National Marine Plan: Sustainability Appraisal Report

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

7.0 Next Steps

7.1 The consultation on the draft NMP and the accompanying SA Report and BRIA is now open, and will close 16 weeks after publication of this report. Views on this SA Report, and the draft plan to which it relates, are now invited.

7.2 Following the consultation period, the responses received will be analysed, and the findings from this analysis will be taken into account in the finalisation of the NMP (scheduled for submission to the Scottish Parliament in 2014). Upon adoption of the NMP, a Post-Adoption Statement will be prepared, reflecting on the findings of the assessment and the consultation, and outlining how the issues raised have been addressed.

7.3 Copies of the draft NMP, the SA report and the BRIA are available for viewing during office hours at the Scottish Government library at Saughton House, Edinburgh (K Spur, Saughton House, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh, EH11 3XD).

7.4 Please send your comments to the Marine Scotland NMP team, by 13 November 2013, at the following address:

Marine Scotland NMP team
1A (South)
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
E-mail -
Telephone - 0131 244 7838

Table 5. Cumulative effects of the draft NMP and SPP

Will the draft NMP and SPP

Relevant SA topic


Support the development of a sustainable marine economy?

The draft NMP and SPP both support sustainable economic growth. This includes supporting proposals that will result in economic benefits, including jobs. Both note that economic benefits should be a consideration in decision-making. Both emphasise the need for fairness and transparency in decision-making.

The draft NMP's policy framework supports the resolution of conflict between marine industries, and addresses barriers where appropriate. The draft SPP does not address these topics, given its terrestrial remit.


Contribute to the growth of any marine industry without detriment to another?


Safeguard and/or create jobs that support new or existing communities?


Remove or avoid barriers to new marine enterprise opportunities? [94]


Maintain or improve the accessibility and connectivity of remote island and coastal communities?

The draft NMP and SPP both support resilience and cohesion in remote communities:

  • The draft NMP, in its cross-cutting policies, requires that job creation and social benefits supports the resilience and cohesion of these communities.
  • The draft SPP identifies how development should be addressed in remote and fragile communities (which include those remote island and coastal areas), and this will contribute to the maintenance of resilience and cohesion within these communities.

Both contain policies to protect access to the coast (and thereby to the marine resource), to benefit both residents and visitors.

Both contain policies regarding connectivity of communities. For remote coastal and island communities, the main emphasis is on ports and harbours. The draft NMP also protects lifeline ferry routes.


Promote access to the coastal and marine resource for tourism and recreation?


Contribute to the resilience and cohesion of coastal and island communities?


Avoid disturbance of key species as a result of marine activities?

Both the draft NMP and SPP contain cross-cutting policies to protect ecosystems in general, which includes marine and coastal ecosystems and their interactions, and key species. These apply to both spatial plans and development.


Safeguard marine and coastal ecosystems and their interactions? [95]


Avoid pollution of the coastal and marine water environment?

The draft NMP contains both cross-cutting policies regarding the ecological status of Scottish waters, and sector-specific policies regarding the potential for pollution from marine and coastal activities. The draft SPP notes that "sustainable development" includes the protection and enhancement of water and biodiversity (amongst others), and also contains a cross-cutting policy for the protection and improvement of the water environment. The topic areas of "water" and "biodiversity" include ecological status of Scottish waters, as well as pollution.


Maintain and/or improve the ecological status of Scottish waters?


Avoid adversely impacting on air quality, with particular regard to known existing concentrations of transport and industrial related pollution close to the coast?

The draft NMP contains a cross-cutting policy that requires the consideration of air quality when progressing development and use of the marine environment, which will cover both atmospheric emissions and ambient air quality. The draft SPP notes that "sustainable development" includes the protection and enhancement of air.


Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vessels and other marine activities?

The policy frameworks in both the draft NMP and the draft SPP emphasise the need to address climate change, both in terms of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and in progressing adaptation measures. Both include policies regarding development and flooding, including the need to site development so as to avoid or reduce flooding risk.


Contribute to adaptation to climate change?


Improve understanding and knowledge about the marine historic environment?

Both the draft NMP and SPP include policies to promote the care and protection of the designated and non-designated historic environment. The draft NMP notes that such protection should be in a manner proportionate to the significance of these historic environment features; the draft SPP notes that the planning system should enable change to the historic environment which is informed by a clear understanding of the importance of built heritage assets and their viability over the long term.


Protect the site and setting of marine and coastal historic environment features?


Ensure that the value and special qualities of designated landscapes is protected?

Both the draft NMP and SPP include policies to protect landscapes (the definition of which includes seascapes), both designated and non-designated. These apply to all sectors progressing development in both the marine and terrestrial environments (including the coast). Reference is also made to wild land.


Recognise and respect the value of wider (non-designated) landscapes and seascapes?


Encourage sectors to take into account the relative sensitivities of different seascapes?


Avoid exacerbating coastal erosion?

The draft NMP contains cross-cutting policies that deal specifically with the maintenance of coastal processes, including avoiding the exacerbation of coastal erosion. The sector-specific policies include requirements for the protection of the seabed. The draft SPP also includes similar policies about coastal processes and erosion. Both the draft NMP and SPP require that risks from coastal erosion should be a consideration when progressing new development.


Maintain the integrity of coastal processes?


Maintain and protect the character and integrity of the seabed?


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