National Marine Plan 2 Steering Group


Effectively managing how we use our marine space is critical in our transition to net zero by 2045, the achievement of our national and international biodiversity commitments and to maximise the opportunities a blue economy approach can deliver for our environment and communities. 

In Programme for Government 2022-2023, we announced our intention to start the process of developing a new National Marine Plan (NMP), to address the global climate and nature crises by carefully managing increased competition for space and resources in the marine environment”.

The statutory process for the development of a national marine plan requires detailed assessments and extensive stakeholder engagement, estimated to take approximately 3 years, with adoption by late 2025.

Widespread stakeholder participation and engagement with the general public is essential if we are to successfully deliver a new National Marine Plan for Scotland that helps us:

  • deliver our priorities in line with our statutory targets
  • support sustainable economic recovery
  • protect and enhance the natural goods and services our marine environment provides

Aims and objectives

We have set up the National Marine Plan 2 (NMP2) Steering Group to ensure we hit our target. The group will: 

  • provide a review of the draft policies and objectives of NMP2
  • provide advice to Marine Scotland Officials on the Sustainability Appraisal (SA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) and Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) for the NMP2
  • facilitate access to required data and evidence
  • review and comment on project outputs, such as the SEA scoping report, assessment methodologies and assessment conclusions  

Terms of Reference

  • NMP2 Steering Group will support the development of NMP2 Statutory assessments and draft plan policies and objectives
  • membership will seek to provide fair representation across key stakeholder groups
  • all members are expected to behave respectfully and professionally
  • the group does not exist in isolation. It will make full use of links with other workstreams that deal with related matters; and, where required, refer relevant arising matters to other workstreams for attention for example, in relation to Sectoral Marine Planning, Marine Protected Area management measures and the designation of Highly Protected Marine Areas 
  • the group will promote a structured and proactive approach to marine planning processes by providing review of-- and advice on-- statutory assessments that will inform the development of the plan
  • the group will operate flexibly with participants’ attendance reflecting topics that are being considered. Additional ad hoc meetings can be organised, in between the Group's meetings, to discuss particular topics in more detail
  • the Chair will be provided by Marine Scotland
  • the Chair may invite other experts, as needed
  • the group may, from time to time, be privy to information that is not yet publicly available, both from the NMP2 development process and from other Scottish Government workstreams. Members are expected to treat this information with confidence
  • should the chair not be able to attend a meeting, then an appropriate temporary chair will be agreed by the group in advance of the meeting
  • members of the group should make all reasonable efforts to attend meetings (either in person or via telephone or video conference). Where a member organisation fails to attend more than 2 relevant meetings in succession, they may be asked to step down
  • where an existing member resigns from the group, the chair will endeavour to invite a replacement from an appropriate alternative body
  • the Secretariat for the group shall be provided by the Planning and Policy Unit, Marine Planning and Policy Division, Marine Scotland
  • the Terms of Reference and focus of the group will be subject to review on a regular basis, as agreed by members
  • if members are not present at these meetings, copies of any minutes and relevant documents or reports should still be circulated to all members for awareness. Once finalised, minutes will be stored electronically by Marine Scotland officials, and will be uploaded to the Scottish Government website
  • the NMP2 Steering Group will be the first step in the consultations’ governance structure
  • marine Scotland officials will present draft documents during meetings and will explain the purpose of the feedback needed
  • documents will be shared before or after the meetings in order to get written feedback from the members
  • deadlines for providing feedback on each deliverable will be communicated prior to their circulation.  Members are expected to provide comments within agreed timeframes
  • members should be aware that all correspondence with Scottish Government, including minutes taken during meetings, are subject to Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and/or Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 requests, enabling the public to access information held by the Scottish Government and its agencies

Conflict of interest

Member involvement in any projects and any other potential conflicts of interest must be stated as soon as they become apparent. Conflicts of Interest whether they are commercial or academic will be covered by a standing agenda item ‘Conflicts of Interest’ at each meeting.  Where appropriate, members may be asked to leave the room until discussions of the potentially sensitive information are completed.  



  • we expect that at least 3 meetings will be required to review key outputs for the development of the NMP2
  • where needed focused meetings might be required to deal with specific aspects of the assessments or receptors
  • some meetings will include an external consultant appointed to assist with the development of the statutory assessments (SEA, HRA and SEIA)
  • April 2023 – Intro meeting and presentation of the Scoping Report - Review of the SEA scoping report and feedback on the report prior to consultation with the SEA Consultation Authorities and the public
  • autumn 2023 TBC - SEA/SEIA/HRA/SA methodologies - Feedback on proposed methods and scope of the assessments, data to be used, presentation of assessments and results
  • spring 2024 TBC - Environmental Report for SEA, SEIA Report, HRA report/s and SA report - Review of assessment conclusions, feedback on/resolving of issues prior to statutory consultation

Scottish Government website

Minutes from the meetings will be published on this website.

Marine Planning Forum

One of the main communication channels with wider stakeholders for the NMP2 will be a Marine Planning Forum. Members of the Steering Group will be invited to take part in each Forum.

NMP2 Steering Group’s email communication

Between the meetings there might be a need for ad hoc consultation/feedback on specific topics. NMP2 project team might be occasionally circulating links to short surveys to gather the information / ad hoc consultation on these issues.


All reasonable costs of the group will be the responsibility of Marine Scotland. This includes the cost of hosting the meetings and providing secretariat support. Other costs to be covered will be discussed and decided by the group. Paying for attendance should not feature.

Roles and Responsibilities


The role of the Chair is:

  • to facilitate communication between group members in order to inform the date/time of next meeting and the agenda
  • to ensure the group functions properly, to meet the requirements for collecting and collating evidence to support the NMP2 assessment process
  • to manage and control the meetings, and act as a facilitator of these discussions and to call out and stop any abusive behaviour
  • introduce and explain the background and the purpose of agenda items;
  • seek approval for amendments to the Terms of Reference


The secretariat will be responsible for:

  • organising and arranging the meetings, including liaison with the chair
  • at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting, the secretariat will aim to circulate an agenda and any relevant papers to group members if relevant
  • following steering group meetings, circulate minutes and actions of the meeting to group members
  • following meetings circulate documents needed for the written feedback
  • final versions of the minutes will be made available for publication on the Scottish Government website. Papers and reports provided for discussion will also be made available on the Scottish Government website, unless otherwise agreed by members during the meeting and recorded in the minutes. Members may redact information

 Termination of the Steering Group

The NMP2 Steering Group will be terminated after the last meeting. We will publish the report from the activity of the group on the Scottish Government's website.


The Steering Group is formed of a wide range of sectoral interests, each organisation to provide a main contact representative, and if needed sported by an alternate or by specialists within their organisations and shall comprise of no more than three representatives from each of the named organisations, unless otherwise agreed by the group.


Chairperson: Marine Scotland – Policy and Planning

Secretariat: to be provided by Marine Scotland – Policy and Planning

Representatives from:

  • Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers
  • Blue Economy Scottish Government
  • British Trout Association
  • CIFA
  • Coastal Communities Network
  • Crown Estate Scotland (CES)
  • European Subsea Cables Association
  • Fisheries Management Scotland
  • Historic Environment Scotland (HES)
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
  • Marine Analytical Unit, Directorate for Marine Scotland, Scottish Government
  • Marine Planning and Policy, Directorate for Marine Scotland, Scottish Government
  • Marine Scotland Science, Directorate for Marine Scotland, Scottish Government (MSS)
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
  • Nature Scot
  • North and East Coast Regional Inshore Fisheries Group (North and East RIFG)
  • North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA)
  • North West Coast Regional Inshore Fisheries  Group
  • Northern Lighthouse Board
  • Offshore Energies UK (OEUK)
  • Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED)
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland (RSPB Scotland)
  • Salmon Scotland
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Scottish Fishermen Federation (SFF)
  • Scottish Renewables (SR)
  • Scottish Seaweed Industry Association
  • Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA)
  • SE Link
  • Sectoral marine planning
  • South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE)
  • South West Coast Regional Inshore Fisheries Group
  • UK Chamber of Shipping (UKCoS)
  • Visit Scotland


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