Where land meets sea: planning challenges and opportunities at the coast

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 15:00 to 16:30

Coastal and marine issues are becoming increasingly relevant for spatial and environmental planning. Ireland’s seas and coastal waters will play a potentially significant role in the transition to renewable energy generation and continue to face pressures from more traditional activities such as shipping, fishing and mineral exploitation. At the same time, it is recognized that the protection of Ireland’s marine ecosystems requires the development, implementation and enforcement of a coherent network of marine protected areas as well as restrictions on human activities at sea and on the coast.  

This webinar seeks to address some of the key challenges and opportunities arising from recent policy and legislative initiatives, such as the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) and Maritime Planning Act (RoI) and the Marine Plan for Northern Ireland. We will focus in particular on the role of local planning authorities in relation to marine and coastal issues and explore the potential for local authorities to work together on a cross-boundary basis. The webinar will, draw on a review of the NMPF commissioned by the Sustainable Water Management Network (SWAN) as well as recent scientific research and insights from practice.  

Dr. Cormac Walsh, Independent Consultant and Senior Research Associate, ICLRD & Dr. Heather Ritchie, Lecturer in Spatial Planning and Energy Policy, Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Ulster University and Research Associate, ICLRD 
Welcome from ICLRD Chair  
Ms. Mary MacIntyre OBE 

Dr. Cormac Walsh 
Ms. Sybil Berne, Associate, MacCabe Durney Barnes 
Dr. Kofi Ansong, Howell Marine Consulting & University of Ulster  
Ms. Ellen MacMahon SWAN Sustainable Water Management Network 


Dr Heather Ritchie 
Spatial Planning and Energy Policy in the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment at Ulster University
Heather teaches across all four years of the Integrated Masters (MSci) in Planning, Regeneration and Development. Heather is a Research Associate of ICLRD, committee member of the Irish Sea Maritime Forum, the MSP Research Network and is a member of the Marine and Coastal Working Group for the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside. Heather is a Chartered Member of the Irish Planning Institute and is a committee member of the Marine Spatial Planning group.
Dr. Cormac Walsh
Independent researcher and consultant.
He received his PhD from the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin in 2010. He is an internationally recognised expert on marine spatial planning and has authored numerous scientific publications and policy reports on MSP, coastal management and related issues. He is a Senior Research Associate of ICLRD and currently lectures at Leuphana University, Lüneburg in northern Germany.
Ellen MacMahon 
Policy officer for the Sustainable Water Network (SWAN).
Ellen leads SWAN’s marine policy work. She has a BA in English & Geography and a MSc in Marine and Coastal Environments from NUI Galway. Prior to joining SWAN she worked in marine policy research, the NGO sector and central government in Ireland, the UK and New Zealand.
Dr. Joseph Kofi Ansong
Consultant at Howell Marine Consulting.
He is an expert coastal and marine planner whose experience spans both consultancy and research in Ireland, UK, and Africa.  His work has brought together scientists, policy makers, regulators, and industry to find solutions that deliver a sustainable blue economy, nature-based solutions, ocean multi-use and international marine policies. He is a member of the MSPglobal Expert Group that co-authored the MSP international guidance for UNESCO-IOC and the European Commission.
Sybil Berne
Planning consultant working for MacCabe Durney Barnes specialist planning
She has worked on a variety of projects ranging from planning policy to projects and research on behalf of both the public and private sectors. She is qualified in both land use planning and marine spatial planning. She has been involved in a number of research projects on MSP on behalf of the Marine Institute and the Environmental Protection Agency. She was part of the Spatial Data and Evidence Projects for MSP (Marine Institute) which helped shape the baseline of the National Marine Planning Framework. She is a member of Irish Planning Institute’s Committee on Marine Spatial Planning since 2020.