Priorities and Challenges
The Welsh Government has set out its key priorities...
Wales’ natural resources provide our basic needs: the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. The marine environment is a source of food and renewable energy, as well as a place to spend our leisure and recreation time. Our coasts and seas are also home to a diverse array of wildlife from the UK’s largest resident population of bottlenose dolphin in Cardigan Bay, to the sandy and muddy shores of the Severn and the Dyfi, the subtidal rocky reefs of the Llyn Peninsula and the sea cliffs of Pembrokeshire.
The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 made it a duty for us to produce Area Statements. Area Statements provide us with an opportunity to re-think the way that we use and manage our natural resources. They will shape the work that we, and others, carry out to build the resilience of our ecosystems and the benefits they provide to us.
We are developing an Area Statement that covers the whole inshore marine area in Wales, extending out to 12 nautical miles. This area covers over 40% of the territory of Wales and is an important focus for our work.
The Marine Area Statement will identify the key risks, opportunities and priorities that we need to address to build the resilience of marine ecosystems and support sustainable management of our marine natural resources. It will set out a range of actions that we, or our partners, will take forward to address the issues we have identified.
We have brought together evidence about the natural resources in the marine environment to create an Area Profile. The Marine Area Profile provides a concise and user-friendly summary of robust evidence about our marine natural resources, the benefits they provide and the issues they currently face.
It has formed the basis for our conversations in developing the Marine Area Statement, and helped us identify some key themes to focus on.
Building on the Area Profile, and the priorities and challenges set out in the Natural Resources Policy we have, with our partners, identified 3 themes for the Marine Area Statement:
Over the past few months we have been working with existing stakeholder groups such as the Wales Coastal Group Forum and Marine Planning Stakeholder Reference Group to explore the priority issues and actions needed around these themes.
Developing Area Statements is a process that promotes collaborative working. We have been working closely with our colleagues developing the 6 other Area Statements that cover the terrestrial area of Wales. Area Statements share the coastline and need to work together to ensure a joined up approach in this important area, recognising that what happens on land often impacts the sea and vice versa.
In March 2020 we will publish the Marine Area Statement as an online resource. It will set out the process that we have undertaken so far, what success would look like and the actions that we and our partners have identified to help us get there.
This will be the start of a longer term, iterative process where we will continue to explore new ways of working, learning what works and what doesn’t, and adapting our approaches where necessary.
Developing Area Statements is a process that will continue beyond March 2020. This is just the start.
We are keen to hear from anyone who has an interest in the development of the Marine Area Statement.
If you have any questions, would like to receive updates or comment, please email the marine team.
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