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Displaying items by tag: Marine Spatial Planning

The new Maritime Area Planning Bill is not solely designed “to help the offshore renewable sector get what it needs”, Coastwatch co-ordinator Karin Dubsky has warned.

The legislation, which marks a first for the State in marine planning, is “for all of us, and we have to watch that there isn’t a shortcut”, Dubsky said.

Her environmental group has called on the Government to specify protection of seagrass beds in the new legislation which comes before the Oireachtas this term.

Seagrass or Zostera marina is the inshore equivalent of coral reefs or tropical rainforests in nurturing habitats for diverse species and helping to filter sediments and keep shorelines stable.

“Seagrass can be found in sandy, muddy areas, such as near the high tide mark in Sligo. Short seagrass lawns have been well studied by the Environmental Protection Authority,”Dubsky said.

“The seagrass meadows rich in molluscs, fish and lobster are more difficult to find and the roots of this grass like to find shelter and clean water,”she said.

“Seagrass is incredibly important for climate change adaptation, and the meadows are totally understudied in Ireland,”she said

“Present legislation is chaotic, so it needs to be listed and mapped for protection,”she said.

“If the new Bill can state that seagrass is protected wherever it occurs, that would be very positive, “she said

Several Irish seagrass habitats are threatened by an invasive species known as “wire weed” or Sargassum muticum, she explained.

“These are some of our most valuable blue carbon habitats”, Dubsky said.

She hosted a special event at St Patrick’s Bridge near Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford last week to highlight the issue.

The new Maritime Area Planning Bill is geared to ensure regulated development of offshore wind farms, but gives local authorities a role in managing inshore coastal areas, she pointed out.

By specifying certain habitats requiring protection, this would empower local authorities to protect seagrass and to remove invasive species like Sargassum muticum, Dubsky said.

Seagrass beds in Co Wexford, in Bantry Bay, Co Cork and at Fenit in Tralee bay, Co Kerry are at risk from the invasive species, which is at its most dense in May and June, she said.

She said the protection needs to be acted upon now, as planned separate legislation on marine protected areas could take some years.

“There is huge potential to get things right, but also a huge potential to miss the boat as there is so much marine and coastal development now,”she said.

Karin Dubsky spoke to Wavelengths below

Published in Wavelength Podcast

The Marine Institute is recruiting for a number of temporary roles relating to marine spatial planning and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

These eight positions include three team leader roles, in environmental data reporting and co-ordination, data services co-ordination, and biogeochemistry; and three scientific and technical officer roles, as data analyst, spatial data analyst and services developer, and in marine biodiversity and foodwebs, respectively.

In addition, there is a competition for a section manager to support marine spatial planning policy and MSP/MSFD co-ordination, and an executive officer (administrative assistant) role to support the MSP and MSFD teams.

All roles form part of the Service Level Agreement with the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government delivering outputs relating to marine spatial planning, the MSFD and related activities.

The posts are all located in Galway and in place until 31 December 2023. Applications should be submitted no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 30 June. All details on these roles and how to apply are on the Marine Institute website HERE.

Published in Jobs

Due to the current situation regarding Covid-19, upcoming public events on the National Marine Planning Framework planned for Kinsale next Monday 23 March and Wexford on Tuesday 31 March have been cancelled.

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government says its Marine Planning Policy and Development team are available via [email protected] to answer any queries in relation to the draft framework.

The closing date for the receipt of submissions for the public consultation on the draft remains 3pm on the Thursday 9 April.

Published in Coastal Notes

Public meetings to discuss marine spatial planning and the Government’s draft national framework resume this evening in Arklow, with a focus on offshore renewable energy.

The Arklow Bay Hotel will host the event from 6pm to 8pm, with speakers from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government; Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environmental; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI); and Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA).

The next event on the calendar is next Monday 17 February, at St Laurence’s in TU Dublin, Grangegorman from 11am to 1pm, with a focus on the marine environment.

Previously postponed events in Killybegs (on fisheries, LYIT School of Tourism), Kinsale (also fisheries, Kinsale Hotel & Spa) and Wexford town (ports and harbours, Wexford Town Library) have been rescheduled for Monday 2 March, Monday 23 March and Tuesday 31 March respectively, all from 6pm to 8pm.

Published in Coastal Notes

As Afloat reported yesterday, the Government launched its Consultation Draft of the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF). Lead by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG), the draft document aims to create a “co-ordinated and coherent approach to decision-making and governance” in respect to marine planning. It includes planning for development proposals by sports, recreation and tourism bodies, which in turn covers the all-important Foreshore Licence.

Applying for a Foreshore Licence

Currently, any change or introduction of infrastructure below the high-water mark, e.g. marinas, pontoons, slipways, moorings, must apply for a Foreshore Licence. The application is divided up between two Departments (Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, and the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment) and can be a very time consuming, expensive and cumbersome process in some cases taking a number of years to complete which is a deterrent for any provider looking to develop facilities along the foreshore. There is also no link currently to local authority planning. As a result, we have very poor marine infrastructure around our coasts. The aim of the NMPF is to create a more streamlined approach for developing marine infrastructure and link applications and planning to local authorities and county development plans.

Irish Sailing & the Advisory Group

Harry Hermon, CEO of Irish Sailing sits on the Advisory Group working with the DHPLG on the proposed framework. The Advisory Group is made up of representatives from sport, tourism, fisheries, environmental agencies, local government, harbours, energy, and many others with an interest in the marine.

As Hermon describes it “we’ve been advocating continuously on this for many years so that members of the sailing community can work closely with local authorities to develop infrastructure on a county basis. If this goes through, clubs and centres will be able to apply directly to their local authority instead of the cumbersome and convoluted process that exists currently. I urge everyone to attend the Consultation Meetings set up by the Department and have their voices heard”.

Planning Policies

In the 196-page document, there are two key areas that are perhaps most relevant for sailing organisations: the sections on “Sport and Recreation” p.158, and “Tourism” p.168. The sections lay out a series of planning policies which include objectives to increase participation in water-based sports, improve access to marine and coastal resources, and the sustainable development of outdoor recreation facilities.

You can read the full document here

Get Your Voice Heard

The Department has set up regional public events outlined here, and you can read the full list here

Date

Time

Venue

21/11/2019

14:00 – 16:00

Greenhills Hotel, Limerick

21/11/2019

18:00 – 20:00

Greenhills Hotel, Limerick

26/11/2019

14:00 – 16:00

Town Hall, Westport

26/11/2019

18:00 – 20:00

Town Hall, Westport

02/12/2019

14:00 – 16:00

Connaught Hotel, Galway 

02/12/2019

18:00 – 20:00

Connaught Hotel, Galway 

10/12/2019

14:00 – 16:00

Meadowlands Hotel, Tralee

10/12/2019

18:00 – 20:00

Meadowlands Hotel, Tralee

Published in Environment

The steps towards delivering a planning system for the seas around Ireland has been set–out by Government this week. 

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy and Minister Damien English published the 'roadmap' on Wednesday. 'Towards a Marine Spatial Plan for Ireland' is a 'roadmap' for the development of Ireland’s first marine spatial plan which ultimately aims to balance the different demands for using the sea including the need to protect the marine environment. It's about planning when and where human activities take place at sea. It’s about ensuring these activities are as efficient and sustainable as possible.

As an island nation, with sovereign rights over one of the largest marine areas in Europe, Ireland’s economy, culture and society is inextricably linked to the sea. Our marine environment is a national asset that yields multiple commercial and non-commercial benefits in terms, for example of seafood, tourism, recreation, renewable energy, oil and gas, cultural heritage, and biodiversity. The future sustainable development of our marine area affects many people. In order to create places and spaces where people can work, live and enjoy, those with an interest can have their say in the marine planning process.

Driven by the EU, it will ultimately give local or national authorities new powers beyond the current system of foreshore licensing requirements, effectively introducing a planning system for our seas.

This week's publication 'roadmap' document marks the first stage in the development of Ireland’s marine spatial plan. 

Minister Murphy said that:

“Ireland is a maritime nation and we derive so much of our cultural, social and economic identity from our relationship with the seas that surround us. We are fortunate to have one of the largest and richest marine resources of all EU Member States. The Government has set out clear and ambitious objectives under Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) - Ireland’s integrated marine plan - to enable our marine potential to be realised. For example, we aim to double the value of our ocean wealth to 2.4% of GDP by 2030 and increase the turnover from our ocean economy to exceed €6.4bn by 2020. Reaching these goals will mean significant growth in seafood production and aquaculture, maritime transport, marine renewable energy, marine biotechnology and ICT, marine and coastal tourism and leisure. At the same time, we also recognise the importance of our rich marine biodiversity and ecosystems to our ocean wealth. We need a marine spatial plan to provide a coherent strategic spatial framework encompassing all plans and sectoral policies for the marine area that also ensures the sustainable management of our marine environment.”

The MSP for Ireland, which will be developed over the next 3 years, will provide a coherent framework in which specific sectoral policies and objectives can be realised. It is intended to become a decision making tool for regulatory authorities and policy makers into the future in a number of ways including, decisions on individual consent applications which will have to have regard to the provisions of the plan in the same way that terrestrial plans form part of the decision making tool-kit in the on-land planning process. It is also intended to form a key input to the development of future sectoral policies, similar to role of the National Planning Framework, Ireland 2040, in terms of terrestrial sectoral policy development.

Minister English, who has specific responsibility for implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, said that:

“a clear framework for MSP, as a parallel to the National Planning Framework, Ireland2040, will bring a new level of coherence to how we plan and manage our marine resource. For example, a marine spatial plan will support sustainable environmental management of marine areas, improved certainty and predictability for private investments, lower transaction costs for maritime businesses and improved competitiveness for our marine sectors, improved use of sea space and coexistence of uses in coastal zones and marine waters. The plan will also ensure that our coastal regions and communities continue to be attractive places to live and work.”

Published in Coastal Notes

Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020