The output from this process will be a national plan for Ireland’s seas, to be known as the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF). It will set out, over a 20 year horizon, how we want to use, protect and enjoy our seas. The NMPF will sit at the top of the hierarchy of plans and sectoral policies for the marine area. It will be informed by existing sectoral plans and will, in turn, be used to inform future cycles of those plans in an ongoing feedback loop. It will provide a coherent framework in which those sectoral policies and objectives can be realised. It will become a 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.