Defra study on marine protected area planning and socio-economics
January 29, 2010
A study led by ABPmer on options for taking account of social-economic factors in the planning of marine protected areas (MPA) networks, has now been published by Defra.
The Marine and Coastal Access Act provides for the establishment of an ecologically coherent network of MPAs that will contribute to the protection of marine ecosystems and biodiversity. The selection of sites in English inshore waters is being taken forward through four Regional MPA Projects led by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England.
Under the Act, an appropriate authority may have regard to economic or social factors in considering whether it is desirable to designate an area. To assist Defra and the statutory agencies in developing guidance on socio-economic considerations, the study reviewed a number of international examples of MPA planning alongside a wider review of how socio-economic factors have been taken into account in non-MPA planning initiatives.
Dr Stephen Hull, Director ABPmer, said “ International examples of MPA initiatives have highlighted the importance of taking account of socio-economic factors in network design, but this is still very much a developing field. While many of these initiatives have largely focused on the economic costs of designation, the Marine and Coastal Access Act also requires decision-makers to take account of social impacts. Our research has shown that there is no ‘silver bullet’ for addressing socio-economic factors. Rather, a range of tools, techniques and approaches may be required including cost benefit analysis, social impact assessment and multi-criteria analysis as part of a clear and transparent process which engages relevant socio-economic interests ”.
A copy of the full report can be downloaded from the Defra website.
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Project Manager, Defra