The public consultation was announced to Parliament in a Written Ministerial Statement from Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon. These are the first two of 11 marine plans to be delivered for England, and England is one of the first countries in the world to plan across all marine activities.
The seas around England are vitally important to the nation. The UK marine economy is currently worth more than £47 billion annually, and has the potential to increase significantly. England's seas also matter to people and wildlife. Marine plans will inform and guide marine users and regulators, managing the sustainable development of marine industries taking account of local communities and the need to protect leisure uses and the environment.
It is hoped that the reduced costs and increased certainty provided by marine planning will create greater development opportunities leading to increased economic and employment benefits for coastal communities.
Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: “We are doing more than ever to protect our marine environment.
“Effective marine planning is a crucial part of this, and provides benefits for people, industry and wildlife. I would encourage everyone with an interest to take part in the consultation.”
Paul Gilliland, the MMO’s Head of Marine Planning, added: “Marine plans will be of interest to anyone who enjoys our coastline and seas, or relies on our marine area to make a living. We want to hear from as many people as possible – from those living on the coast to major developers - and will be holding a series of public drop-in sessions during July and August.
"Our seas are facing unprecedented and competing demands, so this is an ideal time for marine planning to begin in these areas, to help meet that challenge in a way that provides for people, industry and wildlife.”
The MMO is accountable to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Patterson, who will approve each plan for consultation and adoption.
The views of all those with an interest in the East marine areas are vital to the plan making process. As well as offering an online consultation tool, we are holding nine drop-in sessions along the East coast to ensure as many people as possible know about the draft plans and have their say. We also have a short animation film to explain marine planning.
The sessions will run from 10am-8pm at the following locations:
Tuesday 23 July, Felixstowe Town Hall
Wednesday 24 July, Slaughden Sailing Club, Aldeburgh
Thursday 25 July, Orbis Centre, Lowestoft
Tuesday 30 July, Alderman Peel High School Nr Wells next Sea
Wednesday 31July, Your Business networks, Kings Lynn
Thursday 1 August, Black Sluice Centre, Boston
Tuesday 6 August, North Shore Hotel and Golf Club, Nr Skegness
Wednesday 7 August, Grimsby Town Hall
Thursday 8 August, The Deep, Hull.
The consultation begins today (16 July) and will run for 12 weeks, until 8 October. You can submit your comments online and read the plans.