Marine Planning process in the South East!

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) ran a series of workshops and engagement work in the South East.

These started with an introduction to marine planning and demonstrated the Marine Information System where you can view the evidence gathered.

There are 11 English marine plan areas – including inshore and offshore areas in all except the south east. Each area will be covered by a marine plan by 2021 with a 20 year view of activities. Marine plans build on the requirements of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) and the Marine Policy Statement.

Marine planning addresses the key issues for the marine area, including the coast, estuaries and tidal waters, as well as developments that impact on these areas. The plans include a vision, objectives and detailed policies on how these objectives will be achieved.

Marine plans are used by public authorities as part of the decision making process for all new activities and developments in or affecting the marine area.

The 12-stage process on how a marine plan is made from selection to implementation and monitoring and how you can get involved (click on the image to find out more).

In the South East:

The stages of the South East Marine Planning process included consultations on the:

  1. Statement of Public Participation (how, when & whom they will engage with for this process)
  2. Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report (assesses social, economic & environmental impacts)
  3. Call for Issues and Supporting Evidence (Aug 2016)

Analysis of issues with evidence for marine plan areas

The MMO published an issues database for the north east, north west, south east and south west marine plan areas at the same time.

The database provides an update on progress in gathering information and evidence on the opportunities and challenges for the sustainable development of these areas. A consultation summary shows that more than 3000 individual comments were received from a wide range of national and local stakeholders, and provided such a wealth of information that the MMO does not now consider it necessary to have a further round of formal consultation on issues this year. Further analysis and development of issues continued until early 2017 when the MMO consulted stakeholders on the iteration 1 outputs. The outputs are the full list of issues, those identified as being common to more than one plan area.

South east marine plan area (Feb 2017) – iteration1

Marine Plan Development Workshops – 2017

Further workshops (March 2017) looked at the published issues and evidence database (gathered in 2016) and explored potential policies and reviewed the proposed new format for the marine plans, which is more interactive, linking to the Marine Information System (MIS). Group discussions looked at the marine plan area’s economic, social, environmental and governance issues, and whether policies from the South and East Marine Plans are appropriate to address them.

Marine Planning engagement events – Spring 2018

Iteration 2: Your say on future of England’s seas. These workshops allowed stakeholders to continue their input into the development of marine plan in the south east (or by the online engagement tool, Jan-March 2018) with a focus on the draft marine plan area visions; draft options to address issues; and next steps Autumn 2018: Tom Pavitt helped with workshops in the south plan which will help in the future with South East Marine Plans’ implementation, including meeting Dover Harbour Board – who provided recommendations on how MIS could improve its accessibility including an improvement on the statutory harbour authority jurisdiction area layer. Tom continues to work with the thirty seven local councils that border the south east marine plan area – including Essex and Kent councils that have highlighted their interest in the development of the seascape marine plan policies, so they can align with similar landscape assessments.

Seascape Character Assessment: The Seascape Character Assessment for the South East Inshore marine plan area has been published (22 Oct 2018, MMO1134).

Marine Planning engagement (Iteration 3) – 2019

This included workshops (feb) commenting on draft policies and supporting documents on the development of the local South East Marine Plan. Navigate your way through the south east’s story map at: More information about the iteration 3 engagement for the NE, NW, SE & SW marine plans can be found at:

South East Inshore Marine Plan Area

Consultation on the Draft South East Marine Plans 2020

The consultation on the Draft Marine Plan took place in early 2020.

The plan provides a framework that will shape and inform decisions over how the area’s waters are developed, protected and improved over the next 20 years and so help safeguard and enhance the marine environment, improve the well-being of coastal communities and support a strong marine economy. The plan helps to make sure the right activities occur in the right place, at the right time, and in the right way placing sustainable development at the centre of all decisions.

The consultation was designed so that stakeholders could comment online on each individual part:

# background to development of the Draft South East Inshore Marine Plan,
# the vision for the south east inshore marine area,
# all policies including their aims and implementation approach,
# the objectives of the Draft South East Inshore Marine Plan and how these are achieved by the policies,
# application of the plan as a whole,
# approach to plan monitoring, review and reporting,
# Draft Sustainability Appraisal

Draft South East Inshore Marine Plan Consultation (closed 20 April 2020)

Comments were received from stakeholders representing a wide range of sectors and interests. Overall, there was positive agreement with the marine plans. For some this was qualified as “yes, subject to change” with the inclusion of detailed amendments to the wording of policies and supporting text. A Consultation Summary has been produced, which summarises stakeholder comments on the draft marine plans.

Final stage

There have been 3 rounds of public consultation – in a process that started to develop various marine plans, including one for the South East Inshore area in 30 June 2016, with a call for ‘Issues with Supporting Evidence‘. This was followed by draft area visions and policy options and preferred policies with supporting text with various workshops and webinars, discussions and drafts. Developing the South East Marine Plan: NEXT STEPS (2020)



South East Marine Plan

More information about marine plans

Latest marine environment & marine planning newsletter (MMO)


Our local South East plan MMO marine contact is Marie Canny:

Mobile: 0791 7594331