Government approved a General Scheme of the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill in July 2019. Further policy work continues on development of certain aspects of the proposed regime with a view to incorporating these elements at a future stage.
In addition to the policy development work, my Department is continuing to work with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel on the drafting process. The target timeframe for the publication of the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill, as set out in the Climate Action Plan to tackle Climate Breakdown, is Quarter 4 2019.
Once the legislation is published, it will be a matter for the Oireachtas to consider it. The MPDM Bill will require further enabling measures post enactment to bring the new regime into operation including the necessary regulations, statutory guidelines and transitional arrangements.
My Department is leading the development of the MPDM Bill under the auspices of the Marine Legislation Steering Group. The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE) is leading the development of provisions in this legislation which are specific to Offshore Renewable Energy and advises that in regard to the future Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) regime, the MPDM provides flexibility to allow for both a ‘centralised’ and ‘decentralised’ approach to the development of offshore renewable energy projects.
Both of these models are feasible options for Ireland to develop ORE, which will operate in the context of the National Marine Planning Framework. Under both models, the Bill intends that applications for Maritime Area Consent for ORE will be considered by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment with development consent, including a single environmental assessment, being the responsibility of An Bord Pleanála.