1.1 Marine Scotland has prepared a draft National Marine Plan ( NMP) for Scotland, in accordance with the requirements of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The draft plan covers both Scottish inshore waters (0-12 nautical miles) and offshore waters (12-200 nautical miles) (Figure 1).
1.2 The Scottish and United Kingdom Governments have agreed that the national marine plan for Scottish inshore waters and a marine plan covering Scottish offshore waters will be published in one document and will be collectively referred to as the "National Marine Plan". However, it is recognised that the 'National Marine Plan' still comprises two plans made under two separate pieces of legislation.
Figure 1: Nautical Limits around Scotland
1.3 The draft NMP has the potential to give rise to significant environmental effects. Accordingly, a strategic environmental assessment ( SEA) has been undertaken in accordance with the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 and The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004. In addition, the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 requires that the draft plan be subject to an appraisal of sustainability (Schedule 6, Paragraph 10). The SEA and the sustainability appraisal ( SA) have been undertaken jointly to fulfil these requirements; the SEA comprises the environmental component of the SA. A checklist setting out compliance with the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 and showing the location of the information within this report is provided in Appendix 1.
1.4 Scoping was undertaken in autumn 2010. A pre-consultation draft NMP was published for public comment in March 2011, and was accompanied by an interim SA Report. The draft NMP and this SA Report have been shaped by the comments received during that pre-consultation process.
1.5 The purpose of this report is to set out the results of the SA undertaken of the draft plan. The SA has been carried out by the Scottish Government's Environmental Assessment Team, on behalf of Marine Scotland.
1.6 The views of the public and the Consultation Authorities on this report are now being sought.
Structure of the SA Report
1.7 The SA report includes the following sections:
- Section 1 comprises this introduction.
- Section 2 introduces the draft plan, including its legislative and policy context, and provides an overview of its content.
- Section 3 provides key baseline information about Scotland's marine environment, building on the information provided in Scotland's Marine Atlas.
- Section 4 describes the approach to the assessment.
- The results of the assessment (including reasonable alternatives) are provided in Section 5.
- Section 6 provides details of the next steps, including consultation timescales.
The Non-Technical Summary precedes this introduction.
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