New framework adopted for south English sea control

The UK government has adopted a new framework for managing marine activities around the south coast of England, between Kent and Devon – an area which includes PTEC and Portland Bill tidal plans.

Illustration/AR1500 tidal energy turbine (Photo: SIMEC Atlantis Energy)

The new marine plan provides a policy framework which will be used to help inform decision-making on what activities take place in the marine environment, where and how the marine environment is developed, protected and improved in the next 20 years.

It will inform and guide decisions by regulators managing the development of industry in marine and coastal areas, while conserving and enhancing the environment and recognizing leisure uses, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) said.

Thérèse Coffey, Environment Minister, said: “The South Marine Plan is a significant milestone in our ambition to create healthy and biologically diverse seas and oceans, as outlined in our 25 Year Environment Plan.

“Stretching from Kent to Devon, this is one of the most complex areas of the English coast and this plan will allow us to safeguard our sea life while supporting a more sustainable marine economy.”

The area covered by the newly released plan includes the PTEC tidal energy scheme, being developed by Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre together with the Isle of Wight Council, is a 30MW site to the south of the Isle of Portland on the Dorset Coast, south of Weymouth.

The project was halted in July 2017 after the UK government announced it removed a minima for marine energy in its second contracts for difference (CfD) allocation round – effectively ending the chances of the center to compete with more established industries such as offshore wind, PTEC said at the time.

Also, SIMEC Atlantis Energy also has plans to develop the Portland Bill project – a 30MW site to the south of the Isle of Portland on the Dorset Coast, close to PTEC.

By 2021, all English marine area will have marine plans in place, according to MMO. The South Marine Plan is the second to be adopted following the introduction of the first English marine plan established in the East of England in 2014.

Covering an area of approximately 1,700 kilometers of coastline and over 21,000 square kilometers of sea.  According to MMO, the area represents a dynamic marine area incorporating 9 world heritage sites and some of the busiest shipping channels in Europe.