Marine Planning - Issue 16

21 August 2020



This is the sixteenth edition of our newsletter, which will keep you up to date on the latest developments as we implement the first Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP). We published and adopted the WNMP on 12 November 2019. As we implement the plan with decision makers 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 here. Contact details are at the bottom of the newsletter.

Floating wind project given consent to progress

The Crown Estate has awarded seabed rights to developers Blue Gem Wind, for the proposed 96MW floating wind demonstration project. This is the first time that rights have been awarded for floating wind in Wales, marking a significant moment for the Welsh offshore wind sector.


The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, welcomed the announcement: 

"Welsh Government has supported the development of marine energy for many years. I am pleased to welcome this next step in harnessing the potential for energy identified in the recently published Wales National Marine Plan. We will continue to ensure projects bring sustainable jobs and investment to Wales whilst delivering on our legally binding climate commitments."

This announcement builds on two further significant offshore wind developments in Wales. Read on.


Online resources to explain more about Marine Planning

Given the current health situation, it hasn’t been possible to continue our face to face engagement with the Relevant Public Authorities (RPAs) who will need to implement the Plan. Therefore, we have produced five recorded webinars to explain more about the Marine Planning process and how to apply the WNMP. Insight from our early engagement sessions with RPAs indicated that there could be multiple teams within an organisation who will need to consider or take decisions in line with the Plan and so these webinars provide a resource for those wanted to understand more about the WNMP.

Marine Plan

The five webinars cover:

  • Overview of the Marine Planning process and Marine Planning in Wales;
  • An overview of the WNMP content including its policies;
  • WNMP technical content such as maps, sector locational guidance, RAs and SRAs;
  • Implementing the WNMP;
  • Monitoring and Reporting requirements

We will look to develop further products to meet stakeholder needs over time, so if you think there is anything further about the Marine Planning process you want to understand more about, please get in touch with the team via the mailbox. This link will take you to the Marine Planning playlist.

Making the Marine Plan more accessible

To enable easier access to the Welsh National Marine Plan policies and objectives we have developed web content on the Marine Wales website. Here you can view a summary of the eleven sectors contained within the WNMP (Aggregates, Aquaculture, Defence, Dredging and Disposal, Energy – Low Carbon, Energy – Oil and Gas, Fisheries, Ports and Shipping, Sub-sea cabling, Surface water and wastewater treatment and Disposal and Tourism and recreation) including background information about the sector, the sector’s objective and the sector policy.

Business Wales Marine


We have continued to engage with our key stakeholder groups through virtual webinars.

The Marine Planning Decision Maker’s Group comprising RPAs who have to use the WNMP in their decision making met virtually on 3 July. The group discussed plan implementation and the implementation guidance, monitoring and the Marine Planning Portal. A summary of the meeting can be found here.

The Marine Planning Stakeholder Reference Group acts as a ‘critical friend’ throughout the marine planning process and advises us on approaches to marine planning. This group met on 9 July to look at the spatial approach to planning including sector locational guidance, cross border engagement and plan implementation. A summary of the meeting can be found here.

SMMNR data published

We are continuing to make steady progress developing the marine environmental evidence base under the Sustainable Management of Marine Natural Resources (SMMNR) programme of work. The SMMNR is funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). ABPmer have been commissioned to collate and interpret environmental evidence in relation to tidal stream energy, wave energy and aquaculture resources in Wales.


Last year we established Expert Panels comprising stakeholders with an interest in these fields of work to input to marine planning advice. The Expert Panels have met regularly throughout the last year and inputted to the developing environmental evidence packages for the focus sectors.


Despite some challenging weather conditions last July, multibeam surveys were carried out off the north-west coast of Pembrokeshire and west coast of Anglesey. Data collected from these surveys has been supplemented by drop-down video surveys to provide broad-scale characterisation of benthic habitats within these areas.


We’ve now published the preliminary results of the drop-down video surveys. This new data, along with the relevant evidence already identified in the marine environmental evidence base for Wales project, will be used to inform assessments of environmental constraints and opportunities relevant to the development of these sectors. Related work is progressing in relation to the aggregate industry. Read more


Embedding proportionality in our marine advice

Lucie Skates from the Marine Planning team has written an article for the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) “Transform” magazine on NRW’s work to embed proportionality in marine advice. Lucie discusses Welsh government’s aim to deliver sustainable outcomes in a consistent and efficient way that minimises burdens with the WNMP being the catalyst for this work. Read the article here.


Update from the Minister on the National Development Framework

An update has been issued by Julie James MS Minister for Housing and Local Government on the National Development Framework which is available to view here.


Contact us

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



We published the first Welsh National Marine Plan on 12 November 2019. It sets out our policy for the next 20 years for the sustainable use of our seas.

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