Six respondents agreed that integration was not being achieved under the current licensing and consenting system, because it was complicated, not concise, and operated in a piecemeal fashion. These respondents felt that there was not enough information on what the law required from applicants and also a lack of a clear management process between regulators and applicants. There was also broad agreement that as well as a lack of integration between government bodies and neighbouring local authorities, the licensing system was still largely driven by sectoral interests.
Six respondents agreed that there was no integration between the current framework across the land-sea divide, (i.e. the offshore, coastal and terrestrial environments), and one suggested that this could be due to a lack of coordination and foresight between respective bodies. One respondent also noted that it had not been clearly stated how ICZM could provide the link between terrestrial and marine planning and that neither system had been set up to integrate with each other. One respondent stated that there was a lack of any form of hierarchy which defined which plan (Habitats Directive, WFD2, SMPs, RSS3 etc.) took priority at the coastal zone.
There were also calls for greater harmonisation between agencies over the management of various activities, legislation and strategies. For example between the Sea Fisheries Committees and the Environment Agency; Defra and the DFT; DTI and DCLG. One respondent suggested that the policies which dealt with the coastal zone conflicted with one another and tended to be developed with little or no consideration of others, i.e. there was an automatic assumption that the relevant bodies would automatically ‘buy into’ plans.
The lack of integration between flood and coastal erosion risk management, principally Shoreline Management Plans and the terrestrial planning system was a concern for six respondents. Three respondents suggested that at the national and local level, the Planning Policy Statements (PPSs) and Planning Policy Guidance (PPGs) partly addressed this problem, but on the whole, planning for coastal erosion and flooding tended to be from the narrow perspective of managing risk rather than from a broader holistic vision for the coast.
Most of the respondents made general comments to this question ranging from how partnerships could contribute towards integration, using Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) as a model for managing the coast in an integrated and organised way, and how organisations should work outside the narrow remit of their role and explore how stakeholders can work together to forge relationships and recognise sectoral needs.
Two respondents suggested that devolved administrations needed to engage and explain what was expected from an integrated approach at the national level, particularly as devolution matures. One respondent also suggested that the lack of integration could be because the different
2 Water Framework Directive 2000 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-framework/index en.html
3 Regional Spatial Strategy 2005