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Countryside Council for Wales
Landscape & wildlife Please note - A new body, Natural Resources Wales has taken over all functions and services previously carried out by Countryside Council for Wales. While the Natural Resources Wales website continues to be developed, some online services will continue to be provided on this web site.

Marine spatial planning

As we use our seas and coasts more and more – for leisure or for economic reasons – the pressure on and the threat to the natural environment will also grow.

Many activities along our coast are regulated. However, as there are various sectors involved with different aspects of managing our seas and coasts, there is currently no co-ordinated planning system for the UK’s seas and for developing these regulations.

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is therefore a way to carry out co-ordinated forward planning. Governments are now beginning to recognise the potential of this wider, longer term approach as a means to manage conflicting uses of the sea, the effects of human activities and marine protection.

Implementing MSP raises a number of questions. These include:

  • How will MSP relate to licensing and consenting?
  • How will the planning process be managed?
  • Who will have overall responsibility?

Liverpool Bay trial MSP

Liverpool Bay served as a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) pilot area for a marine spatial plan. Among its conclusions, this pilot project found that MSP:

  • should be a statutory system;
  • should be implemented at a regional scale with co-operation between devolved administrations;
  • plan for a 20 year period, subject to review every five years.

The UK Government is currently considering MSP and these conclusions will form part of the process.


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Postal address
The land and sea use team
C/O Enquiries
LL57 2DW
Telephone number
0845 1306229
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