10 Cumulative and Synergistic Effects
10.1.1 The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires the consideration of cumulative and synergistic effects that may arise, in this case, from the implementation of the policies outlined in the Consultation Document in conjunction with other plans, programmes and policies, including those of TCE. Table 10.2 provides a summary of the likely effects of the proposed SPS relating to seaweed cultivation, IMTA and commercial harvesting in the wild on the environmental topic areas presented in the environmental baseline, and how these are likely to act together.
10.1.2 Together, the proposed SPS and other overarching PPS will likely contribute to overall positive environmental effects, particularly for biodiversity and water quality. The provisions in the Consultation Document have been developed to largely complement existing policy and planning, and add weight to their consideration in the context of the seaweed cultivation and wild harvesting industries. The principles of sustainable development and protection of Scotland's marine environment demonstrated in the Consultation Document are also key threads of wider Scottish policy ( e.g. the National Marine Plan, Scottish Biodiversity Strategy).
10.1.3 The proposed SPS is also likely to aid industry in developing a better understanding on expectations for future applications in relation to seaweed cultivation, and in this regard, should further complement the current application process for the industry and Marine Scotland, mainly by improving efficiency and understanding for both. Whilst included as a condition in previous marine licenses issued for seaweed cultivation, the inclusion of a provision in the Consultation Document for the use of seaweed in cultivation operations that are native to the cultivation area adds further weight to this topic. It reflects wider policy objectives in conserving, and where possible, enhancing biodiversity in our marine environment, and should provide overarching support for current processes.
10.1.4 The inclusion of other provisions such as the use of fit for purpose equipment, siting of farms growing seaweed for human consumption away from sewage outfalls and other potential sources of pollution, and consideration of other marine users and activities in the siting of seaweed farms also reflect key policy threads running through wider Scottish Government marine planning. Their inclusion in the proposed SPS should also provide consistency in thinking across wider planning policy and for other marine industries ( i.e. finfish and shellfish aquaculture), with the potential for additional benefit in the promotion of seaweed cultivation in IMTA and the realisation of positive environmental effects for biodiversity and water quality in particular.
On the whole, this SEA and the consideration of potential cumulative and synergistic effects demonstrates how the nature and extent of any potential impacts, either positive or negative, depends on the location and scale of development, and the composition and sensitivity of the corresponding marine ecosystems. It also demonstrates the interdependence of the proposed SPS, the seaweed industry and its stakeholders, the processes currently in place, and the combined role that they will need to play to ensure the successful growth of the seaweed cultivation and wild harvesting industries into the future.