Welsh National Marine Plan - Issue 4

10 December 2018



This is the fourth edition of our newsletter which will keep you up to date on the latest developments as we move towards adopting and implementing the first Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP). As we finalise the plan, scheduled for 2019, we want to ensure the views of stakeholders are considered so please get in touch with us or share this newsletter with your networks. For those new to the newsletter you can find our old editions on the website.  If you are sharing this newsletter with your own networks they can also subscribe to receive the newsletter on that webpage. Contact details are at the bottom of the newsletter.

The year in Summary

This time last year we launched our consultation on the draft Welsh National Marine Plan. To support the consultation we held a number of local drop-in events and the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs led a debate in the Senedd. We were pleased to receive over 80 responses to the consultation. A number of key themes arose from the consultation and we have spent the summer looking into the further detail with members of the Marine Planning Stakeholder Reference Group (MPSRG).


We established a Marine Planning Decision Makers Group and are working with this group to ensure we support public authorities who will need to take decisions in line with the plan when it comes into force. We’ve also recently published a frequently asked questions. This week we will meet with the MPSRG and will be discussing with them our proposals to allow final feedback on our approach. This will inform the decisions the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs will take on next steps for the WNMP.


As the year draws to a close we want to thank you all for your input and feedback in helping us develop the first national plan for our seas and in particular the members of the MPSRG for their commitment and time in helping us shape the approach. We look forward to another productive year and to welcoming the first Welsh National Marine Plan in 2019.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Chair of WMAAG Peter Davies shares his thoughts on the WNMP

As independent chair of the Wales Marine Action and Advisory Group (WMAAG) for the last 5 years I have had a perspective on the development of the Wales Marine Plan. It has been a long time in the making with its origins in the 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act. The plan aims to set out a framework for the sustainable development of our marine environment, enabling better management of the increasing demands of our seas, providing direction on what we want to achieve for our marine area.


The long process of development means that much of the work pre dates our new legislative framework but the publication of the plan in its final form in the summer of 2019 should fully reflect the requirements of our Well Being of Future Generations and Environment Acts. This publication will represent both the first step in a long term process of marine development, but also the culmination of an extensive period of stakeholder engagement in plan design. Read more

How will the Environment Act and Marine Planning work together?

The Environment (Wales) Act provides a new framework supporting the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) in Wales. Under the Environment Act, Natural Resources Wales must produce a State of Natural Resources Report and Area Statements to support the delivery of Welsh Ministers’ Natural Resources Policy. Marine Planning is a new tool that will ensure a more integrated approach to decision-making for activities that happen in the marine environment. 


This summer we met with stakeholders to discuss ecosystem interactions and SMNR in the context of the plan and the concept of Strategic Resource Areas. Building on these discussions, Natural Resources Wales has set out how marine planning and the Environment Act can work together to support the sustainable planning and management of Wales’ marine resources. Find out more.

Monitoring and Reporting of the Plan

Since the summer we have established a task and finish group of the Marine Planning Stakeholder Reference Group (MPSRG) to provide advice on monitoring and reporting on the WNMP. To support this work, we have let a contract: Welsh National Marine Plan: Identification of key indicators to inform development of an integrated monitoring and reporting framework. The aim is to commission a set of example indicators, which the Monitoring and Reporting sub-group will then consider as we develop a monitoring and reporting framework for the WNMP. The project will report end of January 2019.


Finance Secretary sets out marine energy ambition for Wales

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has set out Wales’ ambition to become a leading country in the development of marine energy. He delivered the keynote speech at the Ocean Energy Europe conference and exhibition at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, where the Welsh Government hosted a trade stand with 16 Welsh companies. Read more


Cross border engagement

Welsh Government representatives attended the Tidal Dee Catchment Partnership and the annual Severn Estuary Partnership conference. Rachel Mulholland and Stacey Clarke presented jointly with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on developments on the WNMP, marine planning, cross border engagement and how feedback on the draft WNMP is being incorporated into the final plan. There was a positive response at both events towards the WNMP with questions mainly focussed on plan implementation.


Welsh Government representatives also attended and contributed to a workshop on ‘Bridging the Gap: Cross-Border Marine Planning in the Severn Estuary’ arranged by the Severn Estuary Partnership for the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on 3 December. Rachel Mulholland presented an update on the developing WNMP and took part in sessions on co-ordinating across marine plan boundaries and moving towards a more joined up system of land and sea planning.

Irish Sea Maritime Forum

In October Marine Planning Policy Officer Patrick Cowdy represented Welsh Government at the first meeting between the Irish Sea Maritime Forum (ISMF) steering group and the Irish Sea Centre in the Isle of Man. The meeting, which included other Government departments, considered how both organisations can work collaboratively to sustain and conserve the Irish Sea. In addition to the steering group the visit included meetings with a number of key stakeholders and visits to various sites of significance to the Irish Sea.


The ISMF is holding its biennial conference in Cardiff on 15 January. The event will bring together stakeholders from across the Irish Sea to learn about and discuss issues of current and shared interest. Find out more and register here.

ITT issued

The invitation to tender (ITT) for the contract to deliver the second phase of the ‘Sustainable management of marine natural resources’ project has been issued and can be accessed via Sell2Wales/eTender Wales/OJEU, with a closing date for bids of 17 December 2018.


Want the latest news on Fisheries and preparing for Brexit?

As the UK prepares to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, it is a time of change and uncertainty for the fishing industry. We have produced a bulletin to keep stakeholders updated on what support is available, to help you prepare your business and to help you understand the implications of Brexit on the fishing industry in Wales. Sign up here.


Contact us

For any queries, relating to this newsletter, or anything else please get in touch with us via the mailbox or visit our webpages:



Please note the website is currently under construction as we move to a new system. If there is anything you want further information on please contact the team.



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

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