1.1 This document outlines the ‘Lessons Learned’ from the process of developing a non-statutory pilot marine spatial plan for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters (see Map 1). The pilot project was developed to provide a framework in advance of statutory regional marine planning to support sustainable decision-making on marine use and management. It was also an opportunity to trial the processes and stages required to develop a regional marine plan.
1.2 The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area was initially chosen as the pilot area due mainly to the potential growth of marine renewable energy projects in the area, which already supported a wide variety of marine industry in a high quality environment. The pilot process would allow, as far as practically possible, the processes required to develop a marine spatial plan to be trialled in line with the requirements of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, whilst allowing the flexibility of a non-statutory plan making process. As also acknowledged in the Shetland marine spatial plan making process (Kelly et al. 2012) this Plan may not ‘get it quite right’ at the first attempt in this evolving arena of marine planning (Ehler, 2008) but it provides a comprehensive basis from which to develop subsequent regional marine plans.
1.3 Through this pilot marine planning process, effective ways have been considered on how to:
- Consult stakeholders and communities to develop a strategic vision, objectives and plan policies
- Where possible and practical, streamline the processes for input from stakeholders
- Document the process of developing a pilot Marine Spatial Plan so that it can then be utilised by future marine spatial planners i.e. to develop regional marine plans across Scotland
- Consider appropriate governance arrangements
- Develop an integrated marine and land use planning policy framework
- Develop effective and productive joint working relationships across Scottish Government and Local Authority staff
- Identify lessons learned to effectively deliver marine plans at the regional level
Map 1: Geographic coverage of the pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters marine spatial plan. This area combines the two Scottish Marine Regions of Orkney and the North Coast
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