Pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan. Lessons Learned.

A summary of the Lessons Learned during the process of developing the pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan.

5 Resources

Topics covered:

a) Working group staff costs

b) Advisory group input

c) Stage 2 Studies

d) Plan production costs

e) Consultation events

5.1 As noted in Section 4 above, careful project planning is required from the outset. This includes the budget available to develop a marine plan. Unless sufficient resources are identified at the outset, the project is unlikely to progress effectively. In addition to core project costs, resources also need to be allocated for specialist input such as GIS mapping and Sustainability Appraisal requirements, which require detailed expert knowledge. Marine Planning Partnerships should take account that having external contractors to carry out much this additional work would cost considerably more than being able to carry out the work within the partnership. A summary of costs for this pilot process are set out in Appendix 5.

5a) Working group staff costs

5.2 Unsurprisingly, staff costs formed the bulk of the total costs of the project. The only non-Marine Scotland funded elements were in-kind funding provided by the Highland Council in the form of staff time for the first three years of their involvement.

5b) Advisory group

5.3 Costs of attendance by the members of the advisory group were met by each organisation. Meetings were about once a year so their travel commitment was not onerous; the bulk of their input was via email and phone. When required, individual advisory group members participated in working group meetings to discuss specific topics.

5c) Stage 2 studies

5.4 These were projects undertaken to fill knowledge gaps generally identified at the start of the project (see Section 7b). A number of the studies were specific to the PFOW area whilst others were PFOW case studies within a Scotland-wide project. Costs have therefore not been provided for the Stage 2 studies as in many cases the work in the PFOW area was part of Marine Scotland’s wider research programme and it is not possible in all cases to accurately assess the cost of the specific PFOW work. Marine Scotland carries out a wide range of research to support its work and in many cases has used the PFOW area as a case study to ensure more region specific data are available to inform the on-going work in this area. For example, a PFOW specific tourism and recreation study was originally planned, though due to resource constraints, this was undertaken as part of a nationwide study. Many of these studies were undertaken by consultants on behalf of Marine Scotland who had a corresponding project management role as well as financial input. As marine planning has evolved over the life-time of the PFOW pilot project, substantially more data are available for MPPs. However, there are likely to be some smaller scale data gaps in most regions, or region specific issues, that would have to be carefully budgeted for e.g. data on nursery grounds for commercial fisheries.

5d) Plan production costs

5.5 Publishing and advertising the various documents formed a core element of the Plan production costs. Aside from the legal requirements to publish adverts relating to the Strategic Environmental Assessment process and the costs involved in producing both hard and electronic copies of the documents, consultation flyers in local newspapers and posters were produced. Feedback from the consultation events showed that a number of attendees had come along as a direct result of the flyers, therefore justifying the cost.

5e) Consultation costs

5.6 The organising and delivering consultation events were an essential but costly part of the plan-making process (see Appendix 5). Local knowledge and in kind contributions of effort are generally significant assets to any plan making process and should be harnessed effectively. Considerable staff time and effort i.e. resources, went into trying to ensure these events were as successful as possible: see Section 8. Analysing and responding to consultation comments was very resource intensive in terms of staff time.

General Discussion: Resources

5.7 During the consultation phases it was suggested that the Plan could provide information on how potential strategic opportunities identified in Table 9.1 of the PIOP [10] (such as further sectoral mapping and research work), could be funded. However, it was considered beyond the scope of the non-statutory pilot project to be able to fund and deliver these aspirations to support marine sectoral growth. There is scope for statutory regional marine plans to specifically articulate where future sectoral development might take place and facilitate research to underpin the identification of these areas.

5.8 Feedback from Scottish Natural Heritage considered that the actual plan making element of the project was under resourced in comparison to the PFOW Framework stage and better use could have been made of the advisory group and other stakeholders. It was also noted that as well as resources, there is a need for good leadership from national bodies and host institutions and appropriately skilled or trained planning staff.

5.9 A paper produced by the Scottish Environment LINK Marine Taskforce workshop, which included members of the PFOW working group, noted that the [Scottish] government must take action to address the widely recognised lack of resources for marine planning and prioritise spending on it (Brooker et al, 2015). It noted that this should start with a review of resource requirements to support national and regional marine planning and include staffing and training needs, funding and equipment. For comparison, the Marine Management Organisation, which carries out marine planning in England, has increased its core team from six at inception to over 20 people within the organisation to undertake the bulk of the plan preparation for the east and south coast marine plans and will undertake all subsequent English marine plans in due course.

Evidence/Supporting Documents

5.10 Spreadsheet in Appendix 5

Key points: Resources

  • Be clear from the outset what funding is available and where it will be allocated
  • Staff costs are the most significant resource therefore need to be aware of how much staff time will be required
  • From May 2012 when the Council’s joined the MSP project until Spring 2016, it took the equivalent of 2 Full Time Equivalent staff to prepare the Plan and associated documents
  • Need access to GIS expertise either within the working group or with time allocated to the project
  • Significant value can be obtained from in-kind donations e.g. staff time
  • Local knowledge is a significant resource that must be harnessed effectively
  • Public consultation (and associated printing costs and publicity) can be relatively expensive and resource intensive
  • Significant input from numerous Scottish Government staff was required to prepare the many supporting documents


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