The overall aim of the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) is to shape the UK’s capability, within national and international waters, to "provide, and respond, within a changing climate, to, the evidence required for sustainable development within a clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse marine ecosystem and within one generation to make a real difference".
The UKMMAS is implemented through a number of groups, responsible for specific aspects but with dialogue between groups and subject to overall direction by the Marine Assessment and Reporting Group (MARG). The Productive Seas Evidence Group (PSEG) is one of the four evidence groups which report directly to MARG.
The specific role of PSEG is to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to produce periodic assessments to identify the nature and influences that human activities have on the socio-economic uses of the marine environment.
The responsibilities of PSEG will enable the UK to determine whether the available scientific and commercial data provide a reasonable scientific basis for concluding that the UK seas are productive i.e. we have sustainable development of the seas.
PSEG gathers evidence that describes the trends in the use of the marine environment, in the context of sustainable development. It identifies and quantifies the pressures that human physical activities - for example marine construction, oil and gas, renewable energy, shipping (including dredging and disposal of dredged material), fisheries and leisure industries – are exerting on the marine environment, while recognising that we require sufficient access to suitable long-term resources to meet fluctuating demands. The group is also looking to have sufficient confidence that these activities are undertaken in a way that e.g. causes minimal harm to the marine environment and do not affect unacceptably other legitimate uses and users of the sea.
Membership of the group consists of:
- Central government departments such as Defra, DECC and the Scottish Government
- A range of NDPBs such as the MMO, SEPA and JNCC
- Industry representatives, including Oil and Gas UK and the British Marine Federation
- A number of other relevant parties
Access to Industry Data
The UK Government, primarily through the UK Marine Science Strategy and the MSCC, has committed to enabling open access to as much marine data as possible. The intention behind this commitment is to reduce the costs and burdens to developers, as well as to ensure that the maximum value is extracted from existing data.
Explicit commitment to facilitate access to industry data where possible has been made, and it has fallen to the main regulatory bodies to work in partnership with The Crown Estate (TCE), industry representatives, Marine Environmental Data Information Network (MEDIN) and UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) members to facilitate such access for the public, industry and government. The final report is available now.
Social and Economic Assessment Requirements for Development Projects Affecting the Marine Environment
The Productive Seas Evidence Group (PSEG) commissioned a sub-group to undertake a review of existing legal and policy requirements relating to the assessment of social and economic consequences of marine development projects and available guidance for undertaking such assessments. The review was carried out between July 2013 and March 2014. The draft report from the sub-group was reviewed at a PSEG meeting in March 2014 and finalised thereafter in the light of comments received. The final report and associated Recommendations Plan are available below.