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Department publishes guidance for marine development

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Department of Infrastructure has published guidance for parties interested in developing within the Isle of Man’s territorial seas.

The Guide for Developers provides important information about the legislative framework and the consenting processes currently in place.

It fulfils a commitment given by the Department at the June sitting of Tynwald to produce an overview of the existing system, pending the introducing of new bespoke primary legislation.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said:

‘The Department is preparing primary marine legislation that will result in a streamlined consenting regime for large developments. Until that comes into operation, the existing legislation continues to apply. The guidance document provides more clarity about the current situation for anyone who is interested in developing within our seas out to 12 nautical miles.’

He added:

‘Planning for our marine environment is of significant importance to our efforts to grow the economy in line with Government’s national priority. The territorial sea accounts for 87% of the total area of the Isle of Man and possesses an abundance of natural resources. Any developments could have economic, environmental and social impacts and these must be managed sensitively.’

The benefits of marine development were highlighted last week when the Isle of Man Government announced its preferred partners for developing a wind farm and tidal power within its territorial sea. It is estimated that leasing parts of the seabed for renewable energy generation could boost the Isle of Man’s public funds by at least £5 million a year and create more than 50 new local jobs.

The Department of Infrastructure’s Guide for Developers relates primarily to large-scale developments within Isle of Man territorial waters. It outlines aspects of the consenting process and sets out known development considerations based on the Manx Marine Environmental Assessment (MMEA). Smaller scale activity will continue to be dealt with under the Harbours Act 2010 and Water Pollution Act 1993.

The information is intended to provide more clarity and certainty for proposed developers, but is not a complete or authoritative statement of law.

In reaching a decision on an application, the Minister for Infrastructure will consider a recommendation from the Territorial Seas Committee and will advise the Environment and Infrastructure Committee and the Council of Ministers of the proposed course of action.

Applications must take into account the MMEA, which includes information on the current uses of Manx territorial waters and an overview of the marine environment, including habitats and species, industry and infrastructure.

The Guide for Developers is available to view on the Government website.

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