ABPmer worked with AECOM to support the preparation of a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) for the Marine Plan for Northern Ireland's waters. ABPmer led the preparation of the HRA and prepared the key marine topics for the SA.
This project included providing a baseline description of the marine environment (including physical, chemical, biological and human uses), identifying future trends and key issues. The project also included a review of designated features that could be impacted by the policies within the plan. The types of marine data collated included biodiversity, flora and fauna, climate factors, air, water and soils, landscape and seascape, cultural heritage, material assets, uses and activities and socio-demographics.
As with many national marine plans which contain high level policies, there was significant uncertainty concerning the effects of the plan (the extent to which the Plan might change human activity in the marine environment). We worked closely with DAERA to seek to ensure that the appraisals were meaningful and to identify where and how marine plan policies might influence future activity.
Following public consultation on the draft Plan a Post Adoption Statement was also prepared.