On 12 November 2019, the Government published the draft National Marine Planning Framework ("NMPF") for public consultation. The consultation closes at 12 noon on 28 February 2020. Click here to view the draft National Marine Planning Framework.
The NMPF is the marine spatial plan and is expected to be adopted in late 2020. It will cover Ireland’s maritime area, including internal waters (sea area), territorial seas, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
The NMPF will be a key tool for decision-making on marine activities, including decisions on individual consent applications. The NMPF will not replace or remove existing regulatory regimes or legislative requirements governing the operation of various marine sectoral activities. It will instead provide an overarching framework for their continued operation.
The NMPF sets out planning objectives and policies relating to 16 different sectors / activities including offshore renewable energy and other energy sectors, aquaculture, fisheries, telecommunications, ports, harbours and shipping. For offshore renewables a preference will be given to offshore wind farms, including enabling projects and infrastructure, in areas identified as designated zones for offshore wind under the zoning process to be set out in the much-anticipated Marine Planning and Development Management Bill.
The Government also published the new Marine Planning Policy Statement (the "Policy Statement"). The Policy Statement outlines the Government’s vision for the future development of the marine planning system. It sets out the overarching policies and principles to be observed by marine planning bodies and other public bodies that engage with the marine planning system. Click here to view the draft Marine Planning Policy Statement.
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