Outline contents listing and main points for WEL Marine

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					                                                                 WL-C-59 Wales Environment Link –28th April 05



Safeguarding the Marine Environment

Wales has a rich natural and cultural maritime heritage. Wales’ territorial sea extends a distance of 12
nautical miles from the coast, so if the territorial sea is included then more than 40% of the area of
Wales is actually sea! In addition over 70% of the coastline of Wales is designated for its conservation
or heritage interest. As well as the species, habitats and physical features that comprise the marine
ecosystem our marine environment is also rich in resources of economic and social importance to us,
such as food and energy sources.

As the UK governments recent health check on the “state of our seas” revealed the marine
environment surrounding the UK is under severe pressure from human or human induced activities
(such as fisheries and climate change) at the moment. The laws and institutions designed to manage
the marine environment have developed piecemeal over time and are now struggling to provide an
effective framework for managing the range of activities that impact upon our marine environment.

In Wales we place special prominence on sustainable development, including the sustainable use and
protection of our natural environment and resources. Wales Environment Link (WEL) is urging the
government to adopt a number of measures to improve marine protection. These are listed below and
highlight our concerns about the current lack of protection for our marine heritage – including species,
habitats and our archaeological heritage in UK seas.

Our sister organisations, Wildlife and Countryside Link and Scottish Environment Link are leading
campaigns with their respective Parliaments to secure improved legislation and reform for the way our
marine resource is managed.

Our aim is to see a diverse and thriving marine ecosystem, providing a base for people to benefit from
the resources the seas can provide us with, if sustainably used and managed. We believe as a
minimum the following principles need to be at the heart of government decision making on marine
matters, and the following steps taken to achieve this aim.

Principles
We believe that the following principles should govern our approach to managing the use of the
marine environment :

   Adopt an ecosystem approach
   The polluter should pay
   The precautionary principle should inform decision making and actions
   The presumption should be to prevent harm to marine habitats and species
   Integrated management and conservation is needed between sectors with stakeholder
    participation in the planning process
   Good governance requires transparent and open government.
   The Welsh Assembly Government should endeavour to promote at all times the sustainable
    development principles and actions as set out in the National Assembly for Wales’ SD Scheme
    and the Governments’ SD Action Plan, to the limit of UK jurisdiction.
   Be adaptive – circumstances change, so flexibility and responsiveness needs to be built into the
    system


How can we safeguard the marine environment?
Through sustainable management by …

Improved governance and organisation
We note that to manage the marine environment sustainably Wales and the Assembly might actually
require additional powers.

   Enshrine a general purpose of marine nature and heritage conservation in statute, and place a
    duty of care on all competent authorities to further this purpose
                                                                  WL-C-59 Wales Environment Link –28th April 05



   There is a need to clarify and define the roles and responsibilities of Ministers, government and its
    agencies with responsibility for the marine environment
   Appropriate arrangements at UK and Welsh level are needed to facilitate simpler, more
    transparent and streamlined decision making and introduce greater certainty in the consents and
    licensing process
   Coordination and integration of responsibilities and activities with regard to management of the
    marine environment, backed up by appropriately resourced regulatory and advisory bodies with
    enforcement powers sufficient to achieve goals is required :
        o Internally within the Welsh Assembly Government departments
        o Between WAG and other appropriate agencies (Welsh and UK)
        o With UK government and the devolved authorities
   Stakeholders need to be engaged at all stages in decision-making processes, with procedures
    and structure (such as local ICZM) to facilitate local input and participation in marine and coastal
    planning and resources management
   Reduce and make more transparent the existing self-regulating activities of government impacting
    upon the marine environment, for example use of Crown Exemption and Government Views
    procedures.

Using tools for sustainable management
There are a number of tools available to government and its sponsored bodies to provide greater
protection and more sustainable management of the marine environment.

   Marine Spatial Planning - providing a framework for planning the use of the sea.
       Spatial planning systems should play a central role in promoting sustainability helping us to
        regulate use of resources, protect and enhance the marine environment and integrate sectoral
        policies affecting the marine environment.
       The system adopted in Wales and by the UK could include a series of nested plans,
        appropriate in scale that set out what, where and how development and protection of the
        marine environment should occur.
       We need to move to a system of plan led, as opposed to the current demand led,
        development in the marine environment.
   Information and evidence base – we need :
        o An inventory and common data sets for the marine environment (natural and historic), a
           comprehensive survey of the UK continental shelf and detailed information on sensitive
           areas,
        o An ongoing monitoring programmes with appropriate levels of access to marine data.
        o To ensure WAG is able to draw on available and relevant advice from all competent
           authorities (eg. JNCC).
   Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) should be taken for all major programmes and
    proposals for our regional sea. SEA and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) should
    consider cumulative and in combination impacts.
   Integrated Coastal Zone Management plans and strategies need to be in place, offering an
    interface for integrating terrestrial planning with marine spatial planning.

Providing effective protection
The marine environment contains historic and natural features of importance that need effective
protection, with equal value placed on the conservation of important marine features as exists for the
terrestrial.

To achieve this a number of actions are required.

   Bring together data and identify gaps where a detailed survey of the marine environment is
    required to identify key habitats, species and sites of nature and heritage significance in Welsh
    waters.
                                                                  WL-C-59 Wales Environment Link –28th April 05



   A network of designated significant marine protected areas and marine historic assets with
    appropriate designation, protection and consents mechanisms.
   Enable better protection of marine wildlife through extension of existing enforcement powers to
    agencies that operate in marine environment, and use of bylaw powers available to local
    authorities to pro-actively protect marine wildlife.
   Marine Environmental High Risk Areas (MEHRAs) should be designated with associated
    procedures in place to deal with the defined risk to the marine environment.
   Management should be on an ecosystem basis.
   Ensure that the current statutory designation review reflects the special characteristics of the
    Welsh marine historic environment
   Adopt a single statutory definition of marine historic asset to replace the piecemeal nature of the
    various designations that apply underwater
   Further research will be required to identify the working of the marine ecosystem.

Managing Resources
   Implement reform in Welsh territorial waters of fishing policy to enable regeneration of stocks
    using a range of restoration tools and mechanisms.
   The regulation and enforcement roles of the Sea Fisheries Inspectorate and Sea Fisheries
    Committees needs to be strengthened and adequately resourced, providing both better
    management of fisheries and retaining local relevance and responsibility to Wales resource
   Ensure that new statutory regulations for marine aggregates dredging are implemented
    appropriately to minimise environmental impacts, particularly the – Interim Marine Aggregates
    Dredging Policy (IMADP). The principles and procedures of these regulations should be
    extended to cover the whole of Wales.