Publication - Strategy/plan

Marine litter strategy for Scotland

Published: 19 Aug 2014
Marine Scotland Directorate
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

A strategy to develop measures to minimise the amount of litter entering the marine and coastal environment.

Marine litter strategy for Scotland
2. Overview of the strategy

2. Overview of the strategy

Aim and Objectives

2.1 The aim of the strategy is to contribute to the achievement of Marine Scotland's vision for a clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal environment that meets the long term needs of people and nature. This vision includes managing our seas sustainably to protect their rich biological diversity and to ensure that it is an ecosystem that continues to provide economic, social and wider benefits for people, industry and users of the marine environment.

2.2 The strategy builds on the huge amount of work already underway at national and local level, bringing it together to add greater coordination of efforts.


2.3 The vision for the strategy is to identify achievable actions focussed on tackling marine litter at source, in parallel with actions to be targeted by the national litter strategy; to continue to support and raise awareness of removal of marine litter; and contribute to the overall aim of achieving GES as required by the MSFD.

2.4 Our vision for 2020 is: A Scotland where marine and coastal litter is significantly reduced by 2020. The integrity and function of marine and coastal ecosystems are not compromised by litter and there is no significant risk to wildlife, communities and human health. This is achieved within a zero waste Scotland where people and businesses act responsibly, and reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste resources.

Strategic Directions

2.5 The vision links to five strategic directions and associated actions. The strategic directions are:

  • Strategic Direction 1 - Improve public and business attitudes and behaviours around marine and coastal litter, in co-ordination with the national litter strategy.
  • Strategic Direction 2 - Reduce marine and coastal based sources of litter, in co-ordination with land sourced litter being reduced by the national litter strategy.
  • Strategic Direction 3 - Contribute to a low carbon economy by treating 'waste as a resource' and seizing the economic and environmental opportunities associated with the Zero Waste Plan.
  • Strategic Direction 4 - Improve monitoring at a Scottish scale and develop measures for strategy evaluation.
  • Strategic Direction 5 - Maintain and strengthen stakeholder co-ordination at the UK, EU and international scales.

High level actions are detailed within the strategic directions at part 3.

Options for delivery

2.6 The approach for delivery of the strategy is based around a networked approach with central lead body to co-ordinate the initiative and drive actions forward.

Strategy implementation and review

2.7 Responsibility for implementing the measures contained within the strategy is shared between a community of interests which includes Marine Scotland, local authorities, the wider public sector, business, environmental and community groups, and private individuals. It is anticipated that the strategy will benefit all users of the marine environment and coastal communities.

2.8 As the strategy will form part of the implementation of the MSFD, it is proposed that the strategy timeframe should be closely aligned with that of MSFD. The strategy will require regular review, in partnership with stakeholders. A review is proposed for 2015-2016 to coincide with work on the development of the programme of measures, and a further review in 2018.

2.9 A review of the strategy's effectiveness will be undertaken through to 2020, with the achievement of GES, and further measures will be considered at this stage. We will develop a monitoring framework for the strategy to evaluate success in terms of the impact on changing behaviours and awareness raising.