Public Consultation Currently open on Ireland's First Designated Maritime Area Plan | Fieldfisher
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Public Consultation Currently open on Ireland's First Designated Maritime Area Plan



Ireland's proposed first Designated Maritime Area Plan will be located off the South Coast and is currently open for public consultation through this link.

Designated Maritime Area Plans (DMAPs) are management plans for a specific area or portions of marine waters. There are several advantages of DMAPs: they provide a structured approach to managing specific areas of marine waters, sensitive habitats, biodiversity and marine ecosystems. DMAPs also establish clear rules and guidelines for activities within the designated areas, which benefits industry, investors, and other users with predictable regulations. DMAPS play a crucial role in sustainable offshore energy development.

It outlines an initial “proposed” geographical area for future offshore renewable energy development. This area will be refined through public engagement, environmental impact assessments, and expert analysis to assess its suitability. As Ireland's maritime area is seven times the size of its land mass, this is a significant milestone for offshore energy advancement.  This indicates Ireland's first step into the systemic, planned development of our huge offshore wind potential. The proposed DMAP on the South Coast situated off the coast of Wexford, Waterford and Cork, would be split up into four areas (Maritime area A-D). The DMAP seeks to accelerate Ireland's legally binding objective of a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, by achieving 5GW of installed offshore wind capacity. The decision to locate the first DMAP in this area, is a result of the analysis by Ireland's transmission system operator (EirGrid) to ensure that future offshore wind development is situated in proximity to the current availability of onshore grid capacity that will connect offshore wind generation to the onshore transmission system.

Any project seeking to develop in any of the four maritime areas will be required to obtain a Maritime Area Consent from the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority ("MARA") which will be determined in line with the relevant provisions of the Maritime Area Planning Act 2021 ("the 2021 Act").  This system will streamline and simplify the process to enable occupation of the maritime area and planning permission in the area.

The draft South Coast DMAP is subject to public consultation as required by the 2021 Act. The draft Plan aims to provide clarity to local communities, existing marine users including the fishing community, the offshore renewable energy industry and other stakeholders regarding the location of prospective future offshore renewable energy development within the South Coast DMAP area. The public are encouraged to access the draft proposals online, attend webinars, make submissions sharing their expertise, experience, and wisdom to inform and guide the development of the DMAP. There are also in person events in the areas of the proposed DMAP, which seeks to encourage community engagement including local coastal communities and stakeholders in the fishing industry. The government have noted that they may be amendments to the draft after input from the public. 

Written By Jonathan Moore and Niamh O'Donnell.