Marine planning legislation clears Oireachtas

Marine planning legislation clears Oireachtas

Darragh O'Brien

Legislation establishing a new planning regime for the maritime area has passed through all stages of the Oireachtas.

The government has said the Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021 represents the biggest reform of marine governance since the foundation of the State, with a legal and administrative framework to support a marine environment that Ireland can use, enjoy and benefit from socially, environmentally and economically.

It will replace existing State and development consent regimes and streamline arrangements on the basis of a single consent principle, i.e. one State consent (maritime area consent) to enable occupation of the maritime area and one development consent (planning permission), with a single environmental assessment.

The bill is also a key component of the national marine planning framework (NMPF), Ireland’s first national framework for managing marine activities, launched earlier this summer.

Darragh O’Brien, minister for housing, local government and heritage, said: “My Department is leading an extensive marine management reform programme, the likes of which the State has never seen.

“The Maritime Area Planning Bill represents a giant leap forward towards meeting our ambitious climate action goals and targets and is a result of many of years of work in my Department to modernise our marine planning system.

“It will also play a significant role in the government’s response to climate change and to reaching the renewable energy goals set forth in the Climate Action Plan.”

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