July 2014

Exploring the Potential of Using Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data for Marine Planning (MMO 1075)

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Posted in | by Sam Taylor, Peter Jones

MMO has powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) to prepare marine plans covering the coastal waters of England. Marine plans guide those who use and regulate the marine area to encourage sustainable development while considering the environment, economy and society.

MMO commissioned and designed the report to examine how far the data requirements for marine plans can be met through ONS data. Social and economic data are needed to allow MMO to characterise the marine plan areas and produce indicators regarding the industries, communities and environment affected by marine planning. Data challenges are posed by the long term nature of the planning process, MMO’s focus on marine industries and the geography of the marine plan areas defined in legislation. MMO therefore requires data that is produced regularly, and which can be analysed in detail, both geographically and in terms of business and social sectors.

The study analysed data sets held by the ONS that could be used by MMO, and considered their relative suitability in meeting MMO’s requirements. Overall, within the data already collected by ONS, it appears that many of MMO’s needs could be met. Data accessed through the ONS Nomis portal, drawn from a number of business and social surveys was found to meet the criteria that would make it suitable for use in marine planning.

However, there is a level of geographical imprecision and the need for apportionment of certain sectoral information to be considered: a methodology is included in the report for the production of a number of political and social metrics that were identified.

Although the output is to support primarily the marine planning process it should be suitable for use by other MMO functions that require an insight on the socio-economic profile of marine and coastal areas.

This report is available free of charge. Press the orange button and supply a few details about yourself in order to access the download.

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