Marine and Coastal
The marine environment is subject to a variety of threats, including loss or degradation of biodiversity and changes in its structure, loss of habitats, contamination by dangerous substances and nutrients, and the possible future effects of climate change. In response to these threats, governments are adopting a range of measures to manage the marine ecosystem more effectively and to ensure that it is used in a sustainable way. These include the EU Marine Thematic Strategy and Directive, one of the seven key thematic strategies adopted by the European Commission to address environmental issues, and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, which paved the way to a new approach to the management of the seas involving marine planning.
RPA’s Marine and Coastal team have a wealth of experience in sustainability and environmental policy issues in relation to the marine and coastal environment and have been involved in drawing up and assessing the impacts of both of these key pieces of regulation. We worked with the UK Government to review the potential impacts of the EU proposals as they developed from a broadly-based strategy to the final Directive, and we helped to develop the concept of Marine Spatial Planning that lies at the heart of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, identifying implications for different stakeholders, issues for implementation and associated solutions.
We have reviewed how marine licensing systems might be consolidated, and the potential benefits and disadvantages that this might incur. We have also provided assistance to Defra in identifying the implications of different options for new marine management arrangements, including the location of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) considering the costs and benefits of these for government, industry, NGOs and others (such as recreational users) and also the marine environment.
As part of our work on the Water Framework Directive we evaluate how water quality standards might affect transitional and coastal waters and contribute to the effective management of the marine environment. Another important area of our work on the coast is related to the provision of advice on flood defence and environmental solutions to flood and coastal erosion risk management (such as flood control units), including mitigation and public engagement aspects.
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