The first ever strategic plan for marine management in Wales will have sustainability at its heart and help ensure developments in our seas don’t compromise our natural resources, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has said.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the Welsh National Marine Plan, she said the groundbreaking plan aims to ensure our seas are ‘abundant with life’ and can provide ‘clean, green, and safe energy’ for people across Wales for the next 20 years.
The plan will put Wales at the forefront of tackling climate change through renewable energy sources and help safeguard and manage important fishing stocks and aquaculture production. This will be more important than ever as Wales plans to leave the European Union.
Harnessing natural assets will make a significant contribution to achieving the ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2050, whilst also protecting marine ecosystems and striving to minimise the impact on the environment as the seas get busier.
The plan has a number of sector policies targeted to the key uses of Welsh seas from fishing, to tourism and recreation, ports and shipping, undersea electronic cables and the collection of sand for use in construction. These policies aim to ensure the coastline and abundant ecosystems work alongside developments, rather than compete for marine space.
The Welsh National Marine Plan will work in tandem with the forthcoming National Development Framework, which is a 20 year plan, ensuring strategic planning for both land and sea.
The plan also develops closer relationships with neighbouring countries to ensure sustainability of the seas around Wales, particularly on cross border areas like the Severn and Dee estuaries.
From today, planning decisions by local authorities and other relevant bodies with the potential to affect the Welsh Marine Plan Area will need to be taken in consideration of the Welsh National Marine Plan.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:
This is our first step in ensuring we utilise our seas to the best of their potential, without having a negative impact on our marine and coastal environment.
It’s important to point out this is a living, active plan, not a plan to be put on a shelf to gather dust and be forgotten.
The far-reaching plan has been developed through extensive collaboration with those working in the marine sector and is a significant milestone in our ambitions for the sustainable management of our seas.
This plan sends a clear message on how we are planning for a more prosperous and resilient Wales where our seas will be abundant with life, as well as providing us with clean, green, and safe energy that will enrich the lives of the people of Wales.