The coastal and marine environment requires careful management in order to balance its long term health and conserve its rich biodiversity against human activity and development. National and international legislation is driving forward new approaches to marine planning, regulation and management. As identified through the Marine Bill consultation and market research, Local Authorities are ideally placed to undertake a greater role in meeting these aims. Local knowledge and democratic accountability is seen as critical to the success of any changes to the way in which activities in the marine environment are managed. However, for Local Government to increase its involvement, appropriate legislation and funding needs to be made available. Ensuring they have access to the best available data, together with tools and expertise to analyse and interpret this information e ectively, will deliver better efficiencies and improved evidence based decision making.