The South Inshore and Offshore Marine Plans, produced by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), were created to make sure the right activities take place, in the right way, and in the right place.
This webpage is a simple introduction to the South Marine Plan, written by Dorset Coast Forum.
What is the South Marine Plan?
The coast is a busy place. Lots of activities, both recreational and commercial, happen in this relatively small area between the beach and out to 12nm. The South Inshore Marine Plan covers this area, and the South Offshore Marine plan reaches from 12nm to the UK’s marine territorial border with France. The South Marine Plan provides marine and coastal users, and regulators, with the information they need to decide on what activities might take place where in the area.
The South Inshore and South Offshore Marine Plans have been combined into one document; The South Marine Plan. This plan covers the whole of the Dorset coast and beyond; to Dover to the East and the river Dart to the West. It applies national policies into a local context and aims to ensure that the decisions made consider the economic and environmental sustainability, and the impacts, of the activity. It also enables efficient use of space, highlighting the need and opportunities for co-existence in areas with high concentration of activity. It clarifies where co-existence is not appropriate, and where activities should be avoided.
The South Marine Plan has 12 main objectives, which have been summarised below, please refer to the Plan for the full descriptions.
- Co-existence: encouraging activities that can take place in the same space to do so where possible and to help resolve conflicts between activities
- Infrastructure: to encourage new buildings and structures on the coast that support marine and coastal activity, while also considering the impacts on the area
- Diversification: to encourage an appropriate range of activities that support coastal communities
- Employment & skills: to increase job opportunities for all skill levels in coastal communities
- Displacement: to avoid the loss of marine activities which are important to the local coastal communities
- Public access: to maintain and improve public access within, and to, the area
- Climate change: to take actions which help to prevent climate change and encourage adaptations that need to be made
- Heritage assets: to protect the areas and structures which are of importance to the area’s history and culture
- Seascape & landscape: to consider the importance and benefits received from the landscape and seascape
- Marine Protected Areas: to support designated areas which are protected by law for their wildlife, habitat and geological value
- Directives: to complement the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive by reducing marine litter, invasive species and underwater noise
- Natural environment: to protect and conserve the natural marine environment
How do I use the South Marine Plan?
The first step is to refer to the South Marine Plan to decide which policies are relevant to you or your organisation. Then, these policies can be found in more details in the Technical Annex, such as: context to the policy, why the policy is important and how the policy will be implemented. Both of these documents can be found of the MMO’s website here > You can then use these policies to shape your plans and activities in the area.
The Explore Marine Plans > is a useful tool that complements the Marine Plan and breaks down the policies into categories such as ‘Aquaculture and Fishing’, ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Tourism and Recreation’. This can be useful to refer to if you’re looking to comment on a licence which is out for consultation.
Find out more
South Coastal Planner | Marine Management Organisation (Charlotte covers from the River Dart, Devon to the River Hamble, Hampshire).
The Quay | Brixham | Devon | TQ5 8AW
Marine Planner (South), Marine Planning Team (Zia covers from the Isle of Wight to Folkestone in Kent).