Pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan. Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment.

A Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)

Annex B: New Policies in the pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan

Policy Title Policy Text
General Policy 1B: Supporting Sustainable Social and Economic Benefits Development(s) and/or activities will be supported by this Plan when the proposal can demonstrate:
  • sustainable employment benefits
  • that opportunities to support local supply chains and create skilled employment in local communities have been maximised
  • that any adverse social, economic and operational effects on existing activities have been avoided, or where avoidance is not possible, adverse effects have been appropriately mitigated
  • that opportunities to support synergistic benefits between development and activities have been maximised

Developers should undertake early engagement with the local authority, and any other relevant bodies, if there are likely to be significant impacts on local infrastructure or services.
General Policy 1C: Safeguarding the Marine Ecosystem The Plan will support proposed development(s) and/or activities when they:
  • safeguard the integrity of coastal and marine ecosystems
  • contribute towards the MSFD objectives to promote enhancement or improvement of the environmental status of the marine environment
  • demonstrate how any significant disturbance and degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems has been avoided or appropriately mitigated
General Policy 2: The Well-Being, Quality of Life and Amenity of Coastal Communities Development(s) and/or activities will be supported by this Plan when it can be demonstrated that:
  • significant adverse effects on the well-being, quality of life and amenity of local communities have been avoided, and where appropriate, mitigation measures to address any adverse effects have been incorporated as part of the proposals and agreed with the consenting authority
  • local stakeholders, relevant Community Councils and interested community groups have been engaged at an early stage in the development process when assessing any potential impacts on the well-being, quality of life and amenity of local communities
General Policy 4C: Wider Biodiversity The Plan will not support development(s) and/or activities that result in a significant impact on the national status of Priority Marine Features.
Where development(s) and/or activities are likely to have an adverse impact on species of regional or local importance to biodiversity, proposals should demonstrate that:
  • the public benefits at a local level clearly outweigh the value of the habitat for biodiversity conservation;
  • the development(s) and/or activities will be sited and designed to minimise adverse impacts on environmental quality, ecological status or viability; and
  • any impact will be suitably mitigated.
General Policy 5A: Water Environment The Plan will support development(s) and/or activities in the marine environment when the proposal:
  • does not cause any water body to deteriorate in status nor prevent the achievement of established objectives set out in the River Basin Management Plan for the Scotland river basin district
  • contributes, where possible, towards objectives to improve the ecological status of coastal water bodies and the environmental status of marine waters
  • does not cause deterioration in the standard of waters designated under European Commission Directives and national legislation
  • is accompanied by sufficient information to enable a full assessment of the likely effects, including cumulative effects, on the water environment
  • has taken into account existing activities in the proposed location for development and undertaken early consultation to ensure that activities that may not be compatible ( e.g. development of an incompatible activity near an established legitimate activity, such as a licensed discharge) are not located together
General Policy 7: Integrated Coastal and Marine Development For development(s) and/or activities that require multiple licences, permissions and/or consents, applicants should undertake early pre-application engagement with the consenting authorities and relevant stakeholders.
For development(s) and/or activities that require an Environmental Impact Assessment and multiple licences, permissions and/or consents, applicants should produce a Consultation Strategy at the scoping stage.
Where appropriate, proposals for construction projects should be supported by a construction environmental management plan which covers both the terrestrial and marine environment.
MS-LOT and other relevant consenting authorities should consult one another at an early stage to improve the efficiency of the consenting process and, where appropriate, coordinate and streamline the various consenting requirements.
Policy GEN 9: Invasive Non-Native Species All developers and users of the marine environment should take into account the risk of introducing and spreading non-native species and put in place biosecurity and management measures to minimise this risk. These measures will be most effective when a co-ordinated and collaborative approach is taken by developers and users of the marine environment. Applications for marine-related development(s) and/or activities should demonstrate that the potential risks of spreading non-native species, and appropriate mitigation where needed, has been adequately considered in their proposal.
Existing Codes of Practice, species control agreements and orders (under the WANE Act), risk assessments and international guidelines should be used to develop these measures where relevant to the marine environment.
Where non-native species assessed as high risk are known to be present, mitigation measures ( e.g. an eradication plan) or a contingency plan should be put in place to minimise the risk of spreading the species.
Sectoral Policy 1: Commercial Fisheries Taking account of the relevant EU policies and Directives marine planners and decision makers should aim to ensure:
  • existing fishing opportunities and activities will be safeguarded wherever possible
  • an ecosystem based approach to the management of fishing which ensures the sustainability of fish stocks and avoids damage to fragile habitats has been implemented
  • consideration has been given to protection for vulnerable commercial stocks (in particular for juvenile and spawning stocks through continuation of sea area closures, where appropriate)
  • other sectors take into account the need to protect fish stocks and sustain healthy fisheries for both economic and conservation reasons
  • that appropriate consultation regarding proposed development(s) and/or activities have been undertaken with local fishers and representatives of local and national fisheries organisations and Inshore Fisheries Groups (or equivalent)

The following key factors should be taken into account when deciding on uses of the marine environment and the potential impact on fishing:
  • the cultural and economic importance of fishing, in particular to vulnerable coastal and island communities
  • the potential impact (positive and negative) of marine development(s) and/or activities on the sustainability of fish and shellfish stocks and resultant fishing opportunities in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area
  • the environmental impact on fishing grounds (such as nursery, spawning areas), commercially-fished species, habitats and species more generally
  • the potential effect of displacement on: fish stocks; the wider environment; use of fuel; socio-economic costs to fishers and their communities and other marine users
  • port and harbour operators should seek to engage with fishing and other relevant stakeholders at an early stage to discuss any changes in infrastructure, including commercial policy, that may affect them
  • any port or harbour development(s) and/or activities should take account of the needs of the dependent fishing fleet with a view to avoiding commercial and environmental harm where possible
Sectoral Policy 4: Renewable Energy All proposals for offshore wind and marine renewable energy development are subject to licensing and consenting processes.
The Plan will support proposals when:
  • proposals for commercial scale developments are sited in the Plan Option areas identified through the Sectoral Marine Plan process. These are considered the preferred location for the sustainable development of offshore wind and marine renewables
  • the potential for co-existence in, and multiple use of, Plan Option areas and Agreement for Lease areas by other marine users has been discussed with stakeholders and given due consideration
  • due regard has been paid to relevant factors in Regional Locational Guidance
  • connections to shore and National Grid connections have been considered against the appropriate policies in the relevant Local Development Plan(s)
  • early and effective communication and consultation with all affected stakeholders has been established to avoid or minimise adverse impacts
  • any adverse impacts are satisfactorily mitigated
Sectoral Policy 5: Recreation, Sport, Leisure and Tourism The Plan will support the sustainable development of marine recreation, sport, leisure and tourism.
The Plan will support proposals for recreation, sport, leisure and tourism development(s) and/or activities where:
  • they do not adversely affect the natural and historic environment which is the resource that recreation, sport, leisure and tourism rely upon
  • codes of best practice and guidance such as those for biosecurity planning, non-native species and Marine Wildlife Watching are complied with

The Plan will support proposals for development(s) and/or activities of other sectors where:
  • during planning, construction and operation they minimise or mitigate any disruption and/or disturbance to recreation, sport, leisure and tourism activities, including the natural and historic environment as a resource that these activities rely upon
  • the impact the development has on access, navigational routes and navigational safety in relation to recreation, sport, leisure and tourism activities has been minimised or mitigated
  • consultation and engagement with relevant users of the marine environment has been undertaken to ensure the measures used to minimise or mitigate disruption or disturbance are appropriate
  • consideration has been given to the facility requirements of marine recreation, sport, leisure and tourism users and the potential for co‑operation and sharing infrastructure and/or facilities taken into account
Sectoral Policy 9: Marine Aggregates Proposals for new marine aggregate extraction sites should ensure they do not compromise existing activities.
Decision makers should ensure marine environmental issues are considered and appropriately safeguarded.
Any marine development should consider any impacts on existing or potential marine aggregate resources.


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