Government blueprint for better marine management
The coalition government has published a series of policy documents aimed at balancing the protection of the seas with their use.
The new planning and licensing system aims to help manage offshore activities while ensuring continued protection of the marine environment.
These will likely impact on the offshore wind and oil and gas industries.
Richard Benyon, marine environment minister, said: "Our seas are some of the most diverse in the world, providing us with food, energy and a home to over 8000 species.
"These new ways of managing our seas will help protect the marine environment, while allowing us to make the best use of the resources it offers, like renewable energy. It will also enable businesses that rely on the seas, such as leisure and tourism, to grow."
"The new systems for marine planning and marine licensing are a real opportunity to improve the way we manage our seas.
"They will create the framework for consistent marine planning and decision making, and will contribute to the sustainable development of the UK marine area."
The draft Marine Policy Statement sets out ways to achieve 'the vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas and oceans'.
The Marine Planning System consultation describes how the system in England will be implemented.
It will define the future uses of the seas in any given area, aiming to remove barriers to growth and enabling the best use of the seas' considerable resources.
A new Marine Licensing System is designed to create a more effective, streamlined and transparent system. It would start next April.
Together with marine planning, the new licensing system is intended to provide a clearer, more straightforward way for developers to advance marine projects in a sustainable way, while protecting the environment, human health and other users of the sea.
The draft Marine Policy Statement can be found here.
For the Marine Planning System consultation go here.