions; and
b) Decisions that relate to the exercise of any function capable of affecting the marine area.
5. This public consultation offers the public an opportunity to contribute to the Marine Plan preparation process. The consultation responses will be used to inform the final plan. A final decision on the adoption and implementation of the Marine Plan will be taken by a Minister.
7. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.