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The UK Government is committed to bring forward proposals for a Marine Bill that will introduce within its area of responsibility a new framework for the seas, based on marine spatial planning, that balances conservation, energy and resource needs. The recently released consultation document discusses the aims and scope of the Marine Bill and sets out the main reasons why the UK Government thinks that new legislation is required. It outlines the background to and the proposed contents of the Bill, summarising its main components and how they are expected to fit together. No final decisions have been made on what might eventually be included in the Bill. The consultation therefore invites the views of anyone with an interest and forms a significant part of the process of shaping the scope and content of the Government's final policy proposals.
A brief outline of the Bill is given below - for more information see:
Why have a Marine Bill
The arrangements in place for managing marine activities and protecting marine wildlife and the marine environment are complex and can be confusing and costly for all involved. New activities, changes in technology and a deepening understanding of the seas around us and the way we affect them have also exposed some gaps and limitations in this system. Recent reports and reviews suggest that as the pressures on our seas increase and change we do not have all the tools we need to reconcile and integrate conservation goals with the full range of demands that we place on the marine area to help meet our economic and social I needs.
Purpose and underlying principles
| The Bill will help implement the UK Government's strategy for sustainable development. It will create a fit-for-purpose framework founded on the principles of good regulation and modern government. Its purpose will be to improve the delivery of policies relating to marine activities operating in coastal and offshore
[waters and to marine natural resource protection, in particular by providing an integrated approach to sustainable management, enhancement and use of the marine natural environment for the benefit of current and future generations. It will enable us to deliver our economic, social and environmental objectives in a
I modernised, rational and more effective way.
UK and international context
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The main themes
The UK Government is developing policy for the Bill in five significant areas. None of these stand alone, there are close and complex links between them all.
1.   Managing marine fisheries
does not
make any
proposals or
responses on
fisheries but
sets out a
number of
areas where Defra consider that changes to existing
primary legislation or new legislation may be required to
deliver Government commitments to strengthen the way
we manage fisheries and develop fisheries policy. These
include modernising inshore fisheries management
arrangements; a more active approach to managing
recreational and hobby fishing activities around the coast
of England; the need to update or strengthen wider
enforcement powers; and charging for the costs of
managing marine fisheries. As policy is developed in these
areas over the coming months Defra will consult
stakeholders, including where they aim to take powers in
the Bill.
2.   Planning in the marine area
The consultation proposes the creation of a new system of marine spatial planning to enable a more rational organisation of the use of marine space and the interactions between its uses. It is proposed that the system should take account of all sectors and activities and ensure an integrated approach at the land-sea interface. The objective is to enable efficient, forward-looking and holistic decision-making, delivering sustainable development and supporting an ecosystem approach. An agreed plan should provide a firm basis for rational and consistent decisions on licence applications, and allow users of the sea to make future decisions with greater knowledge and confidence.
The UK Government and devolved administrations are working together to achieve the best means for managing the marine area around the UK and the consultation is designed to stimulate ideas to facilitate that. However, the UK Government is committed to the devolution process and it will therefore be for the individual administrations to decide whether to consider or to take any of these ideas forward and the most appropriate way to do so within their respective areas and competence.
The framework must be compatible with and sufficient to discharge our obligations under international law and European law. The UK's obligations as a I result of relevant international and European obligations will



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