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Journal ArticleDOI

Integrated terrestrial and marine planning in England’s coastal inter-tidal zone: Assessing the operational effectiveness of the Coastal Concordat

01 Oct 2016-Marine Policy (Pergamon)-Vol. 72, pp 166-175

Abstract: In many countries, the regulation of activities and development in the marine environment has begun to evolve from a compartmentalised, fragmented, sectoral and uncoordinated system into a more strategic, comprehensive, integrated and transparent one. A remaining challenge, however, is the effective integration of marine and terrestrial planning, because the tools and mechanisms necessary for its achievement have been slow to be implemented. The introduction of the England's Coastal Concordat in 2013, as a voluntary framework for better integrating marine and terrestrial planning consents, represents an atypical mechanism to secure these goals. This paper is a preliminary survey of the perceived effectiveness of the Coastal Concordat, based on a survey of 32 professionals from the terrestrial planning authorities, marine statutory agencies and marine-sector businesses. While this evaluation is made less than two years after the introduction of the Coastal Concordat, it is important to undertake a preliminary examination, from various stakeholder perspectives, of the factors likely to be influential in the integration of regulatory systems, before the approach is ‘rolled out’ across other parts of England's inter-tidal coastal zone. The results indicate that the Coastal Concordat has produced benefits for marine planning in coastal areas, but that these improvements are largely experienced within the public sector in terms of better communication, early engagement, and a single point of contact. The marine sector businesses are more neutral about the benefits of the Concordat. It is clear, however, that marine sector businesses must participate in the formulation of any reforms if an effective integrated system of planning and management of coastal environments is to be achieved.
Topics: Concordat (54%), Public sector (50%)

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University of Plymouth
PEARL https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk
01 University of Plymouth Research Outputs University of Plymouth Research Outputs
2016-10
Integrated terrestrial and marine
planning in England's coastal inter-tidal
zone: assessing the operational
effectiveness of the Coastal Concordat
Turner, J
http://hdl.handle.net/10026.1/5107
10.1016/j.marpol.2016.07.014
Marine Policy
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1
TURNER, J. & ESSEX, S. (2016) Integrated terrestrial and marine planning in England’s coastal inter-tidal zone:
assessing the operational effectiveness of the Coastal Concordat, Marine Policy, 72, pp.166175.
Integrated terrestrial and marine planning in England’s
coastal inter-tidal zone: assessing the operational
effectiveness of the Coastal Concordat
Jonathan Turner and Stephen Essex
Jonathan Turner, MSc,
Director of Projects, Sutton Harbour Holdings PLC,
Tin Quay House, North Quay,
Sutton Harbour,
Plymouth, PL4 0RA.
(Tel: 01752-204186; email: j.turner@sutton-harbour.co.uk)
Dr Stephen Essex,
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, Plymouth University, Drake
Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, Devon, UK.
(Tel: 01752-585980; email: S.essex@plymouth.ac.uk)
Corresponding author
Highlights:
Considers the challenges facing the integration of terrestrial and marine
planning
The introduction of the Coastal Concordat has benefitted the public sector
agencies
Marine sector businesses are more neutral about the benefits of the
Concordat

2
INTEGRATED TERRESTRIAL AND MARINE PLANNING IN ENGLAND’S
COASTAL INTER-TIDAL ZONE: ASSESSING THE OPERATIONAL
EFFECTIVENESS OF THE COASTAL CONCORDAT
ABSTRACT
In many countries, the regulation of activities and development in the marine
environment has begun to evolve from a compartmentalised, fragmented, sectoral
and uncoordinated system into a more strategic, comprehensive, integrated and
transparent one. A remaining challenge, however, is the effective integration of
marine and terrestrial planning, because the tools and mechanisms necessary for its
achievement have been slow to be implemented. The introduction of the England’s
Coastal Concordat in 2013, as a voluntary framework for better integrating marine
and terrestrial planning consents, represents an atypical mechanism to secure these
goals. This paper is a preliminary survey of the perceived effectiveness of the
Coastal Concordat, based on a survey of 32 professionals from the terrestrial
planning authorities, marine statutory agencies and marine-sector businesses. While
this evaluation is made less than two years after the introduction of the Coastal
Concordat, it is important to undertake a preliminary examination, from various
stakeholder perspectives, of the factors likely to be influential in the integration of
regulatory systems, before the approach is ‘rolled out’ across other parts of
England’s inter-tidal coastal zone. The results indicate that the Coastal Concordat
has produced benefits for marine planning in coastal areas, but that these
improvements are largely experienced within the public sector in terms of better
communication, early engagement, and a single point of contact. The marine sector
businesses are more neutral about the benefits of the Concordat. It is clear, however,
that marine sector businesses must participate in the formulation of any reforms if an
effective integrated system of planning and management of coastal environments is
to be achieved.
Keywords: Coastal Concordat; Marine planning; inter-tidal zone; integration of
terrestrial and marine planning systems.

3
1. INTRODUCTION
In many countries, the regulation of activities and development in the coastal zone
has historically involved a compartmentalised, fragmented, sectoral and
uncoordinated system, characterised by a consenting regime focused on single
species, sectors, activities or concerns (Scaff, et al., 2015, p.97). The result has
been a piecemeal approach to the protection of the marine environment,
encapsulated in Boyes and Elliott’s (2014, p.43) ultimate ‘horrendogram’ of relevant
agencies and legislation and DEFRA’s (2014) diagram of overlapping consents
required in the coastal zone (see Figure 1), which both capture something of the
complexity, confusion and inadequacy of existing measures. While some attempts
have been made to achieve integration across sectors, levels of government, uses,
stakeholders, and spatial and temporal scales (Portman, et al., 2012), notably
though Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Strategic Environmental Assessment
and Marine Spatial Planning, a remaining area of neglect is the integration of marine
and terrestrial planning (Scaff, et al., 2015, p.98), where tools and mechanisms to
coordinate the landward-side implications of the development of marine spaces (and
vice versa) have been largely absent.
While planning principles have been applied to the mediation of decisions about
terrestrial land use in the UK since the late 1940s, marine spaces have been subject
to a much less coordinated system of regulatory control. Developments in the inter-
tidal zone, straddling both the land and the sea, have been subject to a bewildering
array of licensing controls, which have arguably not satisfactorily served either the
‘public good’ or commercial interests. The Marine and Coastal Access Act of 2009
was heralded as a significant turning point in the planning of marine spaces, with the
potential to streamline the process for securing consent for development in the inter-
tidal zone and to fuse a greater integration with terrestrial planning. While the initial
introduction of this new system had its flaws, successive reforms have begun to
create a more viable framework for all stakeholders.
In November, 2013, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA) introduced the ‘Coastal Concordat’ as a voluntary framework within which
the separate terrestrial and marine processes for the approval of coastal
developments in England could be better coordinated. The Coastal Concordat can

4
be described as an atypical example of an intervention which attempts to directly
integrate terrestrial and marine planning, and its adoption therefore offers
opportunities to define and investigate the factors likely to be influential in the
creation of a more holistic regulatory system. As the latest stage in the evolution of
marine planning, this paper explores the stakeholder assessment of the merits of the
Coastal Concordat through a survey of 32 professionals from terrestrial planning
authorities, marine statutory agencies and marine-sector businesses engaged in
marine and planning consents and development management. While this evaluation
is made less than two years after the introduction of the Coastal Concordat, it is
important to undertake a preliminary examination of the perceived effectiveness of
the new procedures from various stakeholder perspectives before it is ‘rolled out’
across other parts of the coast. The paper responds to the call made by Fletcher et
al. (2014, p.266) to ‘reflect carefully at each stage of its [marine planning]
implementation to consider its effectiveness, including implications for stakeholders
and the marine environment’.
2. THE EVOLUTION OF MARINE PLANNING
Until recently, the sea was perceived as largely undevelopable and unplannable,
and where the application of the principles of terrestrial planning was not considered
to be necessary or easily applied (Kerr, et al., 2014; Claydon, 2006; Peel and Lloyd,
2004). The reasons for this situation were three-fold. First, state jurisdiction and
controls over coastal waters were weak as these spaces were beyond the territory of
nation states and sometimes subject to legal ambiguities and contestation. Second,
the sea was considered as an environment or a space with common rights for
navigation and exploitation purposes, such as fishing
1
. A system of spatial planning
for marine spaces was therefore not considered necessary as the principles of
1
Rights of use through a water column vary, which can cause conflicts and can be difficult to resolve.
The seabed around the United Kingdom, defined as being the zone extending from mean low water
ordinary spring tides to the 12 nautical-miles [22 km] limit, is a form of public land administered by the
Crown Estate. The Crown Estate once comprised all the sovereign's properties and constituted the
principal source of royal income. Historically, however, in return for an income paid by the state, the
sovereign released the Crown Estate to be operated as an independent commercial business
(created by Act of Parliament) and overseen by Commissioners who have a legal duty to generate
revenue for the benefit of the British nation, which is then spent by Her Majesty’s Government. As the
Crown Estate must achieve the best financial return in the form of seabed rents (such as marine
renewables), it has some control over the utilisation of the seabed. The resources in the water column
(such as fish), on the other hand, are common pool resources and the sea surface is a common
space for navigation (Kerr, et al., 2014), where management and control can be more problematic.

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