4. Scottish Firms Impact Test
4.1 Face-to-face discussions were conducted with small businesses representing various sizes and sectors. Questions were asked to cover potential costs and benefits from the pilot PFOW MSP and whether or not the pilot Plan should be implemented. Responses are outlined in Table 2.
4.2 Most businesses did not anticipate any real impact on day to day running costs as a result of the pilot Plan. Two businesses considered there to be costs in terms of resources required to participate in the consultation for the development of the pilot Plan. Overall the pilot Plan was welcomed on the basis that it would have negligible negative impact on businesses and would support sustainable economic growth.
Table 2: Summary of responses from meetings with businesses in north Caithness and Sutherland and Orkney Islands.
|Type of business||No. employed||Sector||Costs/benefits||Other comments|
|Camping/caravan site||24-25 in summer/4 in winter||Tourism||No opinion on impacts.
Implement - Yes
|Fishing litter an issue along north coats as it washes ashore on beaches.|
|Bed and Breakfast||1||Tourism||Lack of harbour access in Durness and wider parish a major issue. Benefits for tourism if Plan supports harbour development. Fish currently transported from Scrabster but could be landed locally if there was a harbour.|
|Renewable energy consultancy||3||Renewable energy generation|| Financial/administrative - Potential impact for businesses if they become overburdened with documents, policies etc. Plan should not be a barrier to innovation.
Environmental/social- Marine environment very complex and needs to be taken care of, the Plan can help do that. We need an overarching document for looking after the environment.
Day to day running -Marine energy developers will need the Plan to be interpreted and the company could include that as part of the services they provide.
Implement - Yes
|Needs to be clear how often the Plan will be reviewed. Given the pace of change with renewables industry any review period would need to be frequent enough to capture this change.|
|Ferry tour operator||15 (at peak season)||Marine transport/Tourism|| Day to day running - No real impact so long as limits not imposed on how close ferry can approach sea cliffs. Have flexibility to move route if required.
Implement - Yes, can see no cause for concern for the business.
|Engineering firm for energy industries||12||Oil and gas/Renewable energy generation||Business recently impacted by downturn in oil price and lack of new activity with wave and tidal industry.
Day to day running - Business opportunities may be provided if Plan supports growth of marine renewables industry that make use of local industries.
Implement - Yes
|Shellfish processor||85||Commercial fisheries|| Day to day running - Impact negligible at the moment on business as Plan non-statutory. Highlights important issues. Remains to be seen how Plan will consider weighting different sectors when it becomes statutory. Different drivers for development emerging since work on Plan started ( e.g. cable laying, downturn in marine renewables). Issues will be considered on case-by-case basis but good to have overall framework for informing decisions.
Business is growing and new boats are entering Orkney fishery. However, there may be limits to this growth and fishing will move to new areas. Boats on Westray starting to fish out with the boundary of the Plan area. Future discussion will be required on provisions for management beyond 12 nautical miles.
Management measures to sustain stocks and maximise value may have interactions with other sectors. These will need to be considered in future marine plans.
Administrative/financial - Attending meetings and responding to consultations on marine planning is time-consuming for Inshore Fisheries Group ( IFG) chairs. IFGs need to focus on issues within their fisheries.
Environmental/social - We have responsibilities to look after the marine environment and manage increasing use of it.
Implement - Yes, it is a welcome document.
|Tidal energy developer||23||Renewable energy generation|| Day to day running - If it makes consenting easier there will be cost benefits. Can see no additional costs in terms of requirement for consultation with local stakeholders as company is local and therefore already has established relationships with those users. Plan will be of more use to companies coming into the area from elsewhere as they won't necessarily know the local players and local environment.
Implement - Yes, Plan will help from a consenting perspective.
|Lots of infrastructure has been put in place for marine renewables industry which could be lost if not used. If Plan can support the development of these industries in area then it's a good thing.|
|Salmon farm company||368 (43 in Orkney)||Aquaculture|| Day to day running - Seems to be duplication with Supplementary Guidance for Aquaculture. How will it fit together? If there are different review periods for each there may be conflicting information guiding aquaculture development. However, good in principle to have guidance to defend decisions. Welcome having a criteria-based approach rather than having a spatial approach as business requires flexibility.
Administrative/financial - Duplication of guidance may create confusion and costs. Unclear as to where separation lies with Supplementary Guidance for Aquaculture for Orkney/Highlands and the Plan. Time taken to engage in consultation to develop Plan policies.
Suppliers - Have tried to maximise use of local suppliers however not always possible to do so.
Implement - Yes, but make clear separation of Plan from existing guidance. No benefit in terms of additional profit.
4.3 As much of the pilot Plan reiterates and consolidates existing policy, these elements of policy are unlikely to impose additional costs on small businesses. The pilot Plan does include some new policy elements which may have impacts on the developers of licensable activities and may impose additional costs on other small businesses.
4.4 Small and micro businesses are likely to benefit from their interests being considered as part of proposals for development.
4.5 New and additional policies within the pilot PFOW MSP may affect a variety of marine activities. Particular effects may be seen in marine activities for which developers require a licence to carry out new or amended operations. Such activities include renewable energy generation, aquaculture and ports and harbours.
Competition Filter Questions
4.6 Will the proposal directly limit the number or range of suppliers? (Will it award exclusive rights to a supplier or create closed procurement or licensing programmes?)
No. It is not likely that the number or range of suppliers will be directly limited by the pilot PFOW MSP.
4.7 Will the proposal indirectly limit the number or range of suppliers? (Will it raise costs to smaller entrants relative to larger existing suppliers?)
Limited/ No Impact. As the policies which affect the preparation of applications, location of marine developments and activities, or requirements for marine developers would apply equally to all developers, irrespective of business size, there is unlikely to be any impact on this. The new and additional policies within the Plan have the potential to incur additional costs for developers submitting new licence applications. However, the policies will apply to both new entrants and existing developers seeking to expand or change their operations.
4.8 Will the proposal limit the ability of suppliers to compete? (Will it reduce the channels suppliers can use or geographic area they can operate in?)
No. The policies contained within the pilot PFOW MSP will not directly affect firms' route to market or the geographical markets they can sell into.
4.9 Will the proposal reduce suppliers' incentives to compete vigorously? (Will it encourage or enable the exchange of information on prices, costs, sales or outputs between suppliers)
No. Although policies that support co-existence of developments may encourage some aspects of cost-information sharing, these companies are likely to be undertaking different activities and so would not be in competition with one another.
Test run of business forms
4.10 It is not envisaged that the pilot PFOW MSP will result in the creation of new forms for businesses to deal with, or result in amendments of existing forms.
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