Marine planning: regional boundaries

Eleven Scottish Marine Regions have been created which cover sea areas extending out to 12 nautical miles

Regional Marine Planning requires the creation of Scottish Marine Regions.

Under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, Scottish Ministers were given the power to identify the boundaries of Scottish Marine Regions (SMRs).

As the first step in late 2010/early 2011, Marine Scotland launched the Scottish Marine Regions, Defining their boundaries consultation. The aim of this consultation was to find out whether people thought that establishing marine regions was the right thing to do and to help identify and name appropriate regions. There was strong support for the creation of Scottish Marine Regions and the preference was to have regions that were based on physical characteristics, meaning that there would be 11 marine regions:

  • Argyll
  • Clyde
  • Forth & Tay
  • Moray Firth
  • North Coast
  • North East
  • Outer Hebrides
  • Orkney Islands
  • Shetland Isles
  • Solway
  • West Highlands

The analysis of responses and a final report from this consultation are available online.

The next step in the process was the launch of the 2012 consultation, the Scottish Marine Regions Order 2013. This consultation sought views on the legislation for setting the SMR boundaries and the consultation report on the Scottish Marine Regions Order 2013 is available online.

The Order and the co-ordinates identifying the boundaries of the 11 marine regions were amended as a result of the 2012/13 consultation. The draft Order was laid on 9 March 2015 and was subject to the scrutiny and approval of the Scottish Parliament, then the plenary in Parliament on 6 May 2015. 

The Scottish Marine Regions Order 2015 came into force on 13 May 2015 and a map of these regions is now available online.

The Scottish Marine Regions can also be seen on the Marine Scotland on-line portal MS Maps NMPi - Limits and Boundaries - Scottish Marine Regions Order 2015 (SMRs). From here, the regions can be seen in the context of other data layers and the GIS shape file can be downloaded (jsut click on the download button).

Map of marine regions
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