Series of forums planned for New Year
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is holding a series of workshops in January 2013 for the public to discuss the future of the South Coast.
The MMO announced in August this year that the coastline which stretches from Folkestone to the River Dart, called the South Inshore Area and the South Offshore Area, will form the next section of the comprehensive marine planning system that is being developed in England.
The first areas to be selected for marine planning were the East Inshore and East Offshore marine planning areas which have been progressing since 2011 and are due for completion in 2013.
The public are invited to three workshops where they can:
· Meet the MMO team for an introduction to marine planning and the marine planning process
· Discuss the ways in which they can get involved in the marine plans
· Let the MMO know what they think some of the key issues are for the South marine plans areas
The workshops will help inform the Statement of Public Participation (SPP) – a public guide on how to get involved with planning – which will need to be approved by the Secretary of State before the MMO officially begins planning later in 2013.
According to the MMO marine plans aim to inform and guide marine users and regulators, manage the sustainable development of marine industries, such as wind farms, shipping, marine aggregates and fishing, alongside the need to conserve and protect marine species and habitats and recognise leisure uses too.
Caroline Price RYA Planning and Environment Advisor commented: “Planning for the south coast presents different challenges than the east coast for recreational boaters not least because this is such a busy part of the UK for boating.
The RYA has been engaged at both the national and local level on marine planning since the Marine and Coastal Access Act came into force in 2009 in order to ensure that the importance of recreational boating around the coast is understood.
“We will be working with members on our regional committees and with affiliated clubs across the south to ensure the MMO have a full understanding of the level of activity in this marine plan area, and how best to plan for the future”.
“Recreational boating can co-exist with most other marine activities quite happily but there are circumstances that are not so straightforward and it is essential that the MMO understand these. For example allowing commercial and recreational traffic to remain separated is important for navigational safety and the ‘squeeze’ effect of numerous offshore renewable energy developments can make this challenging, particularly on the east coast.’
“Although the marine planning process can take up to two years it’s important that everyone involved in recreational boating gets engaged in the whole process so that we can collectively ensure that the MMO takes the navigational safety requirements for recreational boating into account in its planning”.
The RYA will continue to work with the MMO to ensure that the interests of recreational boaters are represented and taken into account in the marine planning process.
You can read more information on marine planning in England at www.marinemanagement.org.uk/marineplanning/index.htm