Welsh National Marine Plan - Issue 10

9 October 2019



This is the tenth 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 autumn 2019, we want to hear your views 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. Contact details are at the bottom of the newsletter.

Lesley Griffiths emphasises the importance of the WNMP at Ocean Energy Conference

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths emphasized the importance of both Wales’ first Marine Plan and the new National Development Framework in providing strategic planning policy for future sustainable use of Welsh natural resources – both on-shore and off-shore. Speaking at the Ocean Energy Conference in Dublin on 30 September, the minister said marine energy has the potential to be at the heart of ambitious plans for Wales to become a nation powered by renewable energy sources. Over the last year Welsh Government have invested in 10 marine energy related projects to build capacity and expertise in Wales. Read more


Progress on the WNMP

The first WNMP is scheduled for publication in autumn 2019. When the plan is published it will be accompanied by a suite of documents including:

  • Summary of Changes to plan;
  • Habitats Regulation Assessment
  • Sustainability Appraisal
  • Sustainability Appraisal Addendum

Other supporting material will be provided post adoption including:

  • Implementation Guidance;
  • Monitoring and Reporting Framework,
  • Updates to the marine planning portal;
  • Updates to the Wales Marine Evidence Report;
  • Sustainability Appraisal Post Adoption Statement

Marine Planning Stakeholder Reference Group

The Marine Planning Stakeholder Reference Group (MPSRG) acts as a ‘critical friend’ throughout the marine planning process and advises us on approaches to marine planning, and specific planning outputs. The group met on 4 September to provide input to the Marine Area statement that NRW are producing and to consider one of the four themes being addressed under this Area Statement. Under the Environment (Wales) Act, Natural Resources Wales are required to create Area Statements. The objective of Area Statements is to facilitate the delivery of Welsh Government’s Natural Resources Policy using a place-based approach. They also discussed the spatial approach to plan implementation proposals. A summary of the meeting can be found here.


Swansea business secures £12 million EU funds for wave power project

More than £12 million of EU funding will be invested in a major scheme to generate clean energy from ocean waves. The funding will support the next stage of Swansea-based Marine Power Systems’ project to create and launch an underwater device capable of generating clean, affordable and reliable energy in Wales and around the world. The WaveSub device is the invention of Swansea University graduates Dr Gareth Stockman and Dr Graham Foster, who founded Marine Power Systems in 2008. Read more


TCE launches the UK’s first major offshore wind leasing round in a decade

The Crown Estate (TCE) has launched Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4, opening up the potential for at least 7 GW of new seabed rights for offshore wind development in the waters around England and Wales - enough to meet the electricity needs of over six million homes. TCE, which acts as manager of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is making four broad areas of seabed available to the market, within which potential developers will have the opportunity to bid for project sites.


Working with stakeholders they undertook extensive analysis of the technical resource and constraints on the seabed to understand which areas are likely to offer the best resource for offshore wind development at the current time. Bidding Area 4 covers the Northern Wales & Irish Sea. Round 4’s tender process commenced in October 2019 and will run until autumn 2020. Read more.


Terrestrial and Marine Planning regimes

In August the draft National Development Framework (NDF) was published for consultation. The NDF is a new land development plan which will set the direction for development in Wales from 2020 to 2040. The NDF and WNMP will identify opportunities and guide development both inshore and offshore, supporting integrated decision making and collaboration across marine and terrestrial interfaces and boundaries. The links between the two planning regimes are explained in this infographic.


You have until 1 November to respond to the consultation. If you would like more information please visit the website. The NDF team can be contacted via emailing ndf@gov.wales.


NRW's Marine and Coastal Casework Guidance project

Natural Resources Wales (NRW’s) Marine and Coastal Casework Guidance (MCCG) project was initiated in 2016 with the aim of developing consistent and proportionate guidance which will support the implementation of the WNMP. Guidance developed so far can be found here and includes:

  • Guidance to assist applicants in preparing the information required for environmental assessments e.g. guidance on benthic datasets that NRW holds, benthic survey and seaweed harvesting;
  • Guidance on the application of the new regulations that govern Environmental Impact Assessment; and
  • Guidance which further clarifies the marine licensing application process.

As the implementation phase of marine planning continues to develop, so too will guidance needs, and therefore NRW will be updating existing and creating new guidance as necessary. NRW will also be running a survey to identify guidance needs and this will be circulated to stakeholders in due course. In the meantime, please email anything you feel NRW guidance could help with to Chloe Wenman.

Fisheries and Brexit

As the UK prepares to leave the EU on 31 October 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.


On 1 October Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths gave an oral statement in the Senedd on Preparing the rural economy and fisheries sector for a 'no deal' Brexit. Stating that, "exiting the European Union without a deal would have an immediate and long-term catastrophic impact on rural communities. This Government has repeatedly made clear we must not leave without a deal that protects the interests of the environment, businesses and citizens". See the transcript here.


The Minister also attended the environment, food and rural affairs interministerial group on 9 September in London. The meeting was chaired by the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Theresa Villiers MP and focussed on the various impacts of the continuing uncertainty about when and how the UK will leave the EU and in particular the effects of a no deal exit. Read more

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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:





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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