Policies, Legislation and Strategies

© Heather Davison-Smith
In 2018, the UK government published its 25-Year Environment Plan which set out the goals for improving the natural environment, including our marine resources.

The plan highlighted that working collaboratively and at an ecosystem scale would be key to securing a healthy and productive marine environment.

The Environment Act (2021) builds on the 25-Year Environment Plan, and looks to enhance the UK’s existing wildlife and environmental legislation. Whilst marine ecosystems are not the core focus of the bill, a number of policies and strategies are expected to interact with the coastal zone and have implications for our seas.

Biodiversity Net Gain and Marine Net Gain

From February 2024, developers will have to demonstrate how they have improved biodiversity through their project, as a requirement of planning permission being granted. Terrestrial planning regulations extend to mean low water, so this includes the intertidal area.  The YMNP is working with partners to understand how this can be implemented effectively on the Yorkshire coast, and how it could work alongside existing protected areas, activities and initiatives to support our sensitive marine ecosystems.

Beyond mean low water, Government is exploring separate mechanisms for Marine Net Gain.  Due to the complexities of development, mitigation and enhancement in the marine environment, this is likely to look quite different from Biodiversity Net Gain.  The YMNP is working with partners to identify where Marine Net Gain could be an effective tool in Yorkshire’s marine area, and how it might support and planned initiatives.

Find out more about Biodiversity Net Gain
© Chrys Mellor

Local Nature Recovery Strategies and Networks

As part of a duty on public authorities to ‘conserve and enhance’ biodiversity, Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) are being produced to create a network across England.  On the Yorkshire coast, two strategies are being created – the North Yorkshire and York LNRS and the Hull and East Yorkshire LNRS.   These strategies must include the coastal zone, down to mean low water, however the YMNP has worked with the responsible authorities to agree that the marine area out to 12 nautical miles will also be included, on a voluntary basis.  This is great news, as it means that the connectivity, importance and value of the marine environment can be appropriately represented through these strategies.

The YMNP is working with a wide range of stakeholders to provide expert advice and guidance on Yorkshire’s coastal and marine area, to inform the development of the two strategies.  This includes exploring challenges around data and evidence, identifying what our priority species and habitats might be, and developing ideas for collaborative nature recovery opportunities.

For updates on the North Yorkshire and York Local Nature Recovery Strategy, click here

For updates on the Hull and East Yorkshire Local Nature Recovery Strategy, click here

Read about our coastal and marine LNRS work
© Heather Davison-Smith

The Fisheries Act (2020)

The Fisheries Act (2020) updates and replaces previous European Union commitments, setting out national objectives for fisheries management. The Act requires that a Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS) be produced by the fisheries policy authorities, explaining how long-term sustainability of fish stocks will be achieved. The JFS must include fisheries management plans, which set out the policies designed to restore or maintain the stocks of specific species. These  are likely to be implemented by the North Eastern Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority (NEIFCA) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on the Yorkshire coast.

Find out more about Fisheries Management Plans
© Paula Lightfoot

Natural Capital Accounting

Across government and regulatory organisations, the natural capital approach to managing, using and restoring the natural environment is becoming more commonplace. This refers to the services we receive from the natural environment (such as food, energy and nutrient cycling) and the value that is given to those resources. The natural capital approach is intended to provide an alternative perspective and set of tools that can improve understanding of the environment, our dependence on it, and the wider implications of allowing it to decline.

Find out how the YMNP is working with partners to understand how the natural capital approach could be applied to the Yorkshire coast.

Find out more


Learn how the YMNP encourages and enables responsible use and enjoyment of the marine environment.

Learn More

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If you have any questions about this or any area of our work, we’ll be happy to help.

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