Marine Planning for Wales - Strategic Scoping Exercise


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UK - Wales


This document presents the best currently available evidence on the state of the Welsh marine environment. This Strategic Scoping Exercise will be used to inform the development of the Welsh National Marine Plan. The evidence base presented here will be maintained and updated as marine planning in Wales develops.

Sea Basin(s): 
Application in MSP: 
Taken into account in an MSP process
Not sector specific
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Key words: 

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What is the approach to marine planning in Wales?
  • What are the key issues to be addressed through marine planning in Wales?

Implementation Context

The purpose of marine planning under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA) is to help achieve sustainable development of the marine area. Sustainable development is the central organising principle of the Welsh Government and is enshrined in the Government of Wales Act

2006. UK Administrations published the UK Marine Policy Statement (MPS) in March 2011 as part of a new system of marine planning being introduced across UK seas. The MPS will ensure an appropriate and consistent approach to marine planning across UK waters with the purpose of achieving the sustainable development of our seas by guiding marine licensing and other decisions. In Wales, marine planning is being taken forward by the Welsh Government.

The MPS requires plan-making authorities to use the best available evidence in plan making. In order to ensure that Welsh Government is in a position to do so, it has commissioned this Strategic Scoping Exercise (SSE) to assess the spatial distribution of natural resources and human activities within Wales’s marine area and to understand at a strategic level the key issues that marine planning should take account of.

Aspects / Objectives

  • Assess the spatial distribution of natural resources and human activities within Wales’s marine area
  • Identity the key issues to be addressed by marine planning in Wales


This SSE has collated and summarised the evidence base available for the Welsh Government to develop and implement the Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP). It has been structured to mirror the UK Marine Policy Statement and to reflect the likely scope of the WNMP. It includes evidence on status of the marine environment (e.g. biodiversity and geodiversity), over-arching issues (e.g. climate change; air and water quality; noise; historic environment; seascape) and specific human activities (e.g. aggregates; aquaculture; defence; navigation dredging and disposal; energy; fisheries; recreation and tourism; telecommunication cabling; transport (ports and shipping); surface water management and waste water treatment and disposal). Further evaluations are provided on the social and economic considerations of these topics for marine planning. The evidence in this SSE has been collected from a variety of public sources in the peer-reviewed and grey literature.

Main Outputs / Results

Report online at:


This scoping report applies to the marine area of Wales but may be of interest in terms of the approach to strategic scoping or the issues identified.

Contact Person

Marine Planning Team, Welsh Government

Tel: 029 2082 6470

Responsible Entity

Welsh Government

Costs / Funding Source

Welsh Government