The Marine Institute welcomes the recent publication of the Draft National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) by Government. The NMPF is the first national framework for managing the planning of marine activities. It will be the key decision-making tool for Government departments, state agencies, regulatory authorities and policy makers for decisions on marine planning.
The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English TD, launched the NMPF on 12 November 2019 in the offices of the Commissioner for Irish Lights in Dun Laoghaire. The framework sets out planning objectives and policies relating to sixteen different sectors/activities including: offshore renewable energy (and other energy sectors); fisheries; ports, harbours and shipping; safety at sea; sport and recreation; tourism; and telecommunications. The plan enhances national climate action through support for offshore renewable energy and provides greater protection of marine resources amidst increasing environmental pressure on Ireland's maritime area.
The Marine Institute provides scientific advisory services to Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) in support of the NMPF. High quality marine data will ensure that marine planning decisions are based on the best available knowledge. The National Marine Data Centre hosts online data services related to marine matters, including maps and graphs to view data and services to download data. These data will be incorporated into a planning tool which is under development by the DHPLG to visualise adjacent activities in proposed developments. The data used in the NMPF are available to view on Ireland's Marine Atlas. This atlas is a publicly accessible online map viewer and includes marine data such as administrative boundaries, aquaculture, energy, transport, fisheries, tourism, heritage, marine environment and protected sites.
Mr Joe Silke, Director of Marine Environment and Food Safety Services at the Marine Institute, welcoming the publication of the NMPF said, "Every year Ireland's ocean economy continues to grow, we are seeing an increase in turnover and employment in our marine sectors. The NMPF will ensure that these activities are managed sustainably."
The Marine Institute was one of the organisations involved in the development of the draft NMPF. The NMPF is available on the department's website www.housing.gov.ie and the public are invited to make submissions on the draft framework until 28 February 2020. The final NMPF is expected to be adopted in late 2020. A series of public regional meetings will take place on the draft NMPF in Limerick (21 November), Westport (26 November), Galway (2 December) and Tralee (10 December) with further regional meetings to be held in 2020. For more information visit www.housing.gov.ie, follow @MSP_Ireland on Twitter or email msp [at] housing [dot] gov [dot] ie
Image: Annual Ocean Climate Survey 2019. Photo by Tomasz Szumski.