Suffolk: Potential marine tourism opportunities to be reviewed by Government

 
	Sailing in the North Sea off Felixstowe 
Sailing in the North Sea off Felixstowe

Richard Cornwell richard.cornwell@archant.co.uk
Thursday, April 3, 2014
7:00 AM

A blueprint for the future use of the sea off Suffolk’s coast and its key role for the economy, tourism and recreation has been published by the Government for the first time.

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The aim of the new marine plans is to identify the complexity of the uses of the the UK’s seas and make sure they can co-exist, protecting the environment but also bringing benefits to coastal communities.

The marine economy is currently worth more than £49billion a year – and experts say it has the potential to grow significantly.

While the sea is as vital today as ever as a trade route for cargo coming to and from Britain, and still home to its fishing industry, there are newer industries, too – underwater quarrying of aggregates, offshore wind farms, oil and gas – to plan for. The marine plans will inform and guide decisions on development in marine and coastal areas, while conserving and enhancing the environment and recognising leisure uses, too, reducing costs and increasing certainty for developers, boosting economic and employment benefits for coastal communities and beyond.

The first two plans cover the east inshore and offshore areas – Flamborough Head (on the Yorkshire coast) to Felixstowe – with a total of 11 plans covering all English waters anticipated by 2021.

Environment minister George Eustice said: “UK seas are home to one of the richest marine environments in the world and are currently worth more than £49bn a year to our economy.

“We are making sure that environmental considerations are embedded in every decision about proposed developments along the coast from Flamborough Head to Felixstowe and in our seas out to the maritime borders with the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

“By 2021, marine plans will cover the entire English marine area, supporting an estimated £50m of economic benefit each year and helping to promote sustainable development of the marine area”.

Marine Management Organisation chief executive James Cross said the plans were the culmination of years of work by government, industry, environmental organisations and others.

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