First National Marine Planning Framework Key to Decarbonising Economy

Chambers Ireland today (12 November), welcomes the publication of Ireland’s first draft National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF), which sets out the Government’s proposed approach to the development of a strategic framework for developing, maintaining, and enhancing Ireland’s marine territories.

Speaking this afternoon, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,

“Ireland’s extensive marine territories exceed our land mass area by an order of magnitude. This vast area offers us great economic opportunities. As an island nation with sovereign rights over one of the largest marine areas in Europe, we have an opportunity to use this asset to significantly increase the generation of offshore wind energy, making our energy supply and economic security far more sustainable.

The decarbonisation of our energy generation is a critical part in the implementation of our Climate Action Plan. The potential of wind energy to support us in meeting these targets cannot be underestimated. However, in order to reap these benefits, Government needs to make urgent progress with the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, which will provide a legal framework for offshore energy construction. We must avoid further delays to the implementation of this legislation, which if not addressed, will contribute to greater uncertainty for meeting our 2030 targets.

Within the draft Framework, we welcome the commitment by Government to ensure that this new Planning Framework will be integrated within the existing National Planning Framework and Development plans. However, if we are to support offshore energy construction, it is essential that there are sufficient resources allocated to those organisations tasked with the construction of the infrastructure necessary to integrate offshore energy into our energy grid, including the upgrading of the existing network.

We must also ensure that the National Marine Planning Framework supports industry to invest in offshore wind generation. The best way of doing this is to take a decentralised approach to the spatial designation process for identifying zones for marine development. A rigid approach to spatial designations may add to costs and contribute to delays, potentially impacting Ireland’s ability to meet its renewable energy targets.”