How we are developing policies for the sustainable use of our seas.

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First published:
25 October 2018
Last updated:

Welsh National Marine Plan

We are working on the first Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP). It sets out our policy for the next 20 years for the sustainable use of our seas.

Under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA), we must produce a Marine Plan. Welsh Ministers are the planning authority for the Welsh:

  • inshore region (out to 12 nautical miles)
  • offshore region (12 to 200 nautical miles)

Marine planning will:

  • support our vision for clean, healthy, safe and diverse seas
  • guide future sustainable development
  • support the growth of marine space and natural resources (’blue growth’)


Having a sound evidence base will:

  • improve our knowledge of our seas
  • inform their sustainable use and management
  • enable effective marine planning

Our evidence base includes:

We will review and update the marine evidence report from time to time. This will give us an understanding of our seas.

Developing the plan

The WNMP will contain plans and policies for both the inshore and offshore regions. Supplementary implementation guidance will also be produced. This will help public authorities making decisions that may affect our seas.

In developing the plan, we have sought stakeholder input, in the following ways:

Once approved by:

  • our Ministers, and
  • the UK Secretary of State with regards to reserved matters

we aim to publish the first WNMP in October 2019.

Implementing the plan

Once we have published the plan, Relevant Public Authorities (RPAs) will need to make decisions in line with it. This is unless relevant considerations state otherwise. The details are set out in section 58 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009). We have set up a Marine Planning Decision Maker's Group to help RPAs understand their role. We have also published a set of Welsh National Marine Plan: frequently asked questions

Our animation explains the marine planning process.