Our seas are shared and valued by everyone – for work, leisure and food. They support valuable habitats and a wide range of species depend on them. They play a vital role in mitigating climate change and providing many important marine resources.
In 2002 the UK Government and Devolved Administrations set out their vision for the marine environment of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.
Taking forward this vision, the UK Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Welsh Assembly Government invited views, in June 2008, on a number of high level marine objectives. These objectives articulated the outcomes they are seeking for the UK marine area as a whole, while taking account of their distinctive circumstances and responsibilities. The Scottish Government included these objectives in Sustainable seas for all – a consultation on Scotland’s first marine bill in July 2008.
We appreciate your responses to both consultations and have taken account of them in developing our marine objectives. Comments from stakeholders from across the UK supported common high level objectives for all UK waters. This document now expresses the high level objectives for all the UK Administrations, including the Scottish Government, in response to these comments.
We will be using these objectives to underpin development of a Marine Policy Statement. This Statement, which is provided for in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill, will set out our policies to contribute to achievement of sustainable development in the UK marine area. It will set a clear and consistent framework for coastal and marine planners, regulators and users, helping everyone to work towards common objectives in UK waters. The Statement will guide the development of marine plans, which the Bill is also introducing, and provide a clear tool for decision-making.
We want everyone to have the opportunity to shape the Marine Policy Statement and to work together to prepare marine plans for their local areas.