Marine Planning - Issue 18

9 December 2020



This is the eighteenth 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.

The year in summary

In the year since the Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP) was launched the Marine Planning team have focussed on plan implementation. Despite the challenges faced in 2020 work has continued steadily to provide Relevant Public Authorities (RPA) and other plan users with resources to help them implement the Plan. In the Summer we published the Implementation Guidance (IG) which guides the practical application of the WNMP and is a consideration for RPAs in taking decisions which may affect the plan area.


With face to face engagement on hold we’ve produced five recorded webinars to explain more about the Marine Planning process and how to apply the WNMP. We are also working with stakeholders on a Marine Planning Governance document that provides technical and plan guidance information about sectors operating within the Welsh Marine Plan area.


Progress has been made to monitor and report on the plan’s effectiveness. In January, we published the Monitoring and Reporting (M&R) Framework which outlines the strategic approach to develop indicators for monitoring the implementation of a plan-led system for Welsh waters. Since then we have been working to develop a suite of indicators for monitoring the implementation and effects of the Plan. This month we have launched a M&R survey, seeking views of stakeholders, see below.


Work is also progressing on the spatial approach we are taking to Marine Planning which includes further development of the Marine Planning Portal, the Sustainable Management of Marine Natural Resources project, development of Sector Locational Guidance (SLG) and consideration of identification of Strategic Resource Areas (SRAs) to apply WNMP safeguarding policy. We will continue to further develop this work in 2021.


Monitoring and Reporting – we want your views

We have commissioned a User survey to help us gather information about awareness of the WNMP and how it has been used in the 12 months since it was adopted. Participation in this survey is voluntary. However your views and experiences are important in order to help inform marine planning and the implementation of the WNMP. Find out more here.


The marine consenting process in Wales

The Welsh Government’s Marine Licensing Policy team have produced two summary infographics:   

  • A marine renewable consenting infographic provides an overview of consenting for marine renewable energy projects in Welsh waters. The infographic highlights who the relevant consenting authority is for energy projects of differing scales and the legislation that applies.
  • A Marine Licence Determination infographic explains the range of legislation which governs the marine licensing process in Wales.

Natural Resources Wales administers and determines marine licence applications under Part 4 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, acting on behalf of the Welsh Ministers. More information on marine licensing can be found here.

SLG – Get in touch

In our last newsletter we updated on the work to develop Sector Locational Guidance (SLG) for the aquaculture, tidal stream energy and wave energy sectors. We want to ensure stakeholders help us shape this work and we’re keen to hear from you if you are working within these sectors. Following a query around the scope of the aquaculture focus sector we can confirm this will cover finfish, shellfish, and algae as distinct sub-sectors. We’re particularly keen to hear from those involved in cultivating seaweed, due to the developing nature of this activity and its future potential in Welsh waters. For more information email


New compensation report published

We’ve published a report on Mitigation and Compensation Opportunity in Marine Consenting. This report reviews statutory compensation requirements and presents current knowledge and approaches to securing marine compensation (including a spreadsheet on impact pathways and mitigation). ABPMer were commissioned by Welsh Government to produce the report and have highlighted a number of areas for further consideration and discussion with stakeholders.

Marine Planning Stakeholder Reference Group

The MPSRG acts as a ‘critical friend’ throughout the marine planning process and advises us on approaches to marine planning. We’ve met with the group five times throughout 2020. At the meeting on 11 November we discussed our spatial approach to Marine Planning including potential SRAs, SLG and the Marine Planning Portal. There was an update on the SMMNR project and presentations from Atkins on the SLG contract and from the Government of Ireland on their National Marine Planning Framework. A summary of the meeting can be found here.

NRW Marine News

Carbon in Welsh seas

A new study commissioned by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has revealed the important role our seas and coasts play in capturing and storing large amounts of carbon. According to its findings, each year, the marine environment in Wales locks away carbon amounting to the equivalent annual emissions of 64,800 cars or 115,600 return flights from Cardiff to the Canary Islands.


Carbon is stored in living organisms such as seagrass and shellfish, and in non-living forms, such as in sediment on the seabed and in the shells of marine animals. Of all the “blue carbon” habitats looked at in the report, saltmarshes were among the most efficient at taking in carbon and placing it in long term storage. Many “blue carbon” habitats are already protected through Wales’ extensive marine protected area network.

Management of these areas aims to protect and enhance the condition of habitats and increase the resilience of marine ecosystems. Through protecting, restoring and enhancing blue carbon habitats, we can ensure the marine environment continues to play an important role in Wales’ response to the climate emergency.

The full report can be found here.

Save the date: Welsh Marine and Coastal Collaborative online event

Following the Marine Area Statement launch earlier this year, NRW are hosting an online event on the 13th and 14th January 2021: Our coasts and seas: Turning Ideas into Action. The event will bring together partners and stakeholders with an interest in Wales’ marine and coastal environment. It will provide a platform for collaboration, networking and information sharing at a local and regional scale, with the aim of exploring and developing ideas for projects, that could be taken forward.

We hope the event will help us all work together, to identify and develop practical projects to address the priorities and opportunities for Welsh coasts and seas. Registration is now open for a limited time. Visit Our Coasts and Seas for more information and to sign up.

Please do circulate this invitation among your colleagues, partners and networks. If you wish to contribute to this event please contact:

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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