Publication - Consultation paper

National Marine Plan: Sustainability Appraisal Report

Published: 24 Jul 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781782567677

This report summarises the findings from a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) of the draft National Marine Plan (NMP). SA of the draft plan is required by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The SA has considered the potential social, economic and enviro

172 page PDF

2.9 MB

172 page PDF

2.9 MB

Contents
National Marine Plan: Sustainability Appraisal Report
Appendix 4. Assessment of Reasonable Alternatives

172 page PDF

2.9 MB

Appendix 4. Assessment of Reasonable Alternatives

Option 1 - Do not produce a NMP

Note: The preparation of the National Marine Plan is a requirement of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, and this option is therefore not considered to be viable. However, its implications are considered here for completeness.

Assumptions

Under this option, the National Marine Plan would not be adopted. Instead, the existing policy framework governing Scottish inshore, offshore and territorial waters would remain in place. This includes the Marine Policy Statement and European Directives such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive as well as international commitments, e.g. OSPAR Convention. Existing decision-making bodies, such as Local Authorities, The Crown Estate, SEPA and Marine Scotland, would continue to exercise their functions. However, the tier of decision-making represented by the National Marine Plan would not be filled, meaning that there would be a gap between high-level marine planning and policies and regional and local marine decision-makers. Also, given the direction provided by the National Marine Plan to regional marine plans, the absence of a National Marine Plan would create uncertainty as to whether regional marine plans would be prepared and implemented.

Some of the policies and requirements contained within the National Marine Plan are a reiteration of policies and planning requirements already in place. These would continue in the absence of the National Marine Plan, though they would not benefit from the consolidation and/or integration provided by the National Marine Plan.

Implications for Environment

Implications for Economy

Implications for Communities, population and human health

Objective 8

+

Objective 1

0

Objective 5

0

Objective 9

+

Objective 2

-

Objective 6

0

Objective 10

+

Objective 3

0/+

Objective 7

0

Objective 11

+

Objective 4

0

Objective 12

+

Objective 13

+

Objective 14

+

Objective 15

+

Objective 16

+

Objective 17

+

Objective 18

+

Objective 19

+

The existing policy framework provides protection of protected species and habitats, the water environment, terrestrial and marine air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change adaptation, protection of the historic environment resource, and landscape and seascape.

Although environmental protection is provided through the existing legislation and policy framework, not producing the NMP would result in a lack of clarity and co-ordination between economic, social and environmental considerations.

The existing policy framework seeks to manage certain sectors to effect sustainable growth. However, without the integration provided by a NMP, this option would not support sustainable growth of the marine economy, nor seek to ensure balance between the different marine sectors/ industries. It would not explicitly safeguard or create jobs or remove barriers to marine enterprise opportunities.

Without the NMP there would be less of a co-ordinated approach towards ensuring that the access and economic interests of island and coastal communities are considered. There would be no specific promotion of access to the coast for costal and marine recreation, or direct contributions to the resilience and cohesion of coastal and island communities.

Summary

The option would result in a lack of direct benefits for the economy, communities, population and human health. There is a comprehensive range of existing environmental protection legislation and policy which is positive for the environment; however without a NMP there would be a lesser degree of integration between environmental and economic considerations.

Outcome

The creation of a National Marine Plan is a requirement of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, and therefore this option is not considered to be a viable policy option.

Option 2 - A NMP which is a high level plan setting out the broad policy direction for the marine environment

Assumptions

This option supports development of individual marine economic sectors, within environmental and social constraints. It provides some guidance on preferred locations for different types of development (with a focus on marine renewables) but in the main sets out policy considerations(environmental, social and economic)which need to be recognised by regional marine plans and project decision-makers. A key focus of the plan is the inclusion of environmental, social and economic policies which ensure integration of these factors into planning and decision-making.

Implications for Environment

Implications for Economy

Implications for Communities, population and human health

Objective 8

+

Objective 1

+

Objective 5

0/+

Objective 9

+

Objective 2

+/-

Objective 6

+

Objective 10

+

Objective 3

+

Objective 7

+

Objective 11

+

Objective 4

+/-

Objective 12

+

Objective 13

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Objective 14

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Objective 15

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Objective 16

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Objective 17

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Objective 18

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Objective 19

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The inclusion of environmental mitigation within the plan means that this option is largely positive for all of the environmental objectives.

This option supports a sustainable marine economy and associated employment by supporting development of the individual marine economic sectors.

It is not certain how this approach will balance the needs of different marine economic sectors and how the needs of different sectors or the environment could create barriers to other marine economic sectors.

This option is largely positive for communities, population and human health through the mitigating policies which support maintaining connectivity of communities. Through the support for recreation and tourism as a marine economic industry this option is also positive. This option also supports all of the marine economic sectors which is positive for communities which are reliant on these for employment.

Summary

This option is largely positive across the three topics of environment, economy, communities, population and human health through the emphasis on economic development of the individual marine sectors and the inclusion of the mitigating policies.

Outcome:

This is the preferred option identified for the NMP.

Option3 - An NMP which sets out spatially the preferred locations for different types of marine economic activity

Assumptions

This option provides a clear indication of the locations where certain marine economic activities can take place, including where different activities are compatible within the same locations.

Key aspects of this approach include:

  • Availability and gathering of sufficient information to ensure sound decision making within the plan preparation process.
  • Weighting of environmental and economic considerations against each other to identify the best use of different areas.
  • Identifying the carrying capacity of different marine environments.
  • Understanding of market influences on different marine industries.

The plan would provide certainty in relation to the extent of available resource for different marine economic sectors. It is assumed that this approach provides positive protection for the environment within the context of sustainable economic development.

Implications for Environment

Implications for Economy

Implications for Communities, population and human health

Objective 8

+

Objective 1

+

Objective 5

+

Objective 9

+

Objective 2

-

Objective 6

+/-

Objective 10

0

Objective 3

0

Objective 7

0

Objective 11

+

Objective 4

-

Objective 12

0

Objective 13

0

Objective 14

0

Objective 15

0

Objective 16

+

Objective 17

+

Objective 18

+

Objective 19

0

This option could result in the concentration of activity within certain areas however it is assumed that the spatial zoning of activities takes environmental considerations into account and this option would be positive for habitats and species, the water environment, cultural heritage and landscape/seascape. It does not necessarily provide any benefit in relation to air quality or climatic factors

This option has mixed effects in relation to the objectives. It supports a sustainable economy by identifying the potential areas for economic activity, balanced within environmental constraints. It clearly sets out where different marine industries will be favoured, but a spatial plan at the national level could place restrictions on some marine industries at the expense of others. The option will create some certainty in relation to current and future employment within the different marine industries, but does not contribute directly to job creation.

The option improves clarity in relation to the preferred location of marine industries but will also potentially create barriers to marine industries which are then precluded from locating in these areas.

The option improves clarity in the location of marine economic activity and should also maintain transport links to remote and island communities through the spatial zoning of activity.

The spatial zoning of activity will include identifying areas which are important for tourism and recreation, however this may also limit access in other locations.

The option increases certainty about economic development opportunities in different geographical areas, but does not directly contribute to the resilience and cohesion of coastal and island communities.

Summary

This option has some environmental benefits through zoning activities and taking environmental considerations into account, but is not strongly positive. It has some potential negative effects on the economic objectives as a result of constraint on the location of activities and creation of barriers to development. The option has some positive effects in relation to communities through creating certainty in acceptable locations for economic development and opportunities for recreation and tourism, but there would also be reduced opportunity for local planning/ decision-making.

A spatially directive national plan would conflict with the need for regional marine planning

Outcome:

The preferred option has not taken a spatial approach, but has set out the broad policy direction. The spatial approach does not bring particular benefits across the appraisal topic areas, and would require a high degree of information gathering and analysis (which is a key purpose and benefit of regional marine planning).

Option 4 - An NMP which prioritises activities which deliver economic benefit as a priority

Assumptions

This option explores the possible measures which would achieve greatest economic benefit. Key aspects of this approach include:

  • reducing environmental regulation and licensing,
  • supporting marine economic activity through a variety of active measures such as designating enterprise areas,
  • encouraging investment in marine activities with greatest economic benefit,
  • expanding all marine based activity,
  • using a market driven approach to locate marine development activities,
  • taking a short term view of fisheries,
  • exploiting all marine resources,
  • marketing the marine environment for use by other countries,
  • charging for recreational use,
  • protecting environmental resources where these provide economic benefit through e.g. green tourism, expanding infrastructure within ports and harbours,
  • protecting coasts through hard defences.

Implications for Environment

Implications for Economy

Implications for Communities, population and human health

Objective 8

-/+

Objective 1

-

Objective 5

-

Objective 9

-

Objective 2

-

Objective 6

-

Objective 10

-

Objective 3

+

Objective 7

-/+

Objective 11

-

Objective 4

-

Objective 12

-

Objective 13

-

Objective 14

-

Objective 15

-

Objective 16

-

Objective 17

-

Objective 18

-

Objective 19

-

This option does not provide protection for key species and ecosystems unless they provide direct economic benefit through green tourism. Protecting species and habitats for green tourism is also likely to conflict with the other economic objectives.

Reducing environmental regulation and increasing economic activity is likely to increase risk to the water environment, although the existing legislative framework would provide some protection. Increasing economic activity is likely to result in increased impacts on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, however there is some protection of coast to support adaptation to climate change.

This is also likely to increase negative impacts on cultural heritage and landscape through extensive economic development.

Reducing environmental regulation and increasing marine economic development is likely to result in environmental damage which impacts on future economic potential of those marine activities which rely on a high quality environment or the health of key species. The short term horizon of the option will potentially result in decline in future economic activity for sectors such as aquaculture and fisheries.

Using a market driven approach to locating development will allow those sectors which have the greatest financial backing to locate, disadvantaging other sectors.

The option will create jobs, but as already discussed, the long term benefits of these is limited by potential environmental damage.

The option will potentially remove some regulatory barriers to marine enterprise, but the approach of some industries operating to the exclusion of other industries is likely to result in creation of significant barriers for some.

This option includes allowing exclusive use of sea areas for different economic activities and this could impact negatively on the accessibility and connectivity of coastal and island communities.

Reducing environmental regulation may result in adverse impacts on the resources which communities use as a source of income, such as fisheries, or the environmental quality which supports industries such as aquaculture or recreation and tourism, and negatively affecting their resilience. The support for all marine economic activity could also support community resilience through providing employment.

Summary

Although this option has a strong economic focus, it is not strongly positive in relation to the economic objectives which seek to reflect sustainability, balancing different marine economic interests, job creation and avoiding barriers. This option does not place sufficient emphasis on protecting environmental quality which is inherent in supporting a large proportion of marine economic activities. It also does not reflect the complex interactions between different marine economic activities or recognise how one area of activity can adversely affect another. The option also reflects a short term view which is inherently unsustainable and will result in a lack of future economic opportunity.

Outcome:

The influence of the findings of this option can be seen in the preferred option which largely results in positive effects for the economic objectives through supporting sustainable economic development, seeking a balance between different marine economic interests, avoiding creation of barriers and therefore supporting the associated jobs.

Option 5 - An NMP which prioritises activities which deliver environmental benefit

Assumptions

This option prioritises protection of all aspects of the environment including habitats and species, water, air, cultural heritage and landscape/seascape. Key aspects of this approach include:

  • A more stringent approach to environmental regulation and licensing and the use of the precautionary approach when allowing development.
  • Increased environmental regulation, including protection of landscape and cultural heritage invoke precautionary approach;
  • Supporting climate change adaptation through coastal realignment;
  • Reducing environmental impacts of fishing activity through managing types of fishing, target species, and use of sustainable quotas;
  • Locating marine economic activity based on environmental appraisal;
  • Avoiding noise disturbance and regulating the vessels which cause noise disturbance;
  • Managing non-native and invasive species;
  • Protecting ecosystem services;
  • Protecting habitats and species, water quality, air quality, landscape capacity, cultural heritage.

Implications for Environment

Implications for Economy

Implications for Communities, population and human health

Objective 8

+

Objective 1

+

Objective 5

0

Objective 9

+

Objective 2

+/-

Objective 6

-

Objective 10

+

Objective 3

+/-

Objective 7

+/-

Objective 11

+

Objective 4

-

Objective 12

+

Objective 13

0

Objective 14

+

Objective 15

+

Objective 16

+

Objective 17

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Objective 18

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Objective 19

+

This option is strongly positive across the environmental objectives through the protection of habitats, species, air quality, water quality, climatic factors cultural heritage and landscape.

This option supports a sustainable marine economy through protecting the environmental qualities on which a number of marine economic activities depend. It prioritises environmental protection to avoid detrimental impacts on marine activities which depend on the environment, but this could be at the detriment to marine economic activities which are not dependent on environmental quality such as renewables, CCS or oil and gas exploration.

In the short-term, it safeguards jobs in marine economic activities which rely on environmental quality such as fisheries, aquaculture, recreation and tourism, but is less positive for other sectors. However, it may also lead to a reduction in overall fishing effort, or a reduction in other activities which rely on environmental quality. This option also potentially creates new regulatory barriers to marine economic activities.

The option is focused on environmental protection which does not directly impact on the accessibility and connectivity of remote island and coastal communities.

The option is potentially restrictive to promoting access to the coastal and marine resource for tourism and recreation because of the increased regulation of potentially environmentally damaging recreational activities.

The focus on environmental protection will support the resilience of communities which rely on economic activities which are dependent on high environmental quality.

Summary

This option is strongly positive in relation to environmental objectives but is also partly positive in relation to the economic objectives. There are however some tensions between the benefits for marine economic industries which rely on good environmental quality and those which do not. The impacts on communities, population and human health are partially linked to the environmental objectives, where positive effects for environmentally dependent marine industries support communities reliant on these. The option is also potentially restrictive in relation to access for marine tourism and recreation which is negative for communities.

Outcome

The benefits of an environmentally focused plan are clearly reflected in the preferred option which largely recognises that sustainable economic development is also reliant on good environmental quality, but does not involve environmental controls which are unnecessarily restrictive to economic activity.


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