Towards an Integrated Policy Framework for Marine Spatial Planning in Ireland

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Resource or Project Abstract

The use of Irish maritime space is increasing. As maritime activities intensify, there is increased competition for use of space and potential conflicts with other objectives such as the protection of the marine environment. Addressing governance issues and resolving conflicts between different stakeholders are increasingly important. There is a need for a holistic vision and management to allow for the balance of social, economic and environmental interests and to ensure that maritime space and resources are used in a planned and sustainable manner.

Maritime Spatial Planning Themes

Maritime spatial planning (MSP) is a process by which state authorities analyse and organise human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives. It is the subject to the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (2014/EC/89). The Directive has to be transposed by September 2016 and maritime spatial plans have to be in place by April 2021. Arising from the literature review, the requirements of the Directive, international best practice and stakeholder feedback, a number of key themes were identified for the project. These were to:

* promote the environmental, economic and social pillars of sustainable development;

* apply an ecosystem-based approach;

* address land-sea interactions:

* ensure coherence between MSP and other processes;

* promote the involvement of stakeholders;

* ensure the best use of available data; and

* facilitate trans-boundary cooperation.

A number of assumptions were made in framing the approach to preparing maritime spatial plans. These assumptions related to the extent of the maritime area, the scope of the plans, the hierarchy, relevant competent authorities, consultation and transboundary cooperation.


This research recommends that a staged integrated approach be adopted for the preparation of MSPs in Ireland. The staged approach is recommended as it ensures that a rational and consistent process is applied to the spatial plan-making processes. This approach ensures that there is a full understanding of the maritime environment and issues, allows for appropriate objective-setting and strategy development, provides a framework for drafting the plan and resolving conflicts, and allows for adoption and monitoring. As spatial planning is an on-going process within plan-making cycles, there is a review process which allows for revision and updating. Integration of plan-making, environmental assessment and consultation promotes broader acceptance by stakeholders, ensures a legally robust plan and effectively integrates environmental considerations and the ecosystem-based approach into plan preparation.

The recommendations are designed to fit in with the Irish plan-making tradition and are informed by existing guidance. A series of case studies provided examples of best practice in relation to the various stages of the process. The approach follows from the establishment of the governance, reporting relationships, steering committee, project team, relevant advisory panel, stakeholder panel and all statutory requirements identified during the initial project management set up phase. The stages are structured as follows:

*Stage 1 Understanding the marine environment

*Stage 2 - Vision, objectives and preferred strategy

*Stage 3 Drafting the plan

*Stage 4 Adopting, implementing and monitoring

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Conor Norton
Dublin Institute of Technology

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Data, Files, Information Objects Related To This Project Resource

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource Keywordsmarine spatial planning, maritime spatial planning, plan-making, marine management
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2014-SE-DS-1
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeSocio-Economics
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny attached datasets, data files, or information objects can be downloaded for further use in scientific applications under the condition that the source is properly quoted and cited in published papers, journals, websites, presentations, books, etc. Before downloading, users must agree to the "Conditions of Download and Access" from SAFER-Data. These appear before download. Users of the data should also communicate with the original authors/owners of this resource if they are uncertain about any aspect of the data or information provided before further usage.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 0
Project Start Date Friday 2nd January 2015 (02-01-2015)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Friday 2nd January 2015 (02-01-2015)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 15th February 2016 (15-02-2016)
Published on SAFERWednesday 8th June 2016 (08-06-2016)
Date of Last EditWednesday 8th June 2016 at 14:35:31 (08-06-2016)
Datasets or Files Updated On Wednesday 8th June 2016 at 14:34:57 (08-06-2016)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
Recommendations for the Preparation of Maritime Spatial Plans considered in Figure 2 where Irish MSPs should cover. The maritime area will extend from the high water mark (excluding transition waters under the WFD Directive) to the outer limits of the EEZ. Further maritime areas may be defined which would provide the spatial framework for regional maritime spatial plans. However, the ambition of these recommendations is their applicability at all level of the planning hierarchy, therefore at any given scale.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

In this section some supplementary information about this resource is outlined. Lineage information helps us to understand why this project was carried out, what policy or research requirements did it fulfil, etc. Lineage is important in understanding the rationale behind the carrying out of a project or the collection of a specific dataset etc. Links to web sites, applications, papers, etc are outlined to provide you with additional information or supplementary reading about the project or dataset

Lineage information about this project or dataset
With the impeding transposition of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (2014/89/EC), it was clear that there was little or no guidance on how maritime spatial plans can be prepared. Ireland and the other European coastal nations are at the cusp of a shift in policy and planning and currently lack the guidance they need to look at and ultimately plan their maritime space and resources.
Supplementary Information
Sybil Berne, Planner, MacCabe Durney Barnes, 20 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2 D02YV58; ; +353-1-676-2594

The key output of this project was the "Recommendations for Preparing Maritime Spatial Plans in Ireland". This standalone document seeks to provide advice to future comptent authorities in terms of maritime spatial planning. This project benefited from valuable inputs from both the Steering Committee, composed of Eugene Nixon of the Marine Institute, Lorraine O'Donoghue and Padraic Dempsey of the Department of the Environmental, Community and Local Government, Alaine Clarke and Shane O'Boyle of the Environmental Protection Agency and Dr Dorothy Stewart

The authors wish to thank and acknowledge the invaluable input of contributors and reviewers including Dorothy Stewart (Sustainability and Innovative Water Research Projects Management Research Unit - EPA), Alaine Clarke (WFD Integration and Coordination Unit - EPA), Shane O?Boyle (Aquatic Environment Unit - EPA), Eugene Nixon (Marine Institute), Lorraine O?Donoghue (Marine Planning and Foreshore Section - DECLG) and Padraic Dempsey (Marine Planning and Foreshore Section ? DECLG).
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