Marine planning for the blue economy: small island: big challenges
Dr Heather Ritchie and Prof Greg Lloyd (Ulster)
The island of Ireland, though physically small, faces big institutional challenges for the delivery of a sustainable blue energy future. Challenges stem from separate governance regimes across the island; with several government departments controlling functions across planning and regulation. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is established as an integrated policy based approach to the regulation, management and protection of the marine environment (Claydon, 2006). MSP will play a major part in the European Union’s vision for the ‘blue economy’, and will be vital in enabling renewable technologies to shape the future energy mix of the island of Ireland. This presentation explains that the existence of two separate, variegated and fragmented planning traditions, (terrestrial and now marine) spanning the island may create a potential barrier to realising Ireland’s ability to be a leader in offshore renewable energy and exports. It highlights how the island may have missed out on investment opportunities due to the lack of an integrated and co-ordinated marine planning system. The presentation acknowledges that a single marine planning system or a marine authority is unlikely, but it recommends more opportunities for integration and cooperation for an all-island strategic approach, beyond statutory consultations, allowing the island of Ireland to develop a sustainable blue economy.