1. What is Marine Spatial Planning?
Marine spatial planning is a process that brings together multiple users of the ocean to make informed and coordinated decisions about how to use marine resources sustain-ably. It is a process by which the relevant public authorities analyse and organise human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives.
2. What governs this process?
The main objectives of maritime spatial planning as laid out in the above EU Directive are as follows :
- When establishing and implementing maritime spatial planning, Member States shall consider economic, social and environmental aspects to support sustainable development and growth in the maritime sector, applying an ecosystem based approach, and to promote the coexistence of relevant activities and uses.
- Through their maritime spatial plans, Member States shall aim to contribute to the sustainable development of energy sectors at sea, of maritime transport, and of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, and to the preservation, protection and improvement of the environment, including resilience to climate change impacts. In addition, Member States may pursue other objectives such as the promotion of sustainable tourism and the sustainable extraction of raw materials.
- This Directive is without prejudice to the competence of Member States to determine how the different objectives are reflected and weighted in their maritime spatial plan or plans
3. Who can get involved and make submissions?
The marine plans are for anyone who has an interest in the marine plan areas. However, there are certain sectors that are immediately recognisable as playing a key part in marine planning, such as:
- defence and national security;
- offshore renewable energy;
- oil and gas exploration and production;
- local coastal communities and elected members;
- local authorities;
- marine aggregates;
- environmental organisations, including marine conservation;
- cultural heritage;
- marine dredging and disposal;
- ports and shipping;
- telecommunications and cabling;
- tourism and recreation;
- waste water treatment and disposal.
This is not an exclusive list and will be expanded as the process proceeds according to the Government.
4. How do I make a submission?
Anybody who wants to become involved in the MSP process may make contact in writing by email at :
or by post to :
Marine Spatial Planning Section,
Department of Housing,
Planning and Local Government,
5. Are SOS making a submission?
Yes. We will be making a submission in the coming days. We have highlighted how the proposed Plastic Factory will create contaminated waste waters as a by-product of their production processes & their cleaning processes. The transport of Plastic Nurdles to and from the factory will also create many opportunities for contamination of the environment and waterways. We have written extensively on the damage that such Nurdles will do to the marine environment in both our rivers and seas. We have also highlighted the lack of reporting into the possible effects on the Special Areas of Conservation at Lough Hyne and Roaring Water Bay & the Islands. There are also dangers to existing economies, especially the shellfish industry based in Roaring Water Bay.
We will be highlighting in our submission the complete disregard for the potential damage this Thermoplastic Compounds Facility could cause to Marine life and the damage that could be done to existing jobs that are dependent on our healthy and thriving marine ecosystems.
These concerns and the lack of statutory oversight or investigation by local Government during this planning process have highlighted the need in Skibbereen and West Cork for stronger regulatory policies in protecting our Atlantic from developments that would adversely impact marine life and the many jobs that are sustained by the sea in food, tourism and leisure. It would be a disaster for West Cork and Skibbereen if the huge interest that has been developed nationally and internationally through the Wild Atlantic Way marketing campaign was squandered for a plastic factory. Especially now as awareness about plastics and the pollution they cause to our seas and shores is now the environmental topic of the day.
This is an opportunity for everyone concerned to make their voices known so that this process is one that takes into account the views, aspirations, fears and hopes of the local community.
If you have any questions or require any assistance in making a submission, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
6. What happens to our submissions?
Responses will inform the next steps in the process, including the development of objectives and policies in the draft plan. All submissions received will be subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection legislation.
7. More Information