Draft Scottish Marine Litter Strategy Consultation

Marine litter impacts on Scotland’s society, economy and marine environment. The draft strategy we consult on will aim to address the levels of marine litter present in our marine and coastal environment.

2. Vision, Strategic Directions and Options for Delivery

2.1 The aim of the draft Marine Litter Strategy is to contribute to the achievement of Marine Scotland's vision for a clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal environment that meets the long term needs of people and nature. This vision includes managing our seas sustainably to protect their rich biological diversity and to ensure that it is an ecosystem that continues to provide economic, social and wider benefits for people, industry and users of the marine environment.

2.2 Terrestrial sources of litter are considered to be the main component of marine litter and will be addressed within the National Litter Strategy. The types of marine litter from land-based sources include litter dropped by the public ( e.g. beach litter - food and drink packaging, smoking related waste). However, Sewage Related Debris (domestic waste which can include inappropriately disposed of items such as cotton buds and sanitary products), and waste from maritime activities is covered by the Marine Litter Strategy.

2.3 The vision for this Strategy is to identify achievable actions focussed on tackling marine litter, in parallel with actions to be targeted by the National Litter Strategy; to continue to support and raise awareness of removal of marine litter; and contribute to the overall aim of achieving GES as required by the MSFD.


2.4 The proposed vision for the draft Marine Litter Strategy is:

By 2020 marine litter in Scotland is reduced and does not pose significant risks to the environment or communities. This is achieved within a zero waste Scotland where people and businesses act responsibly, and reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste resources.

2.5 This vision is ambitious and recognises the significance of the marine litter problem in Scotland. It reflects the draft UK characteristics of GES for the marine litter Descriptor under MSFD (see Table 1 above). The draft Marine Litter Strategy recognises that achieving a vision of marine litter in Scotland being reduced and not posing significant risks to the environment or communities will require a change in public attitudes and behaviour towards the appropriate disposal of litter.

2.6 The Strategy will seek to build on existing data capture and management measures to get a clearer idea of the scope of the issue but also for the evaluation of any management actions and legislation. It is recognised that this is difficult to quantify, however, these issues will inform policy development and help monitor progress in terms of achieving the objectives of both the Strategy and MSFD.

2.7 The Marine Litter Strategy provides an opportunity to build on current initiatives to reduce marine litter and consider what additional work or interventions may be of value at the national level to implement the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

2.8 The Strategy seeks to predominantly focus on tackling litter at source, at least up to 2020, but there will be continued support of removal. Both strands will contribute to the overall aim of achieving GES as required by the MSFD.

Q2. Do you agree with this vision?

Q3. Does the draft vision have the right level of ambition?

If not, please offer alternative text or suggestions.

Q4. Do you think implementation to achieve Good Environmental Status under Descriptor 10 will be sufficient or do you think additional action in Scotland is also necessary?

Strategic Directions

2.9 The vision is operationalised by five strategic directions in the areas of education, reducing inputs, seizing opportunities and economic growth, monitoring and engagement. Five strategic directions are listed below (in no order of priority):

Strategic Direction 1: Improve public and business awareness of, and behaviour changes around, marine litter.

The challenge of addressing marine litter levels will require further change in public attitudes and behaviour towards the appropriate disposal of litter.

This issue is to be addressed by the National Litter Strategy and will link with marine activities.

Strategic Direction 2: Reduction of land-sourced marine litter entering the marine environment, in parallel to the National Litter Strategy.

The Strategy advocates an integrated approach linking to the National Litter Strategy and across land-sea to stop marine litter at source.

Strategic Direction 3: Contribute to a low carbon economy by treating 'waste as a resource' and seizing the economic and environmental opportunities associated with the Zero Waste Plan.

The Strategy should align with this broader move towards resource and waste efficiency.

Strategic Direction 4: Improvement of monitoring at a Scottish scale.

The Strategy should seek to build on existing data capture to establish a reliable baseline.

Strategic Direction 5: Stakeholder engagement at the UK, EU and international scales.

The Strategy should aim to influence action more broadly at the UK, EU and international levels.

2.10 This set of proposed strategic directions have been linked to specific actions which are based upon existing initiatives, the marine litter workshop and policy obligations. These are covered in further detail in Section 3.

Q5. Do you agree that Strategic Directions are a suitable way of outlining action under the Strategy?

Q6. Do you agree with the list of strategic directions?

If not, how would you reword them or what would you add?

Options for delivery

2.11 In developing the draft Marine Litter Strategy, four options for delivery were considered, across differing levels of ambition and resourcing. The proposed option for delivering a Strategy is based around a networked approach with central co-ordination.

2.12 Section 4 outlines options for delivery and Annex A provides a summary of key advantages and disadvantages.


Back to top