News Item: Bathing Water newsletter August 2013

Defra’s latest bathing water newsletter is now available. See Bathing Water newsletter August 2013.

This edition of the newsletter covers:

  • Bathing Water Regulations 2013
  • European Commission bathing water report for 2012
  • Surfers Against Sewage bathing water app
  • Environment Agency short term pollution trial
  • Survey on the length of the bathing season in England
  • River basin management plans – Challenges and choices

News Item: Future of South marine plan areas explored in MMO report

Predictions on the future of our seas off the South coast are outlined in a report published this week by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The ‘South marine plan areas futures analysis’ gives a regional picture of how important activities and resources are expected to change, with a focus on both a 6 and 20-year snapshot.

Marine plans will inform and guide marine users and regulators, managing the sustainable development of marine industries, taking account of local communities and the need to protect leisure uses and the environment. There are 11 plans in total for the seas around England, and the South is the second area to benefit.

The report looked at past trends and expected future developments to make the projections, covering vital marine sectors such as wind energy, defence, tourism and recreation and working with a range of marine industries for their input. It also identifies gaps and data limitations underlying the projections.

Importantly, these future snapshots assume no intervention from marine planning to allow for a full picture of what could happen without the guidance planning will provide.

Head of Marine Planning, Paul Gilliland, said “The South marine plan areas are some of our busiest marine areas in Europe and this will only increase in the coming years with new technologies and more demands on our marine resources.

“This information will allow us to look at each sector and ensure we identify opportunities and potential conflicts as early as possible in planning.”

This new publication is part of the MMO’s work to identify and fill knowledge gaps that marine planners, regulators and users currently face. This report is one of the key steps in providing a basis for MMO planners to develop a future picture of the South marine plan areas, in partnership with marine users.

Potential future trends were proposed for the South marine plan areas with confidence levels (high, moderate and low) on the certainty with which plans and projections are likely to happen.

These include new wind farms, increased tidal energy installations and more shipping activity.

 For more information, read the full report at www.marinemanagement.org.uk/evidence/1039.htm

Marine Conservation Zones: Consultation update

Defra’s response to the MCZ consultation, which the LGA Coastal SIG provided comments on,  has been published. The document provides a summary of responses to Defra’s public consultation exercise on its proposals for designating MCZs, which received over 40,000 responses. See https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/marine-conservation-zones-consultation-on-proposals-for-designation-in-2013.

Strategic Scoping Report for marine planning in England published.

A report on key marine activities has been published today by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The Strategic Scoping Report (SSR) identifies natural resources and activities – both recreational and industrial – in our marine area, and will inform marine plans that are being developed to shape the future of England’s seas. The SSR is a key document in the development of marine plans, helping the MMO to establish the distribution of activities, ecosystems and resources in each marine plan area before plans are formed.

The seas around England are vitally important to our nation. The UK marine economy is currently worth more than £47 billion annually, and has the potential to increase significantly. Our seas also matter to people and wildlife. Marine plans will inform and guide marine users and regulators, managing the sustainable development of marine industries taking account of local communities and the need to protect leisure uses and the environment.

The report gives a national picture of the key activities and resources associated with each of England’s marine plan areas – there are 11 in total with the East and South marine plans already underway. It pulls together existing information from a range of sources to provide planners with a national picture before making planning decisions at a regional level.

Paul Gilliland, Head of Marine Planning at the MMO, said “Most activities and resources are not evenly distributed, and understanding the location and scale of a resource is critical to understanding the relative importance of that resource or activity for the marine plan.”

Today’s report is an update to the first SSR published in June 2011. This version contains updated and new maps, including new information on water and air quality.

There is also additional evidence after gaps were identified previously, which includes:

  • distribution, trends and value of inshore and offshore fisheries in England
  • spatial data on marine recreation activities
  • socio-economic benefits of marine planning for English coastal communities
  • climate change data
  • social and economic considerations
  • nuclear energy information
  • identifying biomass potential