Independent Investigation in Marine Spatial Planning: discretionary or necessary?

Heather Ritchie* (Corresponding Author), Jim Claydon, Linda McElduff, Anne-Michelle Slater

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public Inquiry is an established process for effective testing and scrutiny of plans in terrestrial planning and is regarded as a means of providing credibility and accountability. Independent Investigation is its marine equivalent and was included as a provision in the UK marine planning regime and subsequent legislation since its inception. However, it has been noticeably absent in practice. This paper investigates the reasons behind this situation within the context of the proposed and actual role of II in the marine planning process in the UK. It additionally considers the future use of II in enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the marine planning system. This paper concludes that as the use of the marine resource of the UK becomes increasingly contested and controversial, II could be utilised to enhance marine plans and marine planning decisions and thus warrants further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Early online date16 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Dec 2022


  • marine spatial planning
  • independent investigation
  • discretionary
  • decision making


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