Annex A: Final Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment
Title of Proposal
A Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland
Purpose and intended effect
A Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland was first published in 2014. The Scottish Government has made a commitment to refreshing the Strategy. Marine Scotland Directorate, with and through the Marine Litter Strategy Steering Group (MLSSG), has been engaging with key stakeholders and partners over the last three years to take stock of the original Strategy and to identify objectives and actions to help inform and shape a refreshed Marine Litter Strategy and Action Plan.
The aim of the Marine Litter Strategy is to help realise the Scottish Government's vision of a 'clean, healthy, safe, productive, and biologically diverse marine and coastal environment that meets the long term needs of people and nature'. This underpins developments in marine legislation through the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 in promoting sustainable use of our valuable and unique environment.
The vision for the Strategy is to: reinforce support for existing actions which are currently contributing to our goals; and identify new measurable and achievable actions which can be completed within a realistic timescale. These actions are focused on: preventing litter entering the marine environment, in parallel with litter reduction and behaviour change actions to be achieved by the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy; continuing to support and raise awareness of actions to remove marine litter; and contributing to the overall aim of achieving Good Environmental Status as required by the UK Marine Strategy.
Rationale for Government intervention
Marine litter poses a number of problems across the economy, environment and society. These detrimental effects include damage to marine wildlife, as well as wider ecosystem deterioration, public health issues, impacts on aesthetics, and a wider range of economic impacts across industries reliant on our coastal and marine environment.
Under the National Performance Framework, the Strategy contributes to the objectives relating to the environment, as well as to communities, economy, and health.
Consultation has been undertaken with policy colleagues within Environment and Forestry Directorate, in particular with Zero Waste policy colleagues who are responsible for the current refresh of the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy, the sister strategy to the Marine Litter Strategy.
Consultation has been undertaken with policy colleagues within the Marine Scotland Directorate, including aquaculture, nature conservation, compliance, and sea fisheries, as well as with policy colleagues within the Circular Economy Division.
These consultations have ensured that proposed actions within the Strategy align with planned or anticipated work within each of these policy areas, and would therefore be achievable.
Public and Business Consultation
The refreshed Marine Litter Strategy and Action Plan has gone through various stages of direct engagement with partners and stakeholders, including relevant industry representatives. Marine Scotland Directorate, with and through the MLSSG, has been engaging with key stakeholders and partners over the last three years to take stock of the original Strategy and to identify objectives and actions to help inform and shape a refreshed Marine Litter Strategy and Action Plan.
The first stage was to undertake a review of the first Marine Litter Strategy and to consider whether the overall aims and intent of the Strategy were still valid and relevant, and that the Strategic Directions (i.e. objectives) consider the correct issues. Review workshops took place in late 2019 and identified the need for some changes in the refreshed Strategy.
The second stage involved Marine Scotland Directorate working with partners and stakeholders to consider which areas were of most concern and what specific actions Marine Scotland Directorate could take to effect a positive change. Several online meetings were held during Summer 2021, with further input gathered by Marine Scotland Directorate in Autumn 2021.
Taken together, this initial engagement helped to identify priority actions that could realistically be achieved within the next six years, taking into consideration the staffing and financial resources that Marine Scotland Directorate and its delivery partners (including businesses) have available.
Stakeholders engaged with included:
- Crown Estate Scotland
- Fidra (an NGO)
- Islay Development Initiative
- Keep Scotland Beautiful
- KIMO (Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation)
- Local Coastal Partnerships
- Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS)
- Marine Conservation Society
- NatureScot (formally SNH)
- Chairs of the Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups
- Scottish Islands Federation
- Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
- Scottish Fishermen's Federation
- Scottish Water
- Zero Waste Scotland
An updated draft of the Marine Litter Strategy was published for consultation from 29 December 2021 to 22 March 2022. The consultation provided a further opportunity for individuals and businesses to express their views. Responses received have been considered and any necessary amendments incorporated into the final Strategy and the final impact assessments, including this BRIA.
Through the public consultation, industry respondents connected to the wet wipe industry noted that there could be a significant cost increase of 40% or more in the event of a ban on wet wipes containing plastic. Further, this could impact on both domestic and commercial users. In the event that there was any requirement for the reformulation of wet wipes, an appropriate timeframe for implementation was suggested so that existing products do not need to be withdrawn from the market. These respondents suggested this approach could limit costs for producers and the environmental impact of disposal.
One respondent related to the fishing industry reported that new technologies for tackling fishing based marine litter could likely impose costs on the Scottish fishing fleet. One respondent related to the aquaculture industry reported that continuing to support action on tackling marine litter could have cost implications for the aquaculture industry, but also noted the company they were responding on behalf of could bear these costs to benefit the environment.
The Scottish Government remains committed to reducing pollution caused by unnecessary and problematic single-use items such as wet wipes which contain plastic. The action on this issue will remain as investigating the potential for a ban on these items.
The Scottish Government remains committed to its circular economy goals, including on the ease of recycling of materials. The actions on working toward improved mechanisms for recycling of fishing and aquaculture gear will remain the same.
It should be noted that the Strategy will not of itself introduce any new regulatory burdens. The Scottish Government will consult widely on any future regulations considered under the Strategy with full Business Regulatory Impact Assessments produced as required.
Option 1: Do nothing
Option 1 is the 'Do nothing' scenario i.e. the baseline scenario. Under this option this Strategy would no longer be fit for purpose. The Scottish Government made a commitment in its 2018/19 Programme for Government that the Strategy would be updated, having reached the end of its original five year lifespan. Led by Marine Scotland Directorate, the Marine Litter Strategy Steering Group had identified objectives and actions required to inform and shape a refreshed Marine Litter Strategy and Action Plan.
Without making these changes, the objectives of the Strategy would no longer be achieved and the Government's commitment to update the Strategy would not be delivered.
Option 2: Review the Strategy, and update the Action Plan in order to make the actions realistic, achievable and timely
Under this Option, the Action Plan would be strengthened by SMART actions (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) that stipulate an objective, a deliverable to be produced, a timescale, and a named responsible lead organisation. These actions would help address the sources of marine litter that are the most problematic.
Implementing Option 2 would enable the Strategy to continue to achieve its objectives.
Sectors and groups affected
The whole population of Scotland is likely to be affected by the Strategy, whether directly or indirectly, as protecting and improving the health of our oceans is of benefit to all.
Option 1 will affect the population in a negative way, as the Strategy would no longer be effective at helping to protect Scotland from the ongoing impacts from marine litter.
Option 2 would affect the population in a positive way, as the SMART actions would help to protect our environment, as well as our communities, economy, health and wellbeing.
Option 1: Do nothing
No additional benefits are expected to arise from this policy option. Conversely, without an updated Action Plan, it is likely there would be negative consequences of allowing the Strategy to continue in its original format as actions published in 2014 would no longer be fit for purpose for the period 2021-2027.
Option 2: Review the Strategy, and update the Action Plan in order to make the actions realistic, achievable and timely
By developing an updated Action Plan the Strategy will continue to make progress in its objectives. These actions will help prevent litter entering the marine environment, continue to support and raise awareness of actions to remove marine litter, and contribute to the overall aim of achieving Good Environmental Status as required by the UK Marine Strategy.
The original Strategy was developed in parallel the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy. This strategy is currently being updated, and if Option 2 were not implemented it would result in land-based and marine litter policies not being aligned, with the risk that specific important issues that fall between land and marine would be missed, reducing the overall effectiveness of Scottish Government environmental work.
The Action Plan has been drafted, in collaboration with delivery partners, with consideration of staff and monetary resources available from each partner to enable delivery within the given timescales. The Strategy itself has been written with regard to the resource constraints of the delivery partners.
The Strategy co-ordinates and drives work forward, and each delivery partner is responsible for each action they have committed to under the Strategy.
Individual actions will be subject to their own impact assessments, where relevant.
The Strategy does not apply regulatory requirements to any stakeholders and does not impose any costs on business or individuals, although the implementation of some of its actions could potentially lead to measures which result in additional costs for those who take up those measures. Any such implementation would be subject to consultation and engagement with stakeholders as outlined below.
Scottish Firms Impact Test
The Scottish Government will engage with businesses over each relevant individual action.
The Scottish Government will engage with businesses over each relevant individual action to assess the impact on competition.
The Scottish Government will engage with consumers and businesses over each relevant individual action to assess the impact on consumers.
Test run of business forms
No new forms will be introduced by the Strategy.
Digital Impact Test
The Strategy aims to address the physical problem of litter in the marine environment, hence digital impact is not applicable.
Legal Aid Impact Test
The Scottish Government will engage with the Scottish Legal Aid Board over each relevant individual action to assess the impact on the legal aid fund.
Enforcement, sanctions and monitoring
The Marine Litter Strategy Steering Group (MLSSG) retains oversight of the Strategy and Action Plan. MLSSG has the function to monitor the progress of the Strategy, evaluate efficacy of actions, and ensure delivery of objectives in a timely manner. Enforcement and sanctions are not relevant to the Strategy itself, but will be given due consideration in the context of relevant actions.
Implementation and delivery plan
The Strategy and Action Plan cover the lifespan of 2021-2027. The Action Plan will be reviewed midway through this period, to ensure ongoing effectiveness, and any amendments deemed necessary by the MLSSG will be made. The Strategy and Action Plan will be reviewed and updated again once the current timeline ends in 2027.
Summary and recommendation
In summary, Option 2 is being recommended.
The MLSSG and delivery partners reached agreement with Marine Scotland Directorate on each of the actions within the Action Plan, taking into consideration the staff and financial resource that they were able to contribute.
By developing an updated Action Plan the Strategy will continue to make progress in its objectives. These actions will help prevent litter entering the marine environment, continue to support and raise awareness of actions to remove marine litter, and contribute to the overall aim of achieving Good Environmental Status as required by the UK Marine Strategy. These actions will help address the sources of marine litter that are the most problematic, and benefit the Scottish population through protection of our environment, as well as bringing positive effects to our communities, economy, health and wellbeing.
Declaration and publication
I have read the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and I am satisfied that (a) it represents a fair and reasonable view of the expected costs, benefits and impact of the policy, and (b) that the benefits justify the costs. I am satisfied that business impact has been assessed with the support of businesses in Scotland.
Date: 27 September 2022
Minister's name: Mairi McAllan
Minister's title: Minister for Environment and Land Reform
Scottish Government contact point: Anne Saunders email@example.com
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