National Marine Planning Framework
From Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Last updated on
From Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Last updated on
In line with the requirements of EU Directive 2014/89/EU, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage formally established the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) on 20th May 2021. Under Part 5 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018, the Minister is the competent authority for the purposes of the Directive and, by extension, for purposes of preparing Ireland’s first marine spatial plan.
The NMPF was approved by Cabinet on 23rd March 2021, and subsequently voted on by Seanad Éireann on 19th April 2021, and Dáil Éireann on 12th May 2021. To ensure the NMPF is in full compliance with relevant legal environmental requirements, a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) and an Appropriate Assessment (AA) have also been carried out as part of the preparation of the NMPF. This is to ensure that the national objectives and outcomes respond to the sensitivities and requirements of the wider natural environment.
The National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) will be launched by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin; T.D. on 1st July 2021, and is Ireland’s first comprehensive marine spatial planning framework. The NMPF brings together all marine-based human activities for the first time, outlining the Government’s vision, objectives and marine planning policies for each marine activity.
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a new way of looking at how we use the marine area and planning how best to use it into the future. MSP will try to balance the different demands for using the sea including the need to protect the marine environment. It's about planning when and where human activities take place at sea. It’s about ensuring these activities are as efficient and sustainable as possible. Marine spatial planning involves stakeholders in a transparent way in the planning of maritime activities.
Ireland’s Marine Spatial Plan is known as the National Marine Planning Framework.
The National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) brings together all marine-based human activities for the first time, outlining the Government’s vision, objectives and marine planning policies for each marine activity.
The Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State for Local Government and Planning, Peter Burke published the National Marine Planning Framework- Consultation Report on May 24th, 2022.
A public consultation on the draft National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) was launched by the Government on 12th November 2019. This extensive consultation process included eleven public meetings held in coastal regional locations throughout the country, in addition to an online consultation event. 225 submissions were received during the draft NMPF consultation process. The NMPF was also subject to Environmental Assessments (SEA, AA) .
The previous milestone in the process was the publication for consultation of a report setting out the context in which the NMPF is being developed and which would help to identify the key issues marine planning will need to address. The National Marine Planning Framework Baseline Report was published 18 September 2018 and sets out:
An Overview of the Responses Received summarises the topics addressed by respondents in submissions. The Baseline Report Public Consultation Process document provides information on how the public consultation on the Baseline Report influenced the preparation of the Draft NMPF.
An Advisory Group has been established to facilitate participation in the NMPF process by all relevant stakeholders from the economic, environmental and social pillars. The purpose of the Advisory Group is to harness the potential and capacity of a broad range of sectors including representation from the public sector, business, environmental, social and knowledge based sectors to guide strategic thinking and decision-making in the preparation of the NMPF. The Advisory Group also informs the work of the Inter Departmental Marine Planning Group and provides updates, reports or recommendations as required.
Ministers Eoghan Murphy and Damien English published (12 December 2017) Towards a Marine Spatial Plan for Ireland – a roadmap for the development of Ireland’s first marine spatial plan.
There are four broad stages in the development of the plan.
If you would like to be added to our mailing list please send your contact details to MSP@housing.gov.ie .
Ireland’s National Marine Planning Framework will be a key decision making tool for regulatory authorities and policy makers into the future in a number of ways, including decisions on individual consent applications which will have to have regard to the provisions of the plan in the same way that terrestrial plans form part of the decision making tool-kit in the on-land planning process.
The Marine Institute, Ireland’s national marine data centre, hosts Ireland’s Marine Atlas which will be the principal repository of marine-related data to support both the development of the NMPF and evidence-based decision making under the NMPF framework by marine regulatory authorities. The atlas has been developed as a publicly accessible reporting and investigative tool for Ireland's reporting on ocean conditions as required under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the MSP Directive, the Water Framework Directive, and other relevant EU Directives. The atlas includes marine data such as administrative boundaries, protected sites, oil and gas, ocean features, fisheries and aquaculture, marine monitoring, seabed habitats, tourism and leisure, transport, infrastructure, discharge point sources, International Maritime Organization protected areas and current/historical disposal sites. It can be accessed at the following link: https://atlas.marine.ie/ .
The MSP Directive was originally transposed into national legislation by way of regulations made in 2016 (SI 352 of 2016). Since the regulations were made under the European Communities Act 1972, they were strictly limited to measures required to transpose the directive. In October 2018 the regulations were repealed and replaced by Part 5 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 . Part 5 re-transposes the Directive in primary legislation and contains a number of measures that are additional to those required by the directive, including:
In 2014 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted Directive 2014/89/EU This directive established a framework for MSP and details the main goals (Article 5) and minimum requirements (Article 6). The Marine Spatial Plan must be in place by March 2021.
Please have a look through our news sheet: “Project Marine Newsletter.” The aim of Project Marine Newsletter is to keep all marine-interested citizens and stakeholders up to date with the latest in marine policy development. It will provide details on the ongoing legislative work of the Department, while also providing readers with an insight into where National policy fits into the broader European policy perspective. Our Department intends to issue this newsletter on a regular basis, ideally quarterly, and welcomes contributions from all relevant parties.