We are currently working for a range of clients from oil and gas majors, ports and harbours, the aggregates sector, to Government departments. A selection of projects from our Commercial and public sector teams is below.

Project Example: Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report for the Next Stage of Marine Plans in England

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in England is tasked with putting in place regional marine plans covering all English waters by 2021. As of early 2016 two plan areas have already been progressed, the East Marine Plan (published) and the South Marine Plan. Work on the remaining plan areas: North East; North West; South East; and South West has now commenced and MPC has taken a leading role in supporting the MMO in making early progress on activity aligned to producing the plans.

The MMO commissioned MPC and our project partners (Ramboll Environ) to progress the scoping phase of the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) which will provide an independent assessment of the marine plans, ensuring that economic, social and environmental sustainability is at the core of the process. The scoping report is the first stage of the SA process, setting out what issues the appraisal will include.

MPC has led on all of the marine biodiversity, sediments, geology and coastal processes aspects of the assessments as well as providing specialist advice to the wider project team on marine planning best practice, the use of England’s marine space by often competing sectors or interests and the potential areas of conflict which result. The work included scoping of key issues, liaising with stakeholders (i.e. JNCC, Crown Estate, Natural England, Environment Agency, various coastal partnerships etc.) and taking a lead role in a stakeholder event in London.

One of the issues with SA reporting is the balance between providing sufficient, robust information to allow decision makers and regulators to come to a viewpoint on the acceptability (or otherwise) of the document and the readability/length of the document. Noting that the SA scoping report needed to cover a number of geographically separate plan areas ranging from the tidal limits of estuaries down to a small portion of the abyssal plain (far south west of the SW plan area), our approach to this issue was to provide highly readable, subject specific report cards underpinned by a database of 2,500 policy, baseline, issues and data gap references. This two tier system allows for rapid review of the main strategic issues and underlying baseline for each subject and plan area (i.e. the report cards) by the majority of readers whilst providing a mechanism for specialists to delve in to the detail through the fully searchable database if required. Readability and coherence are maximised with no loss of detailed information.

If you are interested in seeing these documents or even letting the MMO know what you think are the key issues for marine planning in these areas have a look at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/consultations-for-next-phase-of-marine-planning-opens

Project Example: Assessment of Oil Spill Monitoring Capabilities on the UK Continental Shelf

MPC were commissioned by Oil and Gas UK to assess the oil spill monitoring capabilities on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). The project also assessed capability within industry and the wider scientific community to carry out environmental monitoring in response to such an event. The work will assist the Oil Spill Response Forum in the development and maintenance of an effective, robust and sustainable oil spill response capability for upstream operations on the UKCS.

This desk based project included the production of a database and supporting report detailing: the roles and responsibilities of organisations including Government, stakeholders, industry, academia and NGOs in the event of an oil spill; the potential monitoring strategies (including timing and spatial extent) which would be required and the legislative requirements which support them; and an assessment of the current capabilities within the UKCS to meet these monitoring requirements.

Paul Salmon, Managing Director at MPC said “this is an exciting opportunity for MPC to assist with helping our long established and important offshore oil industry to ensure that there is a co-ordinated approach for monitoring in the event of an oil spill on the UK’s continental shelf. The information collected will assist in identifying how ready and how well we can respond to any incident so that relevant and timely information can be captured and disseminated and that the planning or execution of any spill response operation is as best informed as possible. We are pleased to be assisting Oil and Gas UK and the Oil Response Forum with this important project”.

Project Example: Dawlish Warren Beach Management Scheme Detailed Design, Teignbridge Council / Environment Agency

MPC provided advice to Atkins to support their work on behalf of the Environment Agency to submit marine licensing and planning applications for the different elements of a proposed beach management scheme for Dawlish Warren in Exmouth, Devon. The complex scheme, which includes beach nourishment, beneficial use of dredging from a previously unlicensed site, removal of coastal management structures, replacement of groynes and construction of a novel buried defence to provide confidence at the potentially weakest part of the beach is located in a highly sensitive area.

This is a uniquely balanced scheme that combines flood and erosion risk management with nature conservation objectives to improve the condition of the protected European sites in the estuary. Each part of the scheme fulfils multiple roles for a range of stakeholders / users, with often conflicting wishes.

MPC’s work included:

  • providing advice on the Environmental Impact Assessment and compiling parts of the associated Environmental Statement;
  • providing advice on the Habitats Regulations and Appropriate Assessment and compiling parts of the associated environmental report;
  • providing advice on marine licensing; and
  • undertaking stakeholder engagement elements for the project

Project Example: Irish Offshore Strategic Environmental Assessment (IOSEA) 5

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCNER) in the Republic of Ireland has a duty to prepare a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in advance of issuing exploration and production authorisations through a new licencing round covering the offshore Atlantic Margin basins.

The Irish Offshore Strategic Environmental Assessment 5 (IOSEA5) is the fifth in a series of SEAs, each covering a different area of the Atlantic Margin Basin. The ISOEA5 study area includes all of the study areas used for the previous IOSEAs, as well as an additional area further to the south (the entire Goban
Spur basins).

Working alongside our partners Ramboll Environ, MPC led the assessments in relation some of the required physical and chemical aspects of the SEA including geology, bathymetry, seabed features, sediments and ocean circulation. Due to our links with the wider Gardline Group and the specialisms of our staff we also provided specialist advice to the wider project team relating to technical aspects and methods of offshore oil and gas exploration and production (e.g. 2D and 3D seismic survey methodologies). For more information on the latest Irish offshore licencing round or to view the IOSEA5 report visit DCENR’s web site at http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/natural-resources/en-ie/Oil-Gas-Exploration-Production/Pages/Environmental-Report-and-Annex-for-IOSEA-5.aspx

Project Example: Defining the Components of Marine Ecosystems Critical to Ecosystem Service Generation

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCNER) in the Republic of Ireland has a duty to prepare a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in advance of issuing exploration and production authorisations through a new licencing round covering the offshore Atlantic Margin basins.

The Irish Offshore Strategic Environmental Assessment 5 (IOSEA5) is the fifth in a series of SEAs, each covering a different area of the Atlantic Margin Basin. The ISOEA5 study area includes all of the study areas used for the previous IOSEAs, as well as an additional area further to the south (the entire Goban
Spur basins).

Working alongside our partners Ramboll Environ, MPC led the assessments in relation some of the required physical and chemical aspects of the SEA including geology, bathymetry, seabed features, sediments and ocean circulation. Due to our links with the wider Gardline Group and the specialisms of our staff we also provided specialist advice to the wider project team relating to technical aspects and methods of offshore oil and gas exploration and production (e.g. 2D and 3D seismic survey methodologies). For more information on the latest Irish offshore licencing round or to view the IOSEA5 report visit DCENR’s web site at http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/natural-resources/en-ie/Oil-Gas-Exploration-Production/Pages/Environmental-Report-and-Annex-for-IOSEA-5.aspx

Project Example: Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve: Integrated Fisheries Management Plan

Marine Planning Consultants (MPC) was commissioned by The Blue Marine Foundation to improve fisheries management in Lyme Bay through the development of an Integrated Fisheries Management Plan. The bay has been historically subject to scallop trawling and dredging and restrictions were put on this activity in 2008 to help protect the fragile benthic ecosystem. More recently it has become clear that a lack of management has caused static nets and pots to become overused which is threatening the environment even more. Local fishermen, conservationists and regulators have come together to put in place a world class, ecosystem based, sustainable management plan.

Working alongside specialists Salacia Marine and Spindrift Marine, MPC developed and authored a bottom-up Integrated Fisheries Plan which has now been adopted by the Reserve’s working group. It has been described as a “revolutionary marine conservation model” by Oliver Letwin MP and is set to deliver a win, win, win: for fishermen, communities and conservation. For more information on Lyme Bay Reserve or, to view the management plan, visit the reserve’s web site at http://www.lymebayreserve.co.uk/about/

Project Example: Marine Mammal Impact Assessment methodology in New Zealand

With oil exploration and production continuing off the New Zealand coast the Department of Conservation released a Code of Conduct for minimising acoustic disturbance to marine mammals in 2013. In order to satisfy the Code’s requirements our colleagues at Gardline Environmental were commissioned to undertake a Marine Mammal Impact Assessment (MMIA) to identify, quantify and evaluate potential impacts on species likely to be present in the survey area.

Marine Planning Consultants (MPC) worked alongside Gardline’s specialist marine mammal and underwater noise scientists, devising an applied Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) methodology to ensure that the assessment was robust, auditable and fit-for-purpose. What has resulted is a sophisticated yet efficient methodology for MMIA which can be tailored to differing seismic survey types in marine waters across the globe.

Project Example: Oil and Gas Impact Assessment

Marine Planning Consultants (MPC) led on a social impact assessment as part of wider package of work for a confidential oil and gas client operating in offshore Namibia. The work required applying international best practice and utilising our extensive network of local contacts to deliver a robust and timely assessment as part of a wider impact assessment.

Project Example: EIA for new coastal defence scheme.

Marine Planning Consultants (MPC) recently completed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a proposed new coastal defence scheme at Hopton on Sea, Norfolk where the beach has been subject to considerable erosion in recent years with the loss of much of the sand itself. A coastal defence scheme is required to halt erosion of the cliff and protect Hopton Holiday Village which is located immediately landward.

MPC was commissioned to undertake the EIA by Bourne Leisure to ensure that the final scheme did not result in any adverse significant effects to the local coastline, environment, businesses or residents. The final report was submitted to support a planning application to Great Yarmouth Borough Council and a marine licence application to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in December 2013.

Project Example: Advice on proposed Conservation Designation impacting on a port operation.

Marine Planning Consultants (MPC) was contracted by a confidential client in the ports sector to provide expert scientific review of evidence put forward by Natural England in support of a Conservation Designation under the Habitats and Birds Directives. We also provided advice on handling the designation processes and worked with them to negotiate a working agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Natural England to ensure that all parties work collaboratively in managing the designation process and identifying appropriate management measures.

Project Example: Review of Marine Aggregate Regional Environmental Assessments (MAREAs)

The Marine Aggregate Regional Environmental Assessments (MAREAs) are environmental reports that have been commissioned by the marine aggregates industry. The purpose of these reports is to provide a characterisation of the environmental resources each of the Thames, South Coast, Humber, Anglia and, historically, East Channel areas. Further, a key objective of the MAREAs was also to identify the likely impacts of dredging upon environmental resources at a regional scale.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has commissioned Marine Planning Consultants (MPC) to undertake a strategic review of the individual Thames, South Coast, Humber and Anglia MAREA reports. The purpose of the these reviews is to assess the extent to which certain topics may be deemed to have been 'closed out' in terms of any requirement for further work within the site specific Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) that will need to be commissioned by relevant marine aggregates operators when applying for new or renewed marine licences for the extraction of marine minerals.

Project Example: Combining Sea and Coastal Planning in Europe (C-SCOPE)

Dorset Coast Forum, through Dorset County Council, has appointed ENVIRON and Marine Planning Consultants (MPC) to contribute to a €1.8 million (£1.6 million) marine planning research project. The project is called C-SCOPE (Combining Sea and Coastal Planning in Europe) and is a European funded partner project between the Dorset Coast Forum and Belgium's Co-ordination Centre on Integrated Coastal Management.

C-SCOPE aims to plan for and manage the many current and future pressures facing the Dorset Coast, from new development and climate change to competition for space between interests including shipping, commercial fishing, recreation and renewable energy.

The output of the project will be a Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) for the Dorset Marine Management Area (MMA) in order to integrate sustainable terrestrial and marine spatial planning. The MMA lies between Durlston Head and Portland Bill (out to 12 nautical miles) and covers an area of 953 km2.

ENVIRON and MPC have been commissioned to undertake a sustainability appraisal (SA), strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and habitats regulation assessment (HRA) of the MSP.

Project Example: Compilation of spatial data on marine recreational activities (MMO 1013)

Marine Planning Consultants (MPC) were commissioned to review spatial data and evidence on marine recreation activities, both at a national scale for English waters, as well as at the East Coast scale to cover the first two marine plans being developed (East Inshore and Offshore: Flamborough Head to Felixstowe). The objectives of the project were to; collate recreational activity data to support marine plan development, undertake a more detailed collation exercise focused on the East Coast Marine Plan Areas, undertake a gap analysis and provide recommendations for future data and evidence collation.

Project Example: Marine Protected Areas - In-depth review of the ecological evidence supporting the recommended Marine Conservation Zones (Defra)

Defra appointed ABP Marine Environmental Research Ltd (ABPmer), supported by the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) and Marine Planning Consultants (MPC), to undertake a review of the ecological evidence. The aim of the project is to build on and extend the evidence-base of the Regional Projects, Natural England and the JNCC which will be used to support the designation of MCZs. The study will deliver a comprehensive review of the evidence collected by the Regional Project’s and will seek to identify any additional data/information relevant to the 127 recommended MCZ (rMCZ) and Reference Areas (rRA), this will focus particularly on the Ecological Network Guidance (ENG) features. MPC are leading on industry data and reviewing evidence from the NetGain region.

Project Example: Development of a joint marine monitoring protocol between government and Industry (Natural England).

Marine Planning Consultants (MPC) were lead partners in a recent Natural England project to identify opportunities for closer collaboration between Natural England and marine industries in areas where joint monitoring of marine protected areas (MPAs) can be of mutual benefit. A joint monitoring protocol was produced which outlined opportunities for joint monitoring for MPAs and industrial operators, actions where the ‘collect once, use many times’ principle can be put into practice and barriers and opportunities to joint monitoring in the longer term.

Project Example: Scoping UK Marine Biodiversity Offsets (The Crown Estate)

The purpose of this work is to scope the potential for marine biodiversity offsets in the UK, looking into whether they are in principle a viable option in terms of ecology and equivalence, and planning and policy instrument design. It covers the UK marine environment (from low water mark to the boundary of the UK exclusive economic zone). The project, in partnership with Eftec and Jo Treweek delivered a scoping report in March 2012, with further case studies and a workshop commissioned for Autumn 2012.

Project example: Economic Valuation of Marine Recreation activity in Wales

In November 2012, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Milford Haven Port commissioned Marine Planning Consultants (MPC), in consortium with the Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum (PCF) and Atkins, to provide an economic valuation of mapped areas of marine recreation in two pilot areas of Pembrokeshire. The project will involve a literature review and evaluation of economic valuation approaches, preparation of a methodology for valuation of recreational activities, stakeholder consultation and valuation of the pilot areas. The project will aid marine planning and the process of MCZ designation.

For our marine ecological survey and faunal laboratory services please visit our complimentary web site at www.mesltd.co

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Marine Ecological Surveys Limited trading as Marine Planning Consultants.

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