Option 1 - Do nothing
3.1 Under this option, the pilot PFOW MSP would not be developed. The existing policy framework governing Scottish waters would remain, including the Marine Policy Statement and European Directives ( e.g. the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Water Framework Directive and Habitats Directive). In addition to this the NMP will remain in place, including its requirement for statutory regional marine planning. As many of the Policies in the pilot Plan are reiterations of existing planning and policy requirements, some of the policies it contains will continue to be implemented in the absence of the pilot Plan.
3.2 As the pilot Plan aims to pilot the regional marine planning process and inform Marine Planning Partnerships, the absence of this Plan could significantly reduce the effectiveness of the future Regional Marine Plans. In this way the absence of the pilot Plan would increase the difficulty of implementing the requirement for Regional Marine Plans in the NMP. The guidance and consolidation the Plan will likely bring to the existing consenting and planning process (through its intended use as a material consideration) would also be absent if this Option was adopted.
3.3 In line with the vision of the UK MPS, the provision for regional marine planning set out in the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, and the aims and requirements of the NMP, this is not seen as a viable option.
Option 2 - Development and approval of a pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan.
3.4 Under this option the pilot PFOW MSP would be approved and would consolidate the requirements of the NMP, the UK MPS and existing European Directives. The experience gained from piloting the regional marine planning process will help to guide and inform the preparation of future Regional Marine Plans and the work of the Marine Planning Partnerships.
3.5 The pilot PFOW MSP also sets out some new and additional policies and conditions for development in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area.
Sectors and groups affected
3.6 A number of sectors may be affected by the pilot PFOW MSP:
- developers of licensed activities in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area (including oil and gas, renewable energy, ports & harbours, aquaculture and all other licensable activities. These activities could be Scottish-owned, Rest of UK-owned or foreign-owned).
- activities in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters marine area that do not require a licence or that require licences without a spatial component to them ( i.e. those not linked to specific geographical location, e.g. fishing, shipping, tourism, leisure and recreational activities). Those affected may be Scottish, Rest of UK, or foreign.
- coastal communities.
- the Scottish Government (through Marine Scotland's Planning and Licensing Operations).
- the Orkney Islands Council and the Highland Council.
- regional Marine Planning Partnerships (including local authorities).
3.7 It is not envisaged that this option will create any additional costs for developers. As many of the policies within the Plan are reiterations of existing policies, these requirements would remain in place. However, under this option the Plan would not consolidate policies in an accessible manner, or aid in the application of existing policies in a local context. Developers could suffer from ongoing uncertainty surrounding planning and licensing which could, in turn, result in higher costs, undermining sustainable economic growth and the protection of Scotland's marine environment.
3.8 This option would potentially undermine the feasibility and effectiveness of future Regional Marine Plans as the process would not have been piloted.
3.9 The pilot PFOW MSP reiterates many existing policies (see annex A). However, it also sets out a variety of new policies ( annex B) that aim to provide guidance on development in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area. Some of the policies included in the plan are general and apply to all activities and uses of the marine environment. Others however, are specifically applicable to particular sectors such as renewable energy generation, aquaculture, oil and gas or commercial fishing etc.
3.10 Although this Plan is non-statutory the new policies are likely to be material considerations in the existing planning and consenting processes. New policies may also inform or be carried into the future statutory Regional Marine Plans. Therefore it is likely that this Plan will have some implications for the sectors and groups specified above, though it is not certain that all requirements contained within the Plan will be applied due to its non-statutory nature. The policies can influence:
- the preparation of, and consultation upon, Regional Marine Plans by future Marine Planning Partnerships
- the preparation of applications by developers and the assessment of applications by licensing authorities
- the choice of location of marine developments and activities
- the requirements placed on the construction, operation and expansion of marine developments
3.11 The pilot PFOW MSP will be submitted to Scottish ministers for approval in 2016. As such it's conditions would only apply to developments and applications after it has been approved.
3.12 This BRIA has not quantified additional costs incurred as a result of the adoption of this option and the policies contained within the Plan. At this stage it is not possible to estimate and quantify the additional costs to developers with any accuracy, therefore a qualitative approach has been taken to assessing the additional costs of new policies within this BRIA.
Table 1: Potential Impacts of New and Additional Policies ( Annex B) Contained in the pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan Policies
|General Policy 1B: Supporting Sustainable Social and Economic Benefits|| Potential Additional Costs for Developers
Requirement to maximise local supply chain opportunities may lead to suppliers choosing more expensive supply option to comply with this guidance.
Requirements on developers to consult, and cooperate may be additional to current requirements and this may result in developers changing or adding to their existing processes, incurring additional costs.
|General Policy 1C: Safeguarding the Marine Ecosystem|| Limited/ No Additional Costs to Developers
Requirement to minimise and mitigate damage to the natural environment is already required by the licensing and consenting process. It is likely that no additional actions are required to comply with this policy and so there are likely to be no/limited additional costs.
|General Policy 2: The Well-Being, Quality of Life and Amenity of Coastal Communities|| Potential Additional Costs for Developers
Requirement on developers to consult, engage, and cooperate with other marine users may alter developer behaviour and create additional tasks, resulting in increased costs.
Requirement to mitigate damage will result in additional actions and so incur additional costs.
|General Policy 4C: Wider Biodiversity|| Limited/ No Additional Cost to Developers
Developers must already take into account the effect of development on Priority Marine Features; both effectively demonstrating the absence of an effect or putting in place mitigation for the effect. There is therefore unlikely to be any additional costs for developers
|General Policy 5A: Water Environment|| Potential Additional Costs for Developers
Requirement to gather information about potential adverse effects will likely result in additional actions which may incur additional costs on developers.
Requirement to co-operate with existing activities with an effect on the water environment may result in additional actions for developers.
|General Policy 7: Integrated Coastal and Marine Development|| Limited/ No Additional Costs to Developers
A respondent to the consultation in 2015 noted that the recommendation in this policy for developers to produce a single Environmental Impact Assessment ( EIA) for terrestrial components of a development project that are inextricably linked to the main works may result in developers to consider producing a single EIA where they would not have otherwise done so. However, responses from the consultation exercise resulted in this policy wording being changed and it no longer specifically recommends producing a single EIA.
Requirement to carry out an EIA is already required by the licensing and consenting process. It is likely that no additional actions are required to comply with this policy and so there are likely to be no/limited additional costs.
|General Policy 9: Invasive Non-Native Species|| Potential Additional Costs to Developers
Requirement for developers to put in place biosecurity plans will result in additional actions and so incur additional costs for developers.
Requirement for developers to produce contingency and mitigation plans will result in additional tasks and activities which will produce increased costs for developers.
Activities resulting from mitigation and contingency plans produced to meet the requirements of this policy will result in developers changing or adding to their existing processes. This has potent to result in additional tasks. This may incur increased costs for the developer.
|Sectoral Policy 1: Commercial Fisheries|| Potential Additional Costs to Developers
Requirement of Port and Harbour operators to engage with local fishers could result in additional activities and result in altered behaviour, potentially increasing costs for the developers.
|Sectoral Policy 4: Renewable Energy Generation|| Limited/ No Additional Costs to Developers
Requirement to take account of Regional Locational Guidance ( RLG). The RLG published alongside the pilot PFOW MSP does not differ significantly to the RLG published alongside the draft Sectoral Marine Plans and so is unlikely to incur additional costs for developers.
|Sectoral Policy 5: Recreation, Sport, Leisure and Tourism|| Potential Additional Costs for Developers
Requirements on developers to consult, and cooperate may be additional and alter behaviour, resulting in additional costs.
The requirement to mitigate damage to recreation, leisure and tourism may result in additional actions and activities, incurring additional costs for the developer.
|Sectoral Policy 9: Marine Aggregates|| Potential Additional Costs for Developers
The requirement for developers to cause no significant adverse impact on other marine activities may incur additional costs through information gathering and engagement activities. As a result developments may also be required to be sited away from the optimal area.
3.13 It is envisaged that the pilot PFOW MSP will incur some additional costs for businesses. However, as the Plan is non-statutory, it is not guaranteed that all of the new policies will come into effect. Costs have not been quantified due to their inherent uncertainty.
3.14 No additional benefits are expected to arise from this option.
3.15 Implementing the pilot PFOW MSP should help deliver the benefits of a marine planning system set out in the Final Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.
These benefits include:
- reducing planning risk and uncertainty
- a more informed site selection process
- benefits for the economy including an efficient use of Scotland's marine resources, reduced conflict between marine users and a greater confidence and certainty for developers whilst negotiating the planning and consenting system
- policies involving stakeholder engagement would have social benefits, involving local communities in the use of the marine area
- environmental benefits include the protection of internationally, nationally, and locally important nature conservation and biodiversity sites and interests
- this option helps environmental issues to be incorporated into the planning and management process
3.16 Additional benefits may include consideration of the Pentland Firth and Orkney Water's historic environment and its protection in planning and development decisions in the area.
3.17 The pilot PFOW MSP will provided future Marine Planning Partnerships with a clear approach to the preparation of Regional Marine Plans. This will likely lead to more effective Regional Marine Plans that will help planning and licensing authorities to manage the marine environment and the region's marine resources more effectively than if the Plan had not been approved.
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