Anyone with an interest in the sea is being encouraged to attend a public meeting on marine spatial planning (MSP) which will will take place at Clare County Council’s main offices in Ennis at 6pm on Tuesday, July 10th.
With ever-increasing demands from various industries such as Energy, Fisheries, Aquaculture, Tourism and Sport, marine planning is is a new way of looking at how we use our marine area and planning how best to use it into the future. MSP will try to balance the different demands for using the sea while promoting the sustainable development of a thriving ocean economy.
While the objective of developing an MSP was outlined in our integrated marine plan ‘Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth’ back in 2012, this is still a relatively new concept for Ireland. However, marine planning has been in place in other European countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Scotland for a number of years now and, as part of our membership of the EU, Ireland has an obligation to produce a marine plan in which we ‘analyse and organise human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives’ by March 2021.
The task of developing Ireland’s first marine plan sits with the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government and they are currently engaged in a series of awareness-raising events all over the country. This event will be the first to take place in Clare and it will allow people to find out more about the planning process and how they can get involved. There is a heavy emphasis on stakeholder engagement and public consultation in the process and it offers a unique opportunity for Ireland’s marine users to shape the sort of plan they want to help realise the maximum potential of our marine resources.
The plan won’t replace any existing licensing or consent mechanisms but it is intended to become the main decision-making tool for regulatory authorities and policy-makers into the future in a number of ways including decisions on individual consent applications.
An MSP advisory group chaired by Minister Damien English has been established so that all key marine stakeholders from the social, environmental and economic pillars as well as from industry can help shape the plan – but it is important that individuals and smaller local groups make their voices heard too. The meeting on July 10th will provide all the information you need to find out how to do just that.
All are welcome to attend. For more information or to be added to the MSP mailing list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.