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PR 19 - Marine Bill can provide overdue balance

04 April 2008

The Royal Town Planning Institute has welcomed the release of the Government's draft Marine Bill which it believes can offer an improved policy direction and ultimately a better decision making process for the marine environment.  

The Bill, which was published this week by Defra, will govern how the marine environment is managed. The RTPI, whose marine expert group has provided guidance to the government on the formation of the Bill, hopes it will create a framework under which the economic and recreational uses of our seas are properly considered alongside the needs of the environment. Until now, decision making processes at sea have been largely ad hoc, with no single guiding set of national principles or policies.

The RTPI is also stressing the need for a cohesive relationship to be developed between marine spatial planning and land-based spatial planning.

RTPI Director of Policy, Rynd Smith, said: \"The Marine Bill is an important piece of work. The marine environment is subject to a massive variety of different uses including recreation, commerce, transport, communications and mining. Up to now there has been very little guidance setting out how sea use should be prioritised. Hopefully this Bill will change that.

\"Ensuring that the demands of all uses are balanced against one another in an environmentally sustainable way requires a deft touch. Planning has already helped to create safer, wealthier, more attractive and sustainable places on land, hopefully this Bill will provide the framework under which planners can deliver positive outcomes in the marine environment as well.

\"However, it is vitally important that any new legislation governing planning and the sea compliments existing land-based regulations so that conflicts and complications are avoided.\"  

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Dale Atkinson, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479 dale.atkinson@rtpi.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

1) The draft Marine Bill can be found at the Defra website

2) A copy of the RTPI's response to the Marine Bill consultation can be found here

3) The RTPI's formal response to the Marine White Paper can be found here

4) The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people.  We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space.  Through our 20,000 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: www.rtpi.org.uk

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