Publication - Consultation analysis

Designating a deep sea marine reserve in Scottish waters: consultation analysis

Summary of the analysis of consultation responses submitted on the designation of a deep sea marine reserve, the West of Scotland possible Marine Protected Area. The consultation opened on the 27 September 2019 and closed on 31 December 2019.

62 page PDF

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62 page PDF

1.6 MB

Contents
Designating a deep sea marine reserve in Scottish waters: consultation analysis
3. Analysis of consultation responses

62 page PDF

1.6 MB

3. Analysis of consultation responses

3.1. Introduction

3.1.1. Scope

Arup were appointed by Scottish Government to provide consultation analysis.

3.1.2. Aim

The aim of this report is to provide comprehensive analysis and a summary of key findings of the comments received from the 44 respondents who provided responses for the consultation.

3.1.3. Ensuring data protection compliance

To provide a comprehensive picture of the consultation undertaken, some quotes have been provided from responses received.

To ensure compliance with data protection regulations, respondents were asked by the Scottish Government if their responses could be published online. The appropriate data redaction has been implemented dependent upon the respondents answer to this question.

Where respondents have stated that 'Publish response only (without name)', quotations have been provided with the appropriate data redacted. To provide context to the response, the appropriate respondent category associated with the respondent is provided.

No quotations have been provided from respondents who provided an answer 'Do not publish response'. These responses were still analysed and contributed towards the consultation analysis. An overview of publishing permissions provided by respondents is outlined in Table 1.

Quotations can be identified as the text italicised and in a text box with a blue outline.

Table 1 Publishing permissions

Publish response with name: 20
Publish response only (without name): 23
Do not publish response: 1

3.2. Consultation approach

3.2.1. Wider approach

A mixed method approach was adopted for the consultation analysis, providing a comprehensive review of the qualitative and quantitative data.

For the purposes of this report, the following terms were defined as explained in Table 2. The table explains the difference between the person or persons who provided the response, and the content of the response provided.

Table 2 Response and Respondent definition

Response: The individual comments received from a respondent for the consultation.
Respondent: The business group, individual, organisation or sector that submitted the response for the consultation.

As part of the consultation analysis, Arup categorised the respondents into the relevant business group, individual, organisation or sector that they relate to. The respondent categories are as follows:

  • Environmental;
  • Fishing Group or Organisation;
  • Individual;
  • Other Industry Association; and
  • Regulator or Local Authority.

3.2.2. Quantitative data approach

The quantitative data were identified as the tick box 'Yes/No/Don't know' responses for questions one and two. This included the responses received via the online consultation and email. Where a 'Yes/No/Don't Know' answer was not explicitly given in an email response; the response was counted as "not answered".

The quantitative data were analysed by reviewing the tick box 'Yes/No/Don't know' responses received for questions one and two. The responses for question one were analysed in greater detail, with analysis by respondent category being undertaken. This helped to identify the differences in the responses received for each respondent category.

3.2.3. Qualitative data approach

For the purpose of this report, qualitative data have been identified as responses received within the 'free text' section for each question. Qualitative responses included the responses received via the online platform or the emails sent directly to Marine Scotland regarding the consultation.

3.2.3.1. Coding framework

A coding framework was developed and used to analyse the qualitative data received for the consultation, helping to ensure consistency across responses received.

A coding framework is a way of indexing or categorising the text to establish and identify key themes and issues in qualitative comments. This involves reviewing the qualitative comments received, searching and identifying concepts and finding relations between them. The coding framework allows for data to be examined and analysed in a structured way.

Creating the coding framework involved reviewing the questions asked in the consultation, to identify potential key themes and issues that were likely to be raised in the responses. Technical input from specialists within Arup helped to identify the potential key themes and issues. A sample of responses were then used to develop the coding framework, and to gain an understanding of content within responses.

The coding framework was designed to reflect the level of detail that is expected in this report to allow for useful grouping of responses.

The coding framework was a 'live document' which was regularly updated; both in content of existing codes and the addition of new codes, throughout the analysis of the consultation responses. This helped to ensure the analysis was flexible yet reliable, capturing all issues raised in the consultation.

Responses were individually analysed against the coding framework drawing out the range of positive, neutral and negative comments relating to the various questions set out in the consultation. Responses were not restricted to one code per response. There was no limit on the number of codes that could be assigned per response.

The consultation responses included generic comments or observations that did not directly relate to the questions set out. The coding framework has made provisions for this.

Some of the codes used overlap both in content and wording. This is due to the nature of the responses received. Responses that share similar overlapping themes but are different in content were coded separately from one another.

Below is a sample of the codes used to undertake the consultation analysis. The full coding framework is provided in Annex B.

  • The deep sea marine reserve will help to protect and/or enhance biodiversity.
  • The deep sea marine reserve will help to reduce carbon emissions and/or pollution.
  • The deep sea marine reserve will help to ensure a good quality of human life.
  • The deep sea marine reserve will have a negative effect on the quality of human life.
  • The deep sea marine reserve will have a negative economic impact at a local, regional and/or national level.
3.2.3.2. Coding quality assurance

To ensure the appropriate quality assurance of the coding analysis occurred, a primary, secondary and final review was completed.

Three different persons were used to undertake each review for the five questions.

The final review was undertaken by a senior Arup consultant.

3.2.3.3. 'General Themes' raised

The General Theme responses provide an overview of the content of the response received regarding the level of support for the deep sea marine reserve. General Themes were identified by reviewing the qualitative responses and categorising them as they best fit the following categories.

  • Respondent is supportive of the creation of the deep sea marine reserve.
  • Respondent has reservations in relation to the creation of the deep sea marine reserve.
  • Respondent supports the creation of the deep sea marine reserve but raises some concerns and/or makes additional recommendations or comments regarding the designations.
  • Respondent is against the creation of the proposed deep sea marine reserve but raises comments in support of the principle of an MPA and/or some aspects of the proposed deep sea marine reserve.
  • No comment.
  • Respondent provides a response, but it is unclear whether it supports or opposes the deep sea marine reserve.

Each response received for each question was coded once against the categories identified above.

The General Theme analysis has not been included in the wider response analysis. The purpose of the General Theme analysis is to provide an overview of the content of the responses received. This was identified as necessary upon an initial review of the responses, and it being identified that many of the responses did support the designation but raised concerns and/or made additional recommendations or comments regarding the deep sea marine reserve designation.

3.2.3.4. Assumptions and limitations of the coding framework

Assumptions of the coding framework include:

  • Multiple perspectives including voices of the analysts, the respondents and the readers interpreting the coding framework result;
  • Coding analysis is context-bound; and
  • Categories of interest emerge from the respondents, rather than set by the researcher before conducting the analysis.

Limitations of the coding framework include:

  • Using quantitative methods to analyse qualitative responses. Some qualitative researchers are against the principle of coding in qualitative research, because "counting conveys a quantitative orientation of magnitude and frequency contrary to qualitative research." (Creswell, 2013).
  • Coding risks the possibility of overlooking the significant and interesting minority data. Saldaña (2016) warns of the possibility that a unique code or one that appears a limited number of times may be key to the outcome of a report's findings.

3.2.4. Limitations and quality of responses

When comments were received that made no clear or obvious point relating to the consultation questions, best efforts were made to identify the purpose of the response. Where a meaning could not be identified they were counted as 'No Comment'. These were included in the overall count of 'No Comment' consultation responses (see section 3.4. for further information about No Comment responses).

Respondents who did not provide a written response or their response was incomplete and lacked clarity in its content were considered and counted as 'No Comment'. This occurred between 11 and 33 occasions for each question as shown in Table 3.

Table 3 Number of 'No Comment' responses by question

Question number: 'No Comment' responses
Question One: 11
Question Two: 21
Question Three: 19
Question Four: 24
Question Five: 33

When undertaking the qualitative analysis of free text comments, it was decided to exclude 'No Comment' responses from the total counts for each question. This was done so that more meaningful responses could take precedent during the analysis. However, it should be noted that for all five questions, 'No Comment' was within the top three responses given.

3.3. Consultation responses

In total, 44 respondents provided responses for the consultation. 39 of the respondents provided their responses through the online consultation. Five of the respondents provided an email response to the consultation for the five questions.

Responses received by email provided a response to every question similar to the online consultation or provided a general comment on the deep sea marine reserve. Responses that were structured in the same way as the online consultation were broken down and analysed per question in the same way as the online consultation responses received. The email responses that provided a more over-arching comment on the deep sea marine reserve that did not make specific reference to any one question, were included in the analysis of question one. This is because such comments were general and overarching in nature regarding their support of the deep sea marine reserve. This helped to ensure a consistent approach was adopted for the consultation analysis.

A breakdown of the number of the responses to the consultation per respondent category is provided in Table 4.

Table 4 Numbers of respondents by category

Respondent category: Total
Environmental: 6
Fishing Group or Organisation: 3
Individual: 30
Other Industry Association: 4
Regulator or Local Authority: 1

3.4. General Theme analysis

A total of 44 respondents provided a response for the five questions contained in this consultation. Thereby 220 responses were received from the 44 respondents.

Responses that did not provide a comment were still considered in the total number of responses received. Of the 220 responses, 108 were coded as 'No Comment'.

An analysis of the General Themes raised is shown in Figure 3.

  • 57 responses were supportive of the creation of a deep sea marine reserve.
“I think it's a great chance to let naturally resources from the area replenish for years to come.” (Individual)
  • Nine responses highlighted reservations in relation to the creation of the proposed deep sea marine reserve.
“It is unclear why under the intermediate and upper management scenarios outlined in the proposal, all future oil and gas activity should be excluded from the site. It is recommended that the existing approach to licensed activities on the UKCS permitted following assessment of the potential effects through EIA and with agreed management measures in support of conservation objectives is used in the deep sea marine reserve.” (OGUK)
  • 33 responses supported the creation of a deep sea marine reserve but raised some concerns and/or made additional comments regarding the designation.
“[Redacted] believe that the boundary of the Deep-Sea Reserve needs to be amended prior to designation, particularly on the eastern edge where the proposed boundary encompasses areas of fishing activity in waters less than 800m in depth.” (Fishing Group or Organisation)
  • Two responses were against the creation of the proposed deep sea marine reserve but raised comments in support of the principle of an MPA and/or aspects of the proposed deep sea marine reserve.

“We believe, as proposed, it seemingly represents subjective assumptions resulting in a broad overreach without more detailed discussion of management measures that might otherwise pragmatically address marine environmental concerns.” (International Association of Drilling Contractors)

  • 108 responses were identified as a 'No Comment' response.
  • One response was unclear as to whether the respondent supported or opposed the creation of a deep sea marine reserve.
Figure 3 Analysis of General Themes
Number of responses in each General Theme

3.5. Response analysis

The same methodology in analysing the 220 responses was adopted to identify the responses received specifically for each of the five questions.

A summary of the comments raised on the greatest number of occasions across the five questions question is shown in Figure 4.

  • 14 respondents indicated that the proposed deep sea marine reserve will help to protect and/or enhance biodiversity.

“Any protection put in place is a benefit and having seen the devastation left behind after some of our more destructive fishing techniques (scallop dredging), I dread to think of the long-term and possibly irrecoverable damage done to these important deep sea habitats.” (Individual)

  • 13 respondents indicated opposition/reservations with regard to the upper level management scenario of the proposed deep sea marine reserve.

“On the Conservation Objectives, we would like to highlight that, none of the proposed protected feature objectives’ rational refer to vulnerability of any sort towards pelagic fishery, hence we would reiterate the need of disregarding the references to the upper level management scenario from any further consideration.”  (Fishing Group or Organisation)

  • 11 respondents requested additional management and greater restriction of industrial activity than what is currently proposed in the deep sea marine reserve area.

“Functioning and actionable data from GPS devices on board ALL fishing vessels, linked to gear deployment is in my opinion, the only way to ensure that fishing vessels act within the law.” (Individual)

  • 10 respondents supported the scientific evidence for the proposed deep sea marine reserve, including support for the benefits that the deep sea marine reserve will create and the protection it will provide.

“The scientific evidence provides a substantial case for the designation, which it would be foolhardy and short-sighted to ignore.” (Individual)

  • 10 respondents referred to a lack of full confidence in the content of the evidence presented.

“We feel that lack of full confidence in relation to data and extent of features suggest that it would be inappropriate to apply restrictions on mid-water fishing activity (on migratory stocks), particularly when this activity has no detrimental impact on the Conservation Objective for the proposed protected features, indeed, restrictions on pelagic activity would be unlikely to provide any additional benefits to the habitats and species proposed for designation within West of Scotland Deep-Sea Reserve.” (Fishing Group or Organisation)

  • 10 respondents stated that the proposed deep sea marine reserve should be monitored appropriately.

“My hope is that this will be adequately monitored and QA'd.  I'd hate to see any allowance for fisheries or farms in the designated areas.” (Individual)

Figure 4 Key Comments raised
Number of responses in each Key Comment

3.6. Question One

"Q1) Do you support the designation of the West of Scotland deep sea marine reserve?"

Question One asked respondents to show their level of support for the proposed deep sea marine reserve. A summary of responses received is shown in Figure 5.

38 respondents said that they support the proposed deep sea marine reserve, with only one respondent opposing the designation outright. The remaining respondents either did not know (1) or did not provide a response (4).

Links to each of the figures relevant to Question One are contained in Table 5.

Table 5 Question One figures

Question One figure references
Figure 5 Question One – support for deep sea marine reserve
Figure 6 Question One – respondent category
Figure 7 Question One – environmental responses
Figure 8 Question One – regulator/Local Authority responses
Figure 9 Question One – other industry association responses
Figure 10 Question One – individual responses
Figure 11 Question One – fishing group or organisation responses

Figure 5 Question One – support for deep sea marine reserve

Figure 5 Question One – support for deep sea marine reserve
Number of respondents who support/oppose designation of West of Scotland MPA

A summary of the answers received for each category of respondent and details of their response are outlined in Figure 5 to Figure 11.

Figure 6 Question One – respondent category
Number of respondents in each category
Figure 7 Question One – environmental responses
Number of respondents from Environmental group who support/oppose designation of West of Scotland MPA
Figure 8 Question One – regulator/Local Authority responses
Number of respondents from regulatory/local authority who support/oppose designation of West of Scotland MPA
Figure 9 Question One – other industry association responses
Number of respondents from other industry who support/oppose designation of West of Scotland MPA
Figure 10 Question One – individual responses
Number of individual respondents who support/oppose designation of West of Scotland MPA
Figure 11 Question One – fishing group or organisation responses
Number of respondents from fishing groups or organisations who support/oppose designation of West of Scotland MPA

Of the 44 respondents who answered Question One, 34 provided a response to support their answer.

  • 11 respondents indicated that the proposed deep sea marine reserve will help to protect and/or enhance biodiversity.
  • Seven respondents indicated that the proposed deep sea marine reserve will help to provide required environmental protection.

“We need to stop destroying our natural heritage and being protecting it against over-exploitation and destruction.” (Individual)

  • Five respondents stated that sea areas around Scotland are crucial areas for many species and features.
  • Five respondents indicated that the proposed deep sea marine reserve will help to protect areas from the negative environmental effects created by industrial activity.
  • Four respondents claimed that the proposed deep sea marine reserve will help to meet national, regional and local environmental targets.

“[Redacted] welcome this proposal and can see a strong case for designating this site based on the information provided and:

  • the contribution it would make to meeting OSPAR targets / requirements;
  • the protection and recovery of rare and threatened species and habitats, not currently covered within the Scottish or UK MPA network;
  • the contribution it would make to the climate and biodiversity crises;
  • the precautionary approach to management of future risks such as deep-sea mining.” (Environmental Organisation)

A summary of the comments raised in the free text section for Question One is provided in Figure 12.

Figure 12 Question One – free text comments
Comments in free text for Q1 and number of times mentioned

3.7. Question Two

"2) Do you agree that the scientific evidence presented justifies the case for designation?"

Question Two asked respondents if they agree that the scientific evidence presented justifies the case for the designation of each site.

Figure 13 shows the responses received for Question Two.

Figure 13 Question Two responses
Number of respondents who agree that the scientific evidence supports the case for designation

Of the 44 respondents who answered Question Two, 43 provided a response to support their answer.

  • 10 respondents expressed support for the scientific evidence provided for the creation of the proposed deep sea marine reserve, including support for the benefits that a deep sea marine reserve will create and the protection it will provide.

“Based on the JNCC and Marine Scotland documents we consider that a meaningful procedure based upon best available science has been followed leading to the collection of necessary scientific evidence […] In addition, all the short-listed proposed protected biodiversity features of the pMPA are habitats and species considered to be of conservation priority in Scotland’s seas […]” (H2020 iAtlantic Projects)

  • Four respondents raised concerns/issues in relation to the scientific evidence for the proposed deep sea marine reserve.

“[…] It appears that assumptions are being made on a precautionary all-inclusive basis rather than reliable evidence. Therefore, at this time, we respectfully disagree that the scientific evidence represents a preponderance of justification for designation.” (International Association of Drilling Contractors)

  • Three respondents referred to a lack of confidence in the content of evidence provided.
  • Three respondents raised concerns and/or asked questions regarding why a number of species have not been included in the assessments undertaken.

A summary of the key comments raised in the free text section for Question Two is provided in Figure 14.

Figure 14 Question Two - free text comments
Comments in free text for Q2 and number of times mentioned

3.8. Question Three

"3) Do you have any comments on the conservation objectives and management advice?"

Question Three asked respondents if they had any comments on the conservation objectives and management advice for each site.

Of the 44 respondents who answered Question Three, 26 provided further comment.

  • Eight respondents requested for additional management and of industrial activity in the proposed deep sea marine reserve area than what is currently presented.

“In general, we support the management advice although we would suggest that the advice related to further oil and gas exploration within the deep sea marine reserve area needs strengthened.  Given the contribution of fossil fuels to climate change and the stated impacts of climate change on these vulnerable deep sea species and habitats we suggest that there should be a presumption against further exploration within the deep sea marine reserve boundary.” (Environmental Group)

  • Seven respondents expressed concerns/issues in relation to the conservation objectives and management advice for the proposed deep sea marine reserve.

“The oil and gas exploration industry is certainly in opposition to the Intermediate and Upper management scenarios that appear to arbitrarily discount the industry’s ability to responsibly develop offshore energy resources in a complimentary manner to sustaining Scotland’s marine environment.” (International Association of Drilling Contractors)

  • Six respondents expressed support for the conservation objectives and management advice for the proposed deep sea marine reserve.
  • Six respondents stated that if created, the deep sea marine reserve should be monitored appropriately.
  • Five respondents expressed opposition/reservations over the designation of the upper level management scenario.
  • Four respondents referred to a lack of confidence in the evidence presented.

A summary of the respondent's comments in the free text section for Question Three are summarised in Figure 15.

Figure 15 Question Three - free text comments
Comments in free text for Q3 and number of times mentioned

3.9. Question Four

"4) Do you have any comments on the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment?"

Question Four asked respondents if they had any comments on the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA).

Of the 44 respondents that provided responses for Question Four, 19 provided further comments in the free text section for Question Four.

  • Five respondents opposed or had reservations about the designation of the upper level management scenario.

“[Redacted] is generally supportive of designation of the site under the Marine & Coastal Access Act 2009. With regard to the impact on fishing, [Redacted] is supportive of the intermediate scenario which would result in no bottom fishing activity.

 […] We believe that it is not possible to fully quantify potential loss or costs (to fishing) associated with option 3 (upper scenario) as the migratory patterns of fish that tend to occupy the water column are subject to adaptation, depending on many unknown factors.” (Fishing Group or Organisation)

  • Four respondents claimed that a lack of confidence exists in the content of evidence presented.
  • Four respondents raised concerns/issues on the BRIA for the proposed deep sea marine reserve.

“At this stage, IADC and our members are quite suspect of this consultation as it relates to consideration for Business and Regulatory Impacts. An expected level of due diligence appears lacking where quantitative specifics such as detailed assumptions, calculations, and sensitively analysis might be illustrated to better inform stakeholder concerns.” (International Association of Drilling Contractors)

  • Three respondents expressed support for BRIA for the proposed deep sea marine reserve.
  • Three respondents mentioned that it is not possible to fully quantify the potential loss or costs (to industrial activities) associated with the upper level management scenario.

A summary of the respondents' comments in the free text section for Question Four are summarised in Figure 16.

Figure 16 Question Four - free text comments
Comments in free text for Q4 and number of times mentioned

3.10. Question Five

"5) Do you have any comments on the Sustainability Appraisal, including the Environmental Report and the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment?"

Question Five asked respondents if they had any comments on the Sustainability Appraisal, including the Environmental Report and the SEIA.

Of the 44 respondents for Question Five, 11 provided further comments in the free text section for the question.

  • Three respondents indicated that the Sustainability Appraisal had gone into exhaustive, and questionable detail on the costs to commercial fisheries sector and made false claims about the costs to others.

“The Sustainability Appraisal has exhaustively detailed costs to commercial fisheries sector, with additional claims about the costs to other sectors. In contrast, faced with a level of uncertainty about the benefits in Ecosystem Services, including non-use values, it has not proposed any valuations, despite the fact that several techniques and statistics are already available.” (Marine Conservation Society)

  • Three respondents mentioned that the Sustainability Appraisal made no attempt to quantify benefits to carbon storage even though workable figures are available.

“[…] In contrast, faced with a level of uncertainty about the benefits in Ecosystem Services, including non-use values, it has failed to come up with any valuations, in spite of the fact that several techniques and statistics are already available (e.g. Brander et al., 2015. The benefits to people of expanding Marine Protected Areas. IVM Institute for Environmental Studies.)” (Environmental Organisation)

  • Two respondents opposed or had reservations about the designation of the upper level management scenario.
  • Two respondents mentioned that it is not possible to fully quantify the potential loss or costs (to industrial activities) associated with the upper level management scenario.
  • Two respondents raised concerns/issues in relation to the Sustainability Appraisal for the proposed deep sea marine reserve.

A summary of the respondent's comments in the free text section for Question Five are summarised in Figure 17.

Figure 17 Question Five - free text comments
Comments in free text for Q5 and number of times mentioned

3.11. Key findings

In total, 44 respondents submitted answers and comments for the five questions asked as part of this consultation. The majority of respondents were identified as Individuals (30), with other respondents categorised as Environmental Organisations (6), Fishing Groups/Organisations (3), Other Industry Associations (4) or Regulatory/Local Authorities (1)

Responses received for the consultation varied significantly in length, detail and technical content.

The five most commonly raised responses by the respondents in support of the deep sea marine reserve in the free text sections across the five questions were:

  • 14 respondents believed that the proposed deep sea marine reserve will help protect and / or enhanve biodiversity.
  • 10 respondents supported the scientific ecidence for the proposed deep sea marine reserve including support for the benefits that the deep sea marine reserve will create and the protection it will provide.
  • Nine respondents claimed that the proposed deep sea marine reserve will help to protect areas from the negative environmental effects created by industrial activity.
  • Seven respondents mentioned that the sea areas around Scotland are crucial areas for many species and features.
  • Seven respondents believed that the deep sea marine reserve will help to provide required environmental protection.

The five most commonly raised comments identifying concerns regarding the deep sea marine reserve were:

  • 13 respondents oppose/have reservations about the designation of the upper level management scenario.
  • 10 respondents raised concerns/issues in relation to the conservation objectives and management advice for the deep sea marine reserve.
  • 10 respondents referred to the lack of confidence in the content of the evidence presented.
  • Six respondents mentioned that the boundary of the deep sea marine reserve needs to be amended.
  • Five respondents raised concerns/issues in relation to the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment for the deep sea marine reserve.

Overall, 38 (86%) respondents of the 44 that took part in the consultation, supported the proposed deep sea marine reserve.

Respondents expressed a belief that the designation will help to protect biodiversity and to protect the sea from the negative environmental effects of industrial activity.

Four respondents (10%) did not provide answer and one (2%) respondent did not know whether they supported the proposed designation.

Only one respondent (2%) opposed the proposed deep sea marine reserve when asked in question one.

The greatest level of concern was registered in relation to the upper level management scenario for the proposed designation.


Contact

Email: marine_conservation@gov.scot