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First two marine plans unveiled

Words: Huw Morris
The Felixstowe coast

The first plans for England's seas have been published by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The first two plans cover the East inshore and offshore areas from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe.
A total of 11 plans, which offer guidance for sustainable development in marine and coastal areas, will cover all English waters by 2021. The plans aim to reduce costs and increase certainty for developers while conserving and enhancing the environment.
Environment minister George Eustice said "UK seas are home to one of the richest marine environments in the world and are currently worth more than £49 billion a year to our economy.
"We are making sure that environmental considerations are embedded in every decision about proposed developments along the coast from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe and in our seas out to the maritime borders with the Netherlands, Belgium and France."
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) welcomed the plans but raised concerns as to whether it will lead to sustainable development with an emphasis on growth and removing “red tape”.
Its senior policy officer Melissa Moore said: "We’re concerned that the East Marine Plan provides a presumption in favour of development in virtually every sector, when its original aim was to consider our seas as ecosystems that must be planned and managed to prevent over-exploitation.”
The Marine Information System, an interactive online tool that provides a quick reference to marine plan policies, went live on 2 April.