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New-look Irish marine planning regime surfaces

Words: Roger Milne
Ireland's Cliff of Moher / iStock-636587230

Irish ministers have announced moves to establish a fully integrated marine planning regime as the administration publishes a draft policy statement.

The statement sets out the overarching policies and principles that marine planning bodies and other organisations should observe in terms of public engagement, transparency and environmental assessment.

In prospect is the introduction of a new national marine plan – the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) – and publication of a Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, (formerly known as the MAFA Bill).

This Irish Government said the legislation would:

  • introduce powers for the planning and local government minister to draw up statutory marine planning guidelines (parallel to statutory planning guidelines under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000);
  • provide an enhanced statutory basis for marine forward planning;
  • introduce a single state consent system for the maritime area for certain project types;
  • eliminate the unnecessary duplication of development management processes (including environmental assessments) for activities or developments that are currently assessed under both the foreshore and planning regimes; and
  • introduce a single development management process for certain project types, including offshore renewable energy development.

Planning and local government minister Eoghan Murphy said these moves reflected a “holistic approach to terrestrial and marine planning”. He added: “We are working to ensure the proper integration of environmental, economic and social considerations in marine decision-making processes that serve all interests fairly.”

Image credit | iStock