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Scotland's First Marine Bill

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Marine Planning

Sustainable Seas For All

The Scottish Marine Bill proposes to introduce a statutory marine planning system for Scotland. This will allow us to take a more strategic approach to managing our seas to balance resource needs within marine space whilst protecting our marine environment. This will mean that all activities can be considered together, from wildlife tourism and recreational sea angling to energy and fishing.

National Marine Plan

The National Marine Plan will set out the strategic objectives for the Scottish marine area and will ensure that our international and EU commitments are met. It will identify national priorities within certain areas and provide clarity for decision-making. It will be guided by the UK Marine Policy Statement, as appropriate. For example, the Scottish Government will be able to state the importance attached to the development of aquaculture or life line services to island communities.

Regional Marine Plans

Local interests and accountability will be met through regional planning. The Bill enables the creation of Scottish Marine Regions which will provide the basis for regional planning. After consultation, boundaries of the Scottish Marine Regions will be established through secondary legislation.

The Bill allows Scottish Ministers to delegate regional planning to a lead organisation of a Scottish Marine Region such as a local authority or, where appropriate, a group of nominated stakeholders acting together. These will be known as Marine Planning Partnerships. The regional plans will be guided by the National Marine Plan and approved by Scottish Ministers.

  • Regional Marine Plans will provide the context in which conflicts between different sectors can be resolved and by which key areas can be defined for key uses.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management

When producing plans Scottish Ministers and Marine Planning Partnerships must take into account adjacent marine plans and terrestrial plans. The requirement for marine plans to be compatible with terrestrial plans and the ability of the Scottish Ministers to direct Marine Planning Partnerships provides the mechanism to deliver Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

Consultation on Plans

The Scottish Ministers and the Marine Planning Partnerships will be required to consult on their respective plans. Plans, both national and regional, will come into effect once approved and published by the Scottish Ministers. Plans can be amended where necessary to reflect changing circumstances but only the Scottish Ministers can withdraw a plan.

Effectiveness of Plans

Scottish Ministers and the Marine Planning Partnerships will keep under review matters which could affect the achievement of sustainable development in the marine area. These would include the physical, environmental, social, cultural and economic characteristics of the marine area.

To measure the progress towards the objectives for which the plans have been made, Scottish Ministers and the Marine Planning Partnerships will be required to publish a report at least every 5 years. Depending on the outcome they could amend or replace the plan.

Figure 4 illustrates the planning process if the Scottish Ministers adopt the UK Marine Policy Statement.

FIGURES 2 & 3. DATA LAYERS FOR THE CLYDE MARINE SPATIAL PLAN DRAFT.
(Copyright SSMEI Firth of Clyde Marine Spatial Plan Draft.)

FIGURES 2 & 3

Data Required to Inform Plans

Data relating to activities, historic features, the natural environment and constraints within an area will be required to inform the marine planning process. Considerable work is already underway which will provide relevant data, as well as identify gaps in our knowledge, both in terms of spatial information and quality of data. Figures 2, 3 & 6.

The Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative ( SSMEI), led by the Scottish Government, is an innovative approach to developing an overall marine planning framework. It aims to develop and test new approaches of delivering sustainable marine management and planning at a local level through a series of four pilot projects. Experiences learned as well as outcomes will be valuable to the development of the Scottish Marine Region model and marine planning practices. Figure 5

MARINE PLANNING PROCESS
FIGURE 4. MARINE PLANNING PROCESS

FIGURE 4

FIGURE 5. SPATIAL MAPPING OF VARIOUS MARINE AND COASTAL ACTIVITIES AND CONSTRAINTS AROUND SCALLOWAY COAST, SHETLAND. COURTESY OF SSMEI SHETLAND.

FIGURE 5

FIGURE 6. RECENT MARINE SCOTLAND SONAR DATA SHOWING WRECK MEASURING 35 METRES ON SEA BED SOUTH OF THE ISLE OF MAY. THIS TECHNOLOGY WILL BE USED TO MAP AREAS OF THE SEA BED TO INFORM MARINE PLANNING THE WRECK REMAINS UNIDENTIFIED.
COPYRIGHT MARINE SCOTLAND.

FIGURE 6