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Marine planning

Helping to unlock opportunities for the sustainable development of the seabed.

Our seabed resources are some of the richest in the world, underpinning the UK’s position as a global leader in offshore wind and supporting vital national infrastructure.

As well as managing and leasing sites offshore, our expert teams are uniquely placed to look at the bigger picture across a breadth of sectors, from offshore wind to cables and pipelines and marine aggregates, carefully managing competing demands for space on the busy seabed, as well as helping to unlock opportunities for sustainable development.

We do this in the context of marine policy and statutory marine plans, by working to address key consenting and planning challenges, facilitating better information sharing, optimising data and engaging closely with industry stakeholders, from regulators and statutory bodies to national and local government. In this way, we are helping to overcome common barriers to development and bring down costs, helping to make the UK seabed one of the most attractive places globally to invest.

Marine Data Exchange

A great example of this approach is the Marine Data Exchange, established by The Crown Estate in 2013, to store, manage and share offshore survey data collected by our customers throughout the lifetime of their projects. This resource, now one of the biggest sources of marine data in the world, is helping to make valuable data freely accessible, promote collaboration within the sector, reduce survey costs and ultimately de-risk investment offshore.

You can explore our Marine Data exchange here.

Our role in marine planning

As mangers of the seabed, we have a number of statutory obligations to consider through various piece of legislation such as the Habitats Regulations and the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). 

The Crown Estate is a competent authority under the Habitats Regulations. When we undertake leasing or licensing activity, we may need to conduct a plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). This process requires The Crown Estate to assess the impacts of the proposed leasing/licensing activity on designated sites of European important that form the Natura 2000 network, before seabed rights can be awarded. Throughout the assessment process, we are supported by expert independent advisors, and undertake consultation with the relevant UK statutory marine planning authorities, statutory nature conservation bodies and a number of non-governmental stakeholders. Our final decision to award rights is made in accordance with the outcome of the plan-level HRA process.

Under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 we consider ourselves to be a public authority and therefore must have regard to marine policy documents in our decision-making.

We are not the statutory marine planning authority – that role is undertaken by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in English waters, Welsh Ministers in Welsh waters, and the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Irish waters. However, we work closely with the marine planning authorities by actively sharing data and contributing to the statutory marine planning process.

Our partnerships

Our team work in close partnership with our customers, stakeholders and other interested bodies, to support the long-term sustainable development of the seabed.

These partnerships cover a range of issues, from helping to encourage collaboration to address consenting risk and boost performance, to helping balance the interests of a range of interests on the busy seabed and preserving our underwater heritage. 

One example is The Fishing Liaison with Offshore Wind and Wet Renewables Group (FLOWW), chaired by The Crown Estate, which helps foster good relations between the fishing and offshore renewable energy sectors, by sharing knowledge, developing best practice and liaising with other sectors with interests in the marine environment. For more information, click here.


  • A generic graphic of a person's light blue silhouette on a dark blue background.

    Ed Salter

    Senior Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Marine, Strategic Delivery

  • Chelsea Bradbury

    Senior Marine Data & Insights Manager, Planning & Technical

  • Michelle Moore

    Technical & Spatial Planning Director

  • A generic graphic of a person's light blue silhouette on a dark blue background.

    Sion Roberts

    Senior HRA Manager, Marine, Planning & Technical