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Planning on land and at sea

Marine planning is important for many areas, and not just those at sea. It is a statutory requirement, established in the Marine and Coastal Access Act.

Marine planning relates to planning decisions for the coast, estuaries and tidal waters (which sometimes extend a long distance inland), as well as developments that impact on these areas, such as infrastructure. Specifically it applies to the mean high water springs mark, including:

  • any area submerged at mean high water spring tide    
  • the waters of any estuary, river or channel, so far as the tide flows at mean high water spring tide
  • waters in any area which is closed (permanently or intermittently) by a lock or other artificial means against the regular action of the tide, but into and from which seawater is caused or permitted to flow (continuously or from time to time)

* Mean high water springs is the highest level which spring tides reach on average over a period of time above chart datum.

Marine planning has important links and interactions with land-use planning. For example the intertidal zone between high water and low water mark is covered by both planning systems.

Marine plans take into account land-use plans and vice versa. Public authorities must consider both planning systems when making decisions on applications that relate to both land and marine plan areas.

To find out more about marine and land-use planning read our marine planning guide for local councils