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Maritime Spatial Planning conference in DIT Grangegorman

Posted: 16 June, 2016

DIT recently hosted a conference in DIT Grangegorman concerning the social and economic dimensions of Maritime Spatial Planning in Ireland.

Speaker Andreas Kannen addresses the conference on the social and cultural aspects of Marine Spatial Planning

The conference, which was organised by Paul Lawlor and colleagues in the School of Transport Engineering, Environment and Planning, was attended by delegates from Government departments and agencies with significant marine functions as part of their remit.  Representatives of An Bord Pleanála and of the Regional Assemblies and the majority of coastal Local Authorities were also present.  From industry there professional planners and engineering consultants, and academia was well represented with colleagues from UCC, NUIG, Trinity College and DIT.

The conference was opened by Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, who welcomed delegates to the new DIT campus in Grangegorman and described how the development was proceeding.  Congratulating the organising committee on the programme they had prepared, he thanked the speakers and chairs of sessions who had travelled from Germany, Belgium, the UK, Northern Ireland and from various parts of Ireland to attend and give of their expertise.

With a territory of almost ten times the land mass, and almost 6000 km of coastline, the Republic of Ireland possesses one of the largest marine areas in the European Union.  Despite this, according to the organisers of the conference, the contribution of the marine economy is far below that achieved in other European countries.  The national “Harnessing our Ocean Wealth” strategy puts forward ambitious growth targets, but it is important that the environmental status of the marine environment is well protected in the process.

With these issues in mind, the Marine Spatial Planning conference aimed to explore the social and economic dimensions of Maritime Spatial Planning in Ireland.  It also provided an opportunity to launch Recommendations for Preparing Maritime Spatial Plans in Ireland – a projected funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and carried out by a multi-disciplinary team in the School of Transport Engineering, Environment and Planning in DIT.  The project was led by Dr. Conor Norton, in partnership with McCabe Durney Barnes, Planning Consultants.  According to Dr. Norton, “The project and the recommendations flowing from it focus on the processes and best practice needed to prepare maritime spatial plans for Ireland.  We hope it will inform the work of Government Departments, Local and Regional Authorities, State Agencies and other Marine stakeholders in Ireland in the coming years.”