- 15 Jun 2015
A working group consisting of Marine Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council have developed this pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan. The Plan sets out an integrated planning policy framework to guide marine development, activities and management decisions, whilst ensuring the quality of the marine environment is protected. The marine environment is used for a wide variety of different purposes and this Plan aims to set out a coherent strategic vision, objectives and policies to further the achievement of sustainable development. This will include the protection and, where appropriate, enhancement of the marine environment within the Plan area. As a non-statutory Plan, it will complement and support existing ambitions and responsibilities rather than replace them.
The working group have undertaken this pilot to put in place a planning policy framework in advance of statutory regional marine planning. It is anticipated that this Marine Spatial Plan will establish a useful basis for the preparation of the two separate regional marine plans for Orkney and the North Coast Scottish Marine Regions. Through the process of producing this pilot Marine Spatial Plan for Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, there have been many lessons learned. These will inform the preparation of future regional marine plans and the governance arrangements that could underpin Marine Planning Partnerships.
The status of the pilot Plan is that it will be used by the Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) as a material consideration in the determination of marine licensing and section 36 consent applications within the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area (subject to approval by Scottish Ministers). There is potential for the final pilot Marine Spatial Plan to be adopted as planning policy advice or as supplementary guidance to the Orkney Local Development Plan and the Highland-wide Local Development Plan, as revised.