2.1 Updates regarding this work were sent to a range of Scottish Government divisions via the stakeholder distribution list and face-to-face discussions were held with officials within Marine Scotland and the wider Scottish Government from the outset of the plan-making process. This included those with responsibility for:
- Nature conservation
- Marine renewable energy
2.2 Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency were also regularly consulted throughout the marine planning process.
2.3 A Plan Scheme was published in 2012 which set out the key stages for the preparation of the pilot Plan. This performed the function of a Statement of Public Participation as detailed in the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.
2.4 A Planning Issues and Options Consultation Paper and a draft Environmental Report were produced in 2013 which enabled early stakeholder engagement on the pilot Plan's strategic objectives, key themes and policy approaches. The public consultation ran between 17 June and 26 July 2013. Stakeholder workshops, public drop-in sessions and individual meetings with stakeholders also took place in July 2013 to discuss the document.
2.5 Thirty formal written responses were received from a wide range of marine sectors and stakeholders. Results of the consultation exercise were presented in a Consultation Analysis and Consultation Report.
2.6 A further public consultation was held on a Consultation Draft of the pilot PFOW MSP and supporting documents, including the Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment ( BRIA). This consultation took place between 15 June and 6 September 2015. Public drop-in sessions were held in Stromness, Thurso and Durness in July 2015 .
2.7 Thirty-one formal written responses were received as part of the latest consultation. Of the twelve respondents that answered the question regarding the BRIA, four had additional comments to provide.
2.8 The main issues raised in these responses included:
- one respondent noted the potential for even small additional costs having a potentially detrimental impact on the viability of the wave and tidal industry
- one respondent noted the need to recognise that encouraging business to maximise a range of potential benefits should not be at the expense of the wider project viability
- a fisheries respondent felt that activities having a defined spatial or zoned footprint are favoured in the Plan while the wide-roaming nature of fishing operations places them at a disadvantage
- a respondent from the aquaculture industry felt that regulators and stakeholders were being overburdened with an increasingly complex planning process and duplication of policy documents
2.9 Support for the development and adoption of a pilot PFOW MSP was received from one respondent.
2.10 Many existing policies have already been assessed for business and regulatory impacts and are considered to be baseline policies (For policies considered 'baseline' see annex A). As such, comments received on the potential impacts of these policies have not been included as part of this BRIA.
Other stakeholder engagement
2.11 Throughout the entire plan-making process, routine updates were issued to a list of >250 stakeholders with an interest in this work.
2.12 Representatives from relevant sectors have been involved in the development of their respective policies throughout the development of the Plan and have been provided with regular updates through the stakeholder distribution list and, in many cases, face to face meetings.
2.13 Additional face-to-face meetings were held with 8 businesses around the north Caithness and Sutherland coast and Orkney Islands in August 2015. Businesses involved in these discussions included those potentially affected by the proposal from a broad range of sectors:
- Camping/caravan site
- Bed and Breakfast
- Renewable energy consultancy
- Ferry tour operator
- Engineering firm for energy industries
- Shellfish processor
- Tidal energy developer
- Salmon farm company
2.14 The results of these discussions form the main part of the Scottish Firms Impact Assessment.