Marine Planning Newsletter: Winter 2018

Welcome to our marine planning newsletter. This issue includes news on the draft South Marine Plan, and on the next stages of engagement in the North west, North east, South west and South east.

Marine plan development workshops – Iteration 2

In January 2018, we will launch the next step in the development of the marine plans for the north east, north west, south east and south west.

This is an important stage and is your opportunity to contribute and comment on our work on marine plan area visions and options to address the issues raised through previous engagement.
Your feedback and views are an essential part of this and we will be publishing an online engagement questionnaire and holding a number of workhops in each of these marine plan areas.

Each workshop will look at the marine plan area’s vision and options and detail the next steps towards marine plan development. In particular the workshops will include group discussions around potential options to address issues. The workshops are an opportunity to discuss these in greater detail with the MMO’s marine planning team and to influence the development of marine plans. The online engagement provides you with the opportunity to view the visions and options ahead of the workshop, comment in more detail or have your say if you are unable to participate in a workshop.

To find out more and to book your place via Eventbrite please click on one of the workshops below.
North west marine plan area
  • Whitehaven: Wednesday 7 February 2018, The Beacon Portal, 9.30am to 3:30pm
  • Liverpool: Thursday 8 February 2018, Adelphi Hotel, 9.30am to 3:30pm
South east marine plan area
  • Chatham, Kent: Wednesday 21 February 2018, Sun Pier House, 9.30am to 3:30pm
  • London: Thursday 22 February 2018, The Wesley Euston, 9.30am to 3:30pm
South west marine plan area
  • Newquay: Tuesday 6 March 2018, Headland Hotel, 9.30 am to 3:30pm 
  • Plymouth: Wednesday 7 March 2017, Future Inn, 9.30am to 3:30pm
  • Weston-Super-Mare: Thursday 8 March 2017, The Winter Gardens, 9.30am to 3:30pm
North east marine plan area
  • Seahouses: Tuesday 20 March 2018, The Hub, 9.30am to 3;30pm
  • Newcastle: Wednesday 21 March 2018, Copthorne Hotel, 9.30am to 3:30pm
  • Middlesbrough: Thursday 22 March 2018, Middlesbrough Football Club, 9.30am to 3:30pm
For more information please contact your local marine planning officer below, or email
North east: Zoe MacKay, 0208 4152 998
North west: Sam Wright, 0208 225 7095
South east: Tom Pavitt,  0208 225 8857
South west: Neal Gray, 0208 225 6647 
South west: Ed Wright, 0208 026 2098

South Marine plan area update

Work in the south has been progressing well towards adoption and subsequent implementation of the South Marine Plans.

Following public consultation in early 2017 responses have been thoroughly analysed and appropriate revisions to the plan have been made to reflect this input. At this time we are working with our government colleagues to ensure the plans receive the appropriate degree of scrutiny and satisfy all necessary requirements before they are officially adopted.

At this pre-adoption stage the draft plans remain a relevant consideration for decision-makers in the South Marine Plan Area. The draft plans will be used to guide and inform decisions made about activities within the marine environment. The Marine Information System has been updated with the current version of the south plan and is a valuable digital tool for all users of marine plans.

We intend to hold stakeholder workshops and refresher sessions following the adoption of the plans, more details will follow when dates have been finalised. We are working hard to ensure that the adoption of the plan is communicated effectively, and that stakeholders and decision-makers know how to make best use of the plans.

East Marine Plan update

After the review of the East Marine Plan earlier this year, implementation continues and is progressing well. Relationships with stakeholders in the southern extent of the east marine plan area are being maintained whilst we undergo recruitment of a local marine planner. In the northern extent of the area, relationships are being re-established and developed further as a result of new recruitment.

Communications between marine planning and local councils are important as the development of local plans continues. These relationships are being reinforced and advanced to ensure that our adopted plan is considered in local plans to produce high quality management of both our terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

Amy Balding joined the team in October as the east marine planning officer. This area covers Flamborough Head to Boston. Amy has been getting to know stakeholders at meetings that has included the Humber Strategy Elected Members Forum, the Humber Nature Partnership and the Southern North Sea Environment Group. This engagement will support the implementation phase of the east marine plans.


Offshore Wind Energy Policy Evidence Development

The Crown Estate has recently made its Marine Resource System geographic information system (GIS) tool available to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). It will help the MMO’s consideration of spatial layers that may form part of the draft marine plan policies for offshore wind energy for the north east, north west, south east and south west plan areas.

Two steps were taken in the creation of these spatial layers:
  • the identification of a wide variety of constraints (e.g. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) routes, marine protected areas, recreation and vessel monitoring system (VMS)) to the development of offshore wind energy; and
  • production of a series of spatial layers using the Marine Resource System, incorporating these constraints, that may be used to inform spatially explicit marine plan policies for offshore wind energy development.
The data layers are now available to view through the Marine Information System (
Enhancing stakeholder engagement

“Enhancing Stakeholder Engagement” is a two-year project supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Its objectives are to engage with more stakeholders from more sectors, more effectively in order to strengthen the development of marine plans. While we consider our engagement work to have been successful to date, we know there is always more that can be done.  We have commissioned Nomensa to undertake an analysis of stakeholders’ drivers, motivations and barriers to engage in marine planning.

With improved understanding from the analysis, enhanced communications and engagement plans can be produced. They will detail tools and activities to raise awareness, and deliver enhanced "outreach" engagement to all stakeholders including those new and ”hard to reach” stakeholders identified through this project.

In summer 2018 we will work with coastal partnerships to deliver a range of workshops, or other engagement activities, to expand our reach adding value and differing perspectives from even more stakeholders.
External Decision-maker and Implementation Mapping of Marine Plans

To understand how decision-makers use marine plans we have commissioned the project ”External Decision Making and Implementation Mapping of Marine Plans” to MarineSpace Ltd and Howell Marine Consulting.

The project aims to get a better understanding of decision-making in the marine plan areas and to improve our knowledge and understanding in order to develop better collaborative ways of working. This will then be used as a basis for implementation of the marine plans in England.
Digital Planning Programme

The Digital Planning Programme is looking at the services we provide and understanding user needs to simplify marine plans.

We are doing this by focussing on the three stages of the planning process:
  • Creation of a plan
  • Use of an adopted plan
  • Monitoring and review of a plan
By focussing on user needs we ensure that any service we develop is built with users in mind and makes plans simpler for all.

The discovery phase of the project is underway and will run until the end of February 2018. During the discovery phase we will be contacting a range of marine plan users to undertake research to identify how they use the plans.
Published projects

In developing marine plans, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) must ensure that all sectors are managed fairly and proportionately to enable sustainable development.

The Futures Analysis For The North East, North West, South East and South West Marine Plan Areas project reviewed the past trends and made projections for the next 6 - 20 years in the north east, north west, south east and south west marine plan areas for each marine sector featured in the Marine Policy Statement (MPS).

Marine licensing: A guide for Local Planning Authorities (LPAs)

Guidance on the marine licencing process for LPAs has been published to enable a better understanding of the marine licence application process and includes the pre-application and application stage and other relevant matters, such as exemptions and self-service. There is also a checklist of what applicants should submit to ensure sufficient information is provided.

European Commission (EC) Member State Expert Group on Maritime Spatial Planning

Paul Gilliland was invited to provide a ‘spotlight’ on our work and progress on marine planning in England at the EC meeting in Brussels. The presentation and discussion were well received and members were impressed with various aspects of our work. There was interest from several countries who were keen to obtain further insight through visits to the MMO.

Marine planning - Area updates

This has been a busy period for marine officers. We have been working hard on identifying draft plan policy responses to identified issues, including a number of possible alternatives to addressing challenges and opportunities within the plan areas. This work will be subject to stakeholder scrutiny at our spring workshops.

We have also been meeting with our coastal partnerships to hear of the latest developments and initiatives in the marine environment.
South west
We had an interesting meeting with Plymouth Marine Laboratory. They have offered to share their extensive data and expertise with us to enhance our marine evidence base, and help fill evidence gaps related to development of the south west marine plan as part of the South West Partnership for Environment and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) programme. Engagement is ongoing with the North Devon Marine Pioneer, who are supporting our marine planning engagement.

South east
In the south east we presented the topic of marine planning at the Thames Estuary Partnership annual forum and are involved with a London Plan Thames Working Group where we are raising awareness of marine planning in the Thames for stakeholders. By attending recent meetings from different sectors such as with the Harwich Haven Authority, Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) and Essex Coastal Forum we hope to involve a wider range of stakeholders in our early 2018 spring engagement and workshops.

North west
Work in the north west is progressing at pace, including attendance at the SIMCelt closing conference at the University of Liverpool in November. The conference was an exciting opportunity to not only tap into the work which the SIMCelt team have undertaken over the last few years, but also connect with both familiar and new faces in the ever expanding world of marine planning. During the conference we explored a great variety of topics including (but definitely not limited to) Blue Growth and cumulative effects assessments. There was also the opportunity to contribute to the ‘Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Challenge game’, which proved to be as entertaining for all involved as it was informative.
North east
Zoe Mackay now joins us in the north east, whilst Kathleen Telford has been holding the fort. Together they have updated the north east communication and engagement plan for 2018. Zoe has been in touch with Heritage Coasts and will be getting in touch with Local Authorities over the next few weeks.

Team changes and recruitment

We welcome our new colleagues to the team.

Ed Wright replaces Nick Boase as a Marine Officer (Planning) in the south west and is based in Bristol. Nick is now working as a marine planner on evidence and analysis.

Amy Balding joins us as a Marine Officer (Planning) for the northern extent of the east marine plan area (Flamborough Head to Boston) and is based in Beverley. Stacey Clarke has left the MMO to work for Cefas in Lowestoft.  Recruitment is underway for her replacement to cover the southern extent of the east marine plan area (Boston to Felixstowe).

Zoe MacKay replaces Milly Metcalfe as a Marine Officer (Planning) for the north east and is based in North Shields. Milly is now living in Canada.

Marine Officers (Planning) are here to keep you up to date with the development of marine plans in your area. Please email if you would like to meet your local marine planning officer.
Useful links

Marine Information System 

Marine plans: 
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