A three-month public consultation on a National Marine Planning Framework Baseline report that sets out the context in which a marine spatial plan for Ireland is being developed, received 173 responses from the general public and stakeholder groups.

A preliminary analysis shows that the topics most frequently mentioned were the marine environment, (53%), ports/harbours/shipping (44%) and nature conservation (41%). Other issues raised included consents and licensing (34%), renewable energy (34%), aquaculture (31%), fisheries (28%), seaweed harvesting (23%), cultural heritage and assets (23%).

Climate change and how the NMPF could contribute to Ireland’s mitigation and adaptation measures was a frequently raised issue (42%).

A key decision in the development of Ireland’s first marine spatial plan is the basis on which areas might be spatially designated for particular purposes, according to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Respondents were asked to indicate if they preferred a ‘zonal approach, policy-based approach or a hybrid of both. Of the 57 respondents who expressed a preference for one approach or another, 44% favoured a policy-led plan, 40% elected for a hybrid model and 16% indicated a preference for zoning.

The first draft NMPF is expected in mid-2019, followed by a second consultation.

Background

In 2014 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted Directive 2014/89/EU. The directive established a framework for MSP and details the main goals (Article 5) and minimum requirements (Article 6). The MSP must be in place by March 2021.

Stakeholders included: individual members of the public, coastal community groups, environmental NGOs, sports organisations, stakeholder representative bodies, fisheries organisations, energy providers, Local Authorities, public sector bodies, political representatives and parties, and higher education.