Information

Marine litter strategy: consultation

This consultation proposes new priority actions to tackle marine litter in Scotland, building on the work already conducted through the original strategy. Responses to this consultation will inform the final updated Marine Litter Strategy and action plan before it is published.


Executive Summary

A Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland

The marine litter strategy has a clear purpose: to develop current and future measures to prevent litter from entering the marine and coastal environment, and to support its removal, in order to bring ecological, economic and social benefits.

The aim of the strategy is to help realise the vision of '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 implementation and progression of the strategy will continue to be led by Marine Scotland, in a co-ordinating role. It is recognised that responsibility for delivery is shared across local and national government, business, environmental and community groups, and private individuals.

The strategy builds on work and initiatives already underway, involving individuals, organisations, groups, and communities in caring for their marine and coastal environment. Bringing this work together adds clear leadership, greater co-ordination of efforts, and fresh momentum.

Shaped by research and public consultation, the marine litter strategy seeks to maximise opportunities and minimise threats in addressing the levels of litter present, and recognises that the UK Marine Strategy is a key driver.

With these fundamental issues paramount, the marine litter strategy sets out five strategic directions and a range of measures to help deliver the strategy:

Strategic Direction 1 – Improve public and business attitudes and behaviours around marine and coastal litter, in co-ordination with the national litter and flytipping strategy.

Action will include:

  • A review of enforcement of the terrestrial littering and flytipping regulations.
  • The development of a waste management system to improve recycling routes for end of life fishing gear.

Strategic Direction 2 – Reduce marine and coastal based sources of litter, with a focus on the most problematic sources, in co-ordination with land sourced litter being reduced by the national litter and flytipping strategy.

Action will include:

  • Considering a range of policy options to reduce sources of sewage-related debris.
  • Contributing to the development of an international plastic pellet certification scheme.

Strategic Direction 3 – Support the removal of marine litter from the marine and coastal environment.

Action will include:

  • An expansion of work to remove litter from rivers, thereby preventing this reaching the marine environment.
  • Improving the efficacy of projects which remove litter from the sea, and investigating the potential for an initiative to recycle the material collected.

Strategic Direction 4 – Improve monitoring at a Scottish scale and develop measures for strategy evaluation.

Action will include:

  • Contributing to the development of an agreed methodology for inter-tidal microplastic monitoring.
  • Improving the quality of the data being obtained from litter removal projects.

Strategic Direction 5 – Maintain and strengthen stakeholder co-ordination in Scotland, the UK, regionally and globally.

Action will include:

  • Strengthening working relationships with UK, regional, and international partners, to contribute to future work and share best practice.

This is a long term strategy which will undergo periodical review. The objectives and actions underpinning the strategy will necessarily be achieved in the short, medium or long term, depending on the degree of complexity and collaboration required. All actions have measurable outcomes so progress can be monitored throughout. During the strategy's lifetime these actions will be reviewed, allowing for adjustments, so that we can be confident we are making a positive difference through this work.

Contact

Email: marinelitterstrategy@gov.scot

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