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Marine links and management

The area designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty extends down to the mean low water mark - the limit of planning authority for terrestrial planning authorities. But the North Norfolk Heritage Coast has no formal seaward boundary, and there are many links between the area's natural beauty and the marine environment (see section in 'Natural beauty of the area')

The Wash and North Norfolk Coast European Marine Site
Protected in 1996 for its significance in a European context, encompasses 108,000 hectares of the marine environment covering the Wash and extending along the Norfolk coast to Weybourne, overlapping with the AONB designation in the intertidal area. It combines Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under European Union legislation, and is part of the 'Natura 2000' network of European sites for nature conservation.

There are close links between the Wash and North Norfolk Marine Partnership and the Norfolk Coast Partnership many representatives sit on both partnerships and staff co-operate closely to pursue joint interests and initiatives.

For further information visit the new WNNMP website.


Marine planning
The combined East Onshore and Offshore Marine Plan, launched in April 2014, is a statutory plan to manage development and activities in a large marine area including the inter-tidal area and offshore from the AONB. Objective 5, policies SOC2 and SOC3 and paragraphs 153-156 in section 3.3 of the Marine Plan are particularly relevant to coastal protected landscapes. Shoreline Management Plans are also important in managing the marine dimension.

Government has committed to ensuring that a well managed UK Marine Protected Area network, covering in excess of 25% of English waters, will be in place by the end of 2016. This could entail the designation of further Marine Protected Areas overlapping or offshore from the AONB in addition to the European Marine Site, such as Marine Conservation Zones and Special Protection Areas for bird species reliant on the marine environment.

Marine planning is the responsibility of the new Marine Management Organisation (MMO), formed in April 2010. The MMO will lead on the development of marine plans for 6 inshore and 4 offshore areas around England, with high level guidance from a national Marine Policy Statement, which will also provide guidance for marine development decisions until a marine plan is in place.

The first inshore and offshore areas to have marine plans developed, starting in April 2011, are from Flamborough Head to Felixtowe, and so include the marine area offshore from the Norfolk Coast. You can find out more about these marine plans via the MMO's web site

Inshore fisheries
Inshore fisheries and aspects of conservation of the marine environment are managed by Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs). Find out more about the local Eastern IFCA