A summary of the group's purpose and how it will work.

Context

The Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP) will be the first marine plan for Wales. A draft of the WNMP was consulted on in December 2017 and is in the process of being refined before adoption.

Implementing marine planning for Wales is challenging and will take time. Welsh Government recognises the need to work collaboratively to support the transition to a new statutory system of planning as it is established for the Welsh marine area. Work has already begun with some decision-making relevant public authorities (RPAs) in testing and refining draft WNMP policies but a formal group is now required to support plan implementation.

Responsibility for plan implementation relates to a range of functions in a number of public authorities under Section 58 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA) (2009).

It is important that RPAs can work as effectively and efficiently as possible to support implementation on a consistent basis. A collaborative approach, where learning through practical application of the plan is shared, and issues addressed as they arise, is therefore proposed through this group.

Purpose

The purpose of the Marine Planning Decision Makers Group (MPDMG) is to facilitate the practical implementation of the WNMP to deliver the Welsh Government’s strategic objectives. The group will provide a forum for discussing and working to resolve practical issues around implementation and plan-led decision making as they arise.

Key functions include:

  1. To feedback any issues arising from policy implementation and to help develop mechanisms for addressing these, sharing experiences of practical lessons learnt
  2. To support the practical, proportionate and consistent implementation of WNMP policies and objectives
  3. To facilitate authorisation decisions that are effective, efficient, consistent and timely and which embed the proportionate approach to decision making set out in the WNMP
  4. To suggest areas where further guidance or support would be beneficial
  5. To offer comment on any guidance required or proposed
  6. To consider advice from the WG led Marine Planning Stakeholder Reference Group and or provide that group with advice
  7. To facilitate joined up cross border delivery, in particular across the land / sea interface, and Wales / England borders
  8. To share experience and evidence to support WNMP monitoring and reporting, and
  9. To disseminate and support key messages and information to parent organisations and (as appropriate) to stakeholders.

The MPDMG may ask for advice on specific issues from the stakeholder group.

Frequency of meetings

Twice a year (after plan adoption) although may be more frequent during early stages of plan implementation. Meetings may be supplemented by telephone conferencing. Matters may be dealt with electronically between meetings where appropriate.

Secretariat

Provided by WG Marine and Fisheries Division: Marine Policy Branch. Papers for the meetings will normally be circulated 5 working days before the meeting date and a full note made of each meeting.

Confidentiality must be observed where necessary, “Chatham House” rules on attribution. Organisational representatives should be those best placed to deliver Group objectives (ie knowledgably represent, take decisions and network in their field).