National Marine Plan - EU exit: interpretive guidance

Guidance on how to interpret the National Marine Plan after the UK exits from the European Union. This guidance applies from 1 January 2021 and should be used to interpret references to the European Union in the National Marine Plan.

1. Background

1.1. Scotland's National Marine Plan[1] ("the Plan") was published and adopted in 2015, creating a single planning framework to manage Scotland's seas. The Plan ensures that increasing demands for the use of our marine environment are managed, encouraging economic development of marine industries and incorporating environmental protection into marine decision making.

1.2. Marine planning in Scotland's inshore waters is governed by the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010,[2] an Act of the Scottish Parliament, and in its offshore waters by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009,[3] an Act of the UK Parliament. Under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, the Scottish Ministers are required to adopt a marine plan covering Scottish inshore waters and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 requires a marine plan covering the offshore region. The Scottish and United Kingdom (UK) Governments agreed that the two marine plans should be published in one document (the Plan).

1.3. The Plan therefore applies to the exercise of both devolved and reserved functions and to both Scottish inshore (out to 12 nautical miles) and offshore (12 to 200 nautical miles) waters.

1.4. Management of Scotland's environment was, prior to the UK's exit from the European Union (EU), underpinned by EU laws and standards. The National Marine Plan was implemented under domestic legislation, however it was developed in accordance with the EU Marine Spatial Planning Directive[4] and contains numerous references to legislation and processes which are no longer appropriate now that the UK has left the EU.

1.5. This guidance sets out how references to EU law and processes within the Plan should be interpreted to ensure that the Plan can still be understood and effectively implemented.

1.6. Separate guidance[5] has been developed by the UK Government to aid interpretation of the UK Marine Policy Statement,[6] a document which was jointly agreed between the four UK administrations and sets the high level policy context for marine plans developed within each administration.



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