Draft Scottish Marine Litter Strategy: Analysis of Consultation Responses

This report presents the analysis of responses to the Scottish Government’s ‘Consultation on a Draft Scottish Marine Litter Strategy'. The consultation closed on 27 September 2013.

1. Executive Summary


Marine litter poses a number of problems across the economy, environment and society. These detrimental effects include ingestion and entanglement of wildlife as well as wider ecosystem deterioration, public health issues and impacts on aesthetics and a wider range of economic impacts across those industries reliant on our coastal and marine environment.

On 3 July 2013 the Marine Directorate of the Scottish Government launched a public consultation to gather views on proposals for inclusion within a draft Scottish Marine Litter Strategy. The public consultation was open until 27 September 2013.

The consultation document outlined a series of actions to tackle the problem of marine litter. The Strategy sets out to tackle the increasing problem of marine litter and to meet international commitments under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The Scottish Government's consultation paper set out 30 questions relating to Structure; Vision; Strategic Directions and actions; Option for delivery; further questions on the Equalities Impact Assessment; Strategic Environmental Assessment; Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment; and a final question asking for further views.

The Scottish Government consultation response form set out all of the questions. The consultation document contained both closed and open questions. A number of organisations or groups also developed their own abridged versions of the consultation form. All responses received, in whatever format, were analysed with an overall aim of identifying key issues and ensuring that the full range of views was represented.

A total of 98 responses to the consultation document were received. These written responses have provided a range and depth of views on the draft Marine Litter Strategy which will help to shape the development of the final Strategy.

This report sets out the findings of the consultation responses that were submitted to the Scottish Government. The main aim of the analysis was to identify the key themes, as well as the full range of issues, raised by respondents in their comments on each question. The findings of the analysis are presented here on a question-by-question basis, in the sections which follow.

Key Findings

A summary of respondent views on the draft Marine Litter Strategy follows:

  • A total of 98 consultation responses were received, individual respondents formed the largest grouping (73%). In general, there was agreement with the principles contained within the Draft Strategy.
  • The majority of respondents highlighted the need to ensure linkages between the Marine and National Litter Strategies in tackling the issue.
  • A few respondents indicated that they would like to see the Strategy have more of a focus on marine based sources of litter.
  • A few respondents expressed a view that action should be taken to address litter currently in the marine environment, including microplastics.
  • Broad agreement with timescales for implementation of the Strategy and alignment with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, however, some respondents suggested that the first review date should be aligned with that of the National Litter Strategy.
  • For those respondents that offered a view on the proposed Vision for the Strategy, the majority suggested an alternative form of wording or further clarity.
  • Opinion was split on whether action to tackle marine litter under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive would be sufficient. Half of respondents expressed a view that the Strategy, combined with implementation under Descriptor 10 would be largely sufficient.
  • There was agreement on the approach to outlining action under the Strategy, however, the majority of respondents requested clarity or revisions to proposed Strategic Directions or the inclusion of additional ones.
  • The majority of responses highlighted concerns about a perceived misrepresentation of 'Existing Actions' listed under Strategic Directions 2 and 3 within the consultation document. The Scottish Government acknowledges that further consideration and review of existing actions will be necessary.
  • Around three-quarters of respondents opted for Option 3 as the delivery mechanism for the Strategy, a relatively high cost model and centralised approach, while the majority of organisations indicated agreement with Option 4, as the preferred delivery mechanism for the Strategy.


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