Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scottish Waters: Consultation Paper

The Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Wind, Wave and Tidal energy in Scottish Waters represent Scottish Ministers' proposed spatial policy for the development of commercial scale offshore renewable energy at a national and regional level.

2. Key Drivers

The Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Wind, Wave and Tidal Energy have developed in response to the following key drivers:

Marine Planning

2.1.1 In Scotland, the legislative and management framework for the marine environment was established by the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, provides the legislative framework for marine planning in Scotland's offshore area and with regard to reserved functions in Scotland. The two Acts allow for a system of National and Regional marine planning to be developed for Scottish waters. The Regional Marine Plans will be directed by the objectives and policies of the National Marine Plan.

2.1.2 Scotland's first Draft National Marine Plan is currently out for consultation. It sets out the legislative and regulatory framework for the development of statutory marine plans and proposes the strategic policies to be taken forward for the sustainable use of Scotland's marine resources out to 200 nm.

2.1.3 The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 states that public authorities, including the Scottish Government, must take authorisation or enforcement decisions in accordance with the National Marine Plan and Regional Marine Plans, unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise. They must also have regard to the statutory marine plans in taking other decisions.

2.1.4 The Draft Sectoral Marine Plans are being progressed within the broader context of the Draft National Marine Plan for Scotland. The Sectoral Plans are intended to complement both the National and in future Regional Marine Plans through the provision of relevant information and assessment on strategic spatial locations considered by Scottish Ministers' as suitable to progress the development of commercial scale offshore renewable energy. As outlined above, any future proposals for offshore renewable energy will require to be taken forward in accordance with the policies established in the National Marine Plan.

2.1.5 The Sectoral Marine Plans will also be complemented by Regional Locational Guidance ( RLG) which provides more prescriptive information for developments in relation to the potential for development in marine areas of resource acknowledging environmental and sectoral constraints. Draft RLGs for Offshore Wind, Wave and Tidal are available comment alongside this document. These are available to view at:


2.1.6 In addition, National Marine Plan Interactive is Marine Scotland's on-line interactive mapping tool. Where possible, most of the data layers that are presented in the maps in this document are also available as layers on NMPi. The layers can be found by opening NMPi in a web browser and searching for the maps in the "Layer Control" menu. All the Sectoral Marine Plan maps start with the layer name " SMP". NMPi is available at:


Marine Licensing

2.2.1 The Scottish Government operate a one-stop-shop licensing policy for offshore s36 applications and Marine Licenses. This provides a mechanism to manage enquiries and interactions with applicants, stakeholders and the public. If a developer has any concerns regarding consenting requirements or length of the consenting process, Marine Scotland's Licensing Operations team ( MS- LOT) will be able to provide advice and guidance. Through the process of marine licensing and the conditions placed on consents/licences, The Scottish Government is seeking to promote economically and socially beneficial activity while minimising adverse effects on the environment, human health and other users of the sea. Licensing should also simplify the way we reconcile development and nature conservation at sea. The process of Marine Licensing should also be supported by relevant information and outcomes of processes including SEA, HRA and the designation of marine protected areas.

Climate Change and Energy

2.3.1 Climate change and the requirement for alternative sources of energy [3] are important drivers for the Draft Plans. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2010 establishes a long-term framework to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, with an interim target of 42% by 2020. In addition, the Scottish Government has made a commitment to generating 30% of energy demand, incorporating the equivalent of 100% of gross electricity consumption, from renewable sources by 2020.

Transition to a Low Carbon Economy

2.4.1 The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that Scotland capitalises on the enormous potential presented by renewable energy and the low carbon sector. Scotland's wave, wind and tidal energies, and its carbon capture and storage potential, is of European significance. Exploiting these technologies in an environmentally sustainable way will enable Scotland to lead the world in the transition to a low carbon economy over the next four decades. This will help meet our wider objectives on climate change, generating substantial new economic activity, jobs and prosperity for Scotland.

2.4.2 The Scottish Government believes that Scotland's people should benefit from offshore renewable energy projects. Scotland, and its local communities, should receive a direct and lasting legacy from the exploitation of our natural resources. Proposals to maximise community benefit from renewables were published in a consultation paper "Securing the Benefits of Scotland's Next Energy Revolution" in November 2010. These included actions designed to empower communities and ensure that the public sector leads by example in delivering real and lasting benefits. In addition, the consultation discussed the important role of CEC in the development of offshore low carbon projects and more broadly as an administrator of public assets. The Scottish Government is of the view that the management and revenues of CEC in Scotland should be devolved, bringing control over the seabed within the remit of the Scottish Parliament.


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