Pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan - Sustainability Appraisal

This report summarises the findings of the Sustainability Appraisal undertaken on the draft pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan incorporating a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) required under Directive 2001/42/EC and the Env

APPENDIX D: Analysis of key environmental and socio-economic objectives

Source Key objectives
UN Convention on Biological Diversity 1992 Relates to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and the sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources (including by appropriate access to these resources).
  • Article 6 requires that all parties to the Convention develop national biodiversity strategies, plans or programmes, and that they seek to integrate the provisions of these across other policy sectors.
  • Article 7 requires the identification of key resources and their protection.
  • Monitoring of potentially damaging processes and activities should also be undertaken and representative networks of protected areas be established in the maritime environment by 2012.
Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals 1979
  • Aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian species through international co-operation.
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance 1971 (amended 1982/87)
  • Otherwise known as the Ramsar Convention, it emphasises the special value of wetlands, particularly as a key habitat for waterfowl. The Convention resulted in designation of sites for management and conservation.
Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic ( OSPAR Convention) 1992. Aims to prevent and eliminate pollution and to protect the maritime area against the adverse effects of human activities.

Led to establishment of a cross-regional commission promoting an ecosystems approach to marine management, including establishment of a network of MPAs.

Its five work areas are biodiversity and ecosystems, eutrophication, hazardous substances, offshore industry, and radioactive substances, with climate change also a key cross-cutting theme.

Includes a Biological Diversity and Ecosystems Strategy.
Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds 1995 ( AEWA) An independent international treaty developed under the auspices of the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species.

Covers 255 species of birds ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle, including species of divers, grebes, cormorants, herons, ducks, swans, geese, waders, gulls, and terns.

An action plan addresses issues including species and habitat conservation, management of human activities, research, monitoring, education and implementation.
Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas 1992 ( ASCOBANS)
  • An agreement on the protection of small cetaceans, noting that the migratory nature of dolphins, porpoises and whales means that they can be vulnerable to a range of marine activities and issues.
UN Agreement on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks 2001
  • Sets out principles for the conservation and management of specified fish stocks and establishes that such management must be based on the precautionary approach and the best available scientific information. It elaborates on the fundamental principle established in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ( UNCLOS) that States should co-operate to ensure conservation and promote the objective of the optimum utilisation of fisheries resources both within and beyond the exclusive economic zone.
International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks 1999 ( IPOA-SHARKS)
  • The objective of the IPOA-SHARKS is to ensure the conservation and management of sharks and their long-term sustainable use. Scotland has over 30 species of sharks, skates and rays recorded in its waters of which 25 are found in coastal waters, of which a high proportion are already or nearly at risk.
Council Directive 79/409/ EEC on the conservation of wild birds (the Birds Directive) / Directive 2009/147/ EC
  • Relates to the long term conservation of all species of naturally occurring birds in the wild state across European Member States and allows for designation of special protection areas as part of a coherent ecological network across Europe.
  • Applies to factors with potential to affect birds including human activity leading to the destruction and pollution of habitats.
Council Directive 92/43/ EEC the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitats Directive) as Amended by Council Directive 97/147/ EC
  • Aims to promote the maintenance of biodiversity and natural heritage as part of sustainable development.
Establishes a commitment to the designation of special areas of conservation, as part of a coherent ecological network across Europe. These are known as Natura 2000 sites and include Special Protection Areas ( SPAs) (designated under the Birds Directive) and Special Areas of Conservation ( SACs).

Notes that land-use planning and development policies should encourage the management of features of the landscape which are of major importance for wild fauna and flora.

Also requires an appropriate assessment to be made of any plan or programme likely to have a significant effect on the conservation objectives of a designated site.
Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (1979)
  • Aims at promoting co-operation between European states to protect biodiversity.
The Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (1995)
  • Aims to reverse the decline of landscape and biological diversity, by promoting innovation and proactive policy making.
  • It supports preceding measures for protecting natural heritage, and aims to supplement this by further promoting a number of action themes relating to different environmental resources.
  • Emphasises the rapid decline of some key characteristics and resources, including traditional human-made landscapes, coastal zones, marine areas, wetlands, mountains and grassland.
Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 (2011)
  • Sets out a 2050 vision that EU biodiversity and natural heritage and the ecosystem services it provides are protected, valued and appropriately restored.
Includes the headline target of halting the loss of biodiversity and natural heritage and degradation of ecosystem services by 2020, restoring them where possible and increasing the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity and natural heritage loss.

Further targets cover improved conservation status, establishment of green infrastructure and restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems, contribution of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and combating invasive alien species.

Notes the importance of spatial planning and land use management in reaching these targets.
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) Core legislation that provides the framework for protection of species other than European Protected Species ( EPS).

Sets out protection objectives for specified birds and wild animals and the Act’s various schedules detail the species that are protected under the Act, including: dolphins, porpoises, and numerous birds such as geese and ducks.

This was reviewed and updated in December 2008 and it was recommended that several further species of marine fish should be added to the lists attached to the Act, including: shark, seahorse and ray species.

Provides the legal framework within which activities that impact on protected species constitute an offence, and makes available powers of enforcement.

The Act has been amended in part by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004.
Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 ( WANE) Draws together and updates legislation on nature conservation. In particular, it updates much of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and focuses on a series of key measures relating to certain land management activities including the introduction of vicarious liability in relation to the persecution of wild birds.
Conservation (Natural habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended) and its Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2007 Transposes the requirements for protection of designated sites under the Habitats and Birds Directives, and the framework for protection of European Protected Species.

While it applies within 12 nautical miles (nm), several marine species are protected by various development consenting regimes covered by the Act, including marine turtles, all species of dolphins, porpoise and whale, seals and several types of marine fish (Atlantic salmon, Barbel, etc.).

Part IVA sets out the requirement for the appropriate assessment of land use plans where it is likely to have a significant effect on a European site and is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site. It elaborates that the assessment should be undertaken prior to the marine spatial plan being given effect and should include consultation with the appropriate nature conservation body.
The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 2007 (the Offshore Marine Regulations) Extends protection to important species and habitats under the Birds and Habitats Directives beyond UK territorial waters (i.e. outside 12 nm) and gives protection to marine species, wild birds and habitats through the creation of offences and site protection mechanisms.

Provides the definition of deliberate disturbance as applicable to cetaceans, turtles and the Atlantic sturgeon.
Conserving Biodiversity – the UK Approach (2007) and the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework (2012) Is a framework document for biodiversity, identifying six priorities for implementing biodiversity objectives within the integrating framework of an ecosystem approach:
  • Protecting the best sites for wildlife.
  • Targeting action on priority species and habitats.
  • Embedding proper consideration of biodiversity and ecosystem services in all relevant sectors of policy and decision-making.
  • Engaging people and encouraging behaviour change.
  • Developing and interpreting the evidence base.
  • Ensuring that the UK plays a proactive role in influencing the development of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and contributes fully to their domestic delivery.
The UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework succeeds the UK Biodiversity Action Plan ( UK BAP) and ‘Conserving Biodiversity – the UK Approach’, and is the result of a change in strategic thinking following the publication of the Convention for Biodiversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the launch of the new EU Biodiversity Strategy ( EUBS) in May 2011. The Framework demonstrates how the work of the four countries and the UK contributes to achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and identifies the activities required to complement the country biodiversity strategies in achieving the targets.
Conservation of Seals Act 1970 Provides for the protection and conservation of seals in and in adjacent territorial seas. The Habitats Directive and the 1994 Regulations (see above) introduced additional measures for the protection of seals.
Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 Introduced the duty for public bodies to further the conservation of biodiversity and natural heritage, and the requirement for a Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. Also sets the framework designating sites of special scientific interest ( SSSIs).
The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 Establishes a range of new powers including that for development of Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs) in the seas around Scotland, to recognise features of national importance and to meet international commitments for developing a network of MPAs.

Allows for three different types of MPAs to be set up including:
  • Nature Conservation MPAs.
  • Demonstration and Research MPAs.
  • Historic MPAs.
Amongst others, the 2010 Act also introduced improved protection for seals.
2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity - A Strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland (2013)

Scotland's Biodiversity: It's in Your Hands (2004)
The 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity is Scotland's response to the Aichi Targets set by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, and the European Union's Biodiversity Strategy for 2020.

It is a supplement to the Scotland's Biodiversity: It's in Your Hands (2004), and the two documents together comprise the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.

The 2020 Challenge document aims to increase the general level of biodiversity and natural heritage and support ecosystems, engage people with the natural world and maximise the benefits of a diverse natural environment and the services it provides, contributing to sustainable economic growth. Together, they call for a step change in efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and restore the essential services that a healthy natural environment provides, highlighting the need to protect marine and coastal biodiversity and maintain marine productivity.
The Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain (2008) Aims to protect against the adverse impacts of invasive non-native species by taking a more preventative and joined-up approach.

Notes that non-native species are a significant threat to biodiversity and natural heritage world-wide, and also that the distribution of species could be affected by climate change over the coming years.

When the GB Strategy was launched in 2008, it included a commitment to review the strategy after five years, a process that formally commenced in September 2013.
A Fresh Start: The renewed Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture (2009) ( SFSA) Based on three guiding principles: economic, environmental and social, the SFSA is the main policy instrument to deliver a diverse, competitive but sustainable aquaculture industry in Scotland and provides a set of parameters within which industry can balance socio-economic benefits against environmental impact.
Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 Allows for the Salmon Conservation Regulations to be made where it is considered necessary to do so for the conservation of salmon, and relates to fishing in the sea, estuaries or rivers.
Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Acts 2007 and 2013 Covers fish farms and shellfish farms, referring to operational issues and addressing both freshwater and sea fisheries.

The Act covers operational aspects of the aquaculture industry, ranging from improving technical issues (e.g. equipment used in fish farming, escapes, etc.) to outlining payments and penalty charges relating to aquaculture and fisheries, amongst others.
Orkney Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2013-2016

Highland Biodiversity Action Plan 2015 – 2020 (draft)

Caithness, Sutherland, Wester Ross, Ross and Cromarty (East), Skye and Lochalsh, Lochaber, Inverness and Nairn, and Badenoch and Strathspey LBAPs
Local Biodiversity Action Plans ( LBAP) and their Partnerships operate at a local level to conserve and enhance biodiversity and natural heritage and deliver action for national priorities identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan ( UK BAP), as well as for species and habitats which are particularly cherished or valued in local areas of Scotland.

The Orkney LBAP 2013-2016 (in draft) takes a targeted approach similar to that of its predecessors.

The Highland BAP 2015 – 2020 (draft) draws together the key strategic issues that emerged from the eight LBAPs (see left) and provide a work programme for the Highland Biodiversity Partnership.
  • The SA should assess the extent to which the Pilot Plan will contribute to the core aims or protection and enhancement of biodiversity and natural heritage.
  • There is a need to establish and mitigate impacts on coastal and marine habitats and species, particularly those designated at the international, national and local levels within the PFOW marine spatial plan area.
  • The SA should encourage the Pilot Plan to take positive action in reflecting the aspirations and goals set out within the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the emerging Scottish response to the 2020 vision, and BAPs at the local level (Orkney and the Highlands); the latter emphasising the importance of ecosystem health, and framing biodiversity and natural heritage conservation within the context of sustainable economic growth within the PFOW area.
  • Many effects on biodiversity and natural heritage can only be identified at a local level as they depend on the type and location of activities which are brought forward under the terms of individual policies. As a result, the assessment should focus on high level strategic issues arising from the emerging policy framework, whilst acknowledging that there will likely be a need to establish and mitigate impacts on designated sites and species from future development within the PFOW area.


Source Key objectives
Climatic Factors
Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/ EC Promotes the use of energy from renewable sources to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
National Emission Ceiling Directive 2001/81/ EC It establishes national emission ceilings (kilotonnes/year) for Member States to achieve by 2010, although there are EC proposals to update the Directive and revise the NECD ceiling in line with the amended Gothenburg Protocol.

Set upper limits for the total emissions in 2010 of Sulphur dioxide ( SO 2), Nitrous oxides ( NO x), Volatile Organic Compounds ( VOCs), Particulates ( PM 2.5) and Ammonia (NH 3) whilst allowing member States to achieve the targets through national measures.

Notes that many of these pollutants are trans-boundary, and discusses member States tackling them together.
Green Paper: Adapting to climate change in Europe – options for EU action (2007) Presents options for whilst providing an overall strategy for adapting and mitigating to climate change.

Outlines a number of targets, including reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% by 2020 and, in case of a global and comprehensive agreement, by 30% by 2020 and called for a global reduction of up to 50% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

Sets priority options including a flexible four-pronged approach based around four pillars:
  • Early action in the EU.
  • Integrating adaptation into EU external actions.
  • Reducing uncertainty by expanding the knowledge base through integrated climate research.
  • Involving European society, business and public sector in the preparation of coordinated and comprehensive adaptation strategies.
Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 Sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including a 42% reduction target by 2020, and an 80% reduction by 2050, and requires the setting of annual targets for 2010-2050. These targets are subject to expert advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change, followed by the Scottish Committee on Climate change when established.

Requires regular reporting of progress to the Scottish Parliament.

Establishes climate change duties on Scottish public bodies covering both climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Part 5 focuses on climate change adaption and action by specific sectors, public engagement and carbon assessment.
UK Climate Change Risk Assessment ( CCRA) 2012 It sets out the main priorities for adaptation in the UK under 5 key themes identified in the CCRA 2012 Evidence Report - Agriculture and Forestry; Business, industries and Services; Health and Wellbeing; Natural Environment and Buildings and Infrastructure - and describes the policy context, and action already in place to tackle some of the risks in each area.

It highlights the constraints of the CCRA analysis and provides advice on how to take account of the uncertainty within the analysis.
Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership ( MCCIP) The United Kingdom Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership ( MCCIP) brings together scientists, government, its agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations to provide co-ordinated advice on climate change impacts around our coast and in our seas.

Produces annual report cards and briefing notes outlining the current state of scientific understanding of marine climate change in our oceans and seas, the changes observed and exploring what could happen in the future, and how much of this is evidenced and how much is interpretation.
Climate Change Delivery Plan (Scottish Government, 2009) Sets out key challenges arising from climate change, and identifies key sectors for reducing emissions including: electricity demand and supply, heat demand and supply, transport, rural land use and waste.

Aims to achieve four transformational outcomes:
  • A largely decarbonised electricity generation sector by 2030.
  • A largely decarbonised heat sector by 2050 with significant progress by 2030.
  • Almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050, with significant progress by 2030.
  • A comprehensive approach to ensure that carbon is factored into land use decisions.
Scotland’s Climate Change Adaptation Framework (Scottish Government, 2009) Provides an overarching framework for adaptation to climate change, which is currently in the process of being updated to reflect more recent information on climate change risk assessment.

Emphasises the importance of understanding and responding to climate change impacts, and integrating this into public sector plans and strategies.

Notes that adaptation will be needed to address a wide range issues including changing air quality, impacts on the natural environment and land management, issues around the water environment, and challenges for resilience.
Climate Change Adaptation Framework Sector Action Plans (Scottish Government, 2011) The series of sectoral plans is focused on required activities to adapt to climate change. While the Marine and Fisheries, Energy and Biodiversity Sector Action Plans were identified as being of particular relevance to the Pilot Plan, the SEA should also take into account wider actions.

Sets out a number of objectives including raising awareness of climate change to the wider marine stakeholder community (through the Marine Strategy Forum). Also aims to build evidence to support future adaptation action and build further policies that respond to impacts.
Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2014 Addresses the impacts identified for Scotland in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment ( CCRA) published under section 56 of the UK Climate Change Act 2008.

Sets out Scottish Ministers’ objectives in relation to adaptation to climate change, targeting three key themes: the Natural Environment, Buildings and Infrastructure Networks, and Society.

Outlines proposals and policies for meeting these objectives, the period within which the proposals and policies will be introduced, and setting out arrangements for wider engagement in meeting these objectives.
Low Carbon Scotland: Meeting the Emissions Reduction Targets 2010-2022 (2011) and Low Carbon Scotland: Meeting our Emissions Reduction Targets 2013-2027 (2013)

(the first and second climate change reports on proposals and policies ( RPP and RPP2)
This series of reports sets out the proposals and policies required to meet Scotland’s targets for climate change mitigation included in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act.

These includes commitments to the development of the renewable energy sector, and identifies the transport sector as being important in the meeting the necessary targets.
  • The stated objectives and commitments promote the role of sectors such as the energy and transport sectors, amongst others, in contributing to climate change mitigation and aiding in adaptation to its predicted effects in the longer term.
  • The SA should explore the extent to which the Pilot Plan can aid in delivering both climate change mitigation and adaptation commitments, and in particular, the role that the PFOW area can play in delivering a shift towards low carbon energy.
  • The assessment should take into account the Pilot Plan’s role in addressing issues such as changing vulnerability of the natural environment, the need for land and sea use changes, and requirements for long term resilience in the face of the predicted effects of climate change.


Source Key objectives
Cultural Heritage
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ( UNCLOS) 1982 (ratified by the UK in 1997) Article 303 stipulates that member 'states have the duty to protect objects of an archaeological and historical nature found at sea and shall co-operate for this purpose' and provides for coastal states to exert a degree of control over the archaeological heritage to 24 nautical miles (nm).
Scottish Historic Environment Policy ( SHEP) 2011 Provides the overarching framework for historic environment policy in Scotland, consolidating and replacing the previously separate SHEPs.

Aims to promote effective conservation and to enhance enjoyment and understanding of the historic environment, linking it with the Scottish Government’s central purpose.

The updated SHEP includes provisions to broaden the types of sites which can be designated on the basis of their national importance, arrangements for consultation in advance of designation, and proposals for powers and provisions to allow for site maintenance.

It notes that the protection of the historic environment is not about preventing change; rather change should be managed intelligently and with understanding.

It notes the key challenges as a lack of understanding of its role in regenerating and revitalising communities, short term vision for the development of places, changing land management, loss of sites from coastal erosion, inappropriate change, the need for renewable energy generation and carbon reduction and lack of traditional skills.

Key aspirations include making use of the historic environment to achieve economic and social regeneration.
Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee ( JNAPC) Code of Practice for Seabed Developers ( JNAPC 2008) Whilst voluntary, the JNAPC Code provides a framework that seabed developers can use in conducting their activities in an archaeologically sensitive manner.

A guidance note on protocols to deal with the marine historic environment has been developed specifically for the offshore renewable energy sector.
Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 Provides protection for designated wrecks and for the designation of dangerous sites.
The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (Commencement No. 3 and Consequential Provisions) Order 2013: Licensing (Marine) Protection Of Wrecks Section 1 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 has been repealed in Scotland and replaced by the historic Marine Protected Areas (Historic MPAs) designation for the purpose of preserving marine historic assets of national importance in Scottish territorial waters (0 – 12 nm).
Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 Provides for the protection of archaeological heritage, including the scheduling of 'monuments'. The Act, which is administered by Historic Scotland, primarily deals with terrestrial locations but there is provision to designate submarine sites.
Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 Identifies scope for protected places and controlled sites, covering vessels, reflecting the status of these sites as war graves.
The Marine Historic Environment Strategy for the protection, management and promotion of marine heritage 2012-15 Historic Scotland’s strategy has the vision to protect and, where appropriate, enhance the most important marine heritage assets in such a way that they can be valued, understood, and enjoyed.

It sets out priorities for protecting, managing and promoting Scotland’s outstanding marine heritage under the new marine legislation.

The aims of the Strategy are to:
  • Help to advance knowledge about marine heritage and make information widely available;
  • Improve stewardship of key marine heritage sites; and
  • Develop wider understanding and enjoyment of marine heritage.
The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site

Management Plan 2008 – 2013: Supplementary Guidance and Management Plan 2014 – 2019 (Consultation Draft)
Developed as a framework document for the preservation of the outstanding universal value of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site ( WHS), it sets out an overarching vision and long-term aims, issues and objectives for the period 2008–13 in terms of protecting, conserving, understanding, using, enjoying and managing the WHS.

The Consultation Draft for the 2014 -2019 Plan summarises the actions delivered from the 2008-13 Management Plan, outlines a vision and long term strategy for the site, identifies key issues for the 2014-19 Management Plan, and proposes aims and objectives to tackle these issues over the next five year period.
  • The Pilot Plan is intended to balance the needs of conservation, access, interests of the local community and sustainable economic development.
Draft Highland Historic Environment Strategy (2013) This Strategy has been prepared to ensure that the historic environment is taken into account during the design of future developments and to set a consistent approach to the protection of the historic environment. The draft guidance aims to ensure that future developments take account of the historic environment, and are of a design and quality to enhance the historic environment bringing both economic and social benefits.

It sets the following strategic priorities:
  • To protect, conserve, preserve, interpret and promote the historic environment, particularly those aspects that are characteristic of Highland and lend distinctiveness to the character of the local landscapes and townscapes.
  • To raise awareness of the historic environment and its full potential as a social, cultural and economic resource.
  • To raise the profile of the historic environment of Highland both within the Council and the wider community.
  • To encourage active participation by elected members, officers and the public in the protection, conservation and preservation of the historic environment within Highland.
  • To seek and secure funding from national sources to support conservation and regeneration within the historic environment.
  • As with those relating to biodiversity and natural heritage, national policy on cultural heritage and the historic environment emphasises the role of the environment in supporting sustainable economic growth in the PFOW area.
  • The Pilot Plan should take into account both the historic marine environment and that of coastal and terrestrial features with coastal components in the context of sustainable development and economic growth in the PFOW area.
  • The SA should consider the potential for impacts on cultural heritage features and the historic environment within the PFOW area associated with future development undertaken in the context of the Pilot Plan.
  • Key principles for managing change in the historic environment could also be applicable at a broader scale and present similar issues in other environmental topic areas. For example, policy relating to biodiversity and natural heritage, and landscape/seascape issues, amongst others.


Source Key environmental objectives
Landscapes, seascapes, marine geology and coastal processes
Council of Europe, European Landscape Convention (2000) States that landscapes across Europe make an important contribution to quality of life and cultural identity, but that they are being transformed as a result of a number of factors, including town planning, transport and infrastructure and the economy.

Requires Member States to develop more comprehensive frameworks to protect and enhance landscapes, including inland water and marine areas.

Emphasises the importance on non-designated landscapes in addition to those which are protected, and notes that that landscape has no boundaries and people are central to its management.

It highlights five key principles:
  • Our landscape – where people are involved in their management.
  • All landscape – recognising the importance of areas which are not formally designated, whether intact or degraded.
  • Changing landscapes – reflecting the continuous evolution of landscape and the need to manage change.
  • Understanding landscapes – the need to improve awareness of landscapes and their benefits.
  • Tomorrow’s landscapes – supporting a forward-looking approach that reflects past evolution of landscapes and shapes new ones.
Scotland’s Landscape Charter 2010 Produced by the Scottish Landscape Forum and SNH, the charter sets an agenda for landscape planning and management.

It reflects on the key principles of the European Landscape Convention and emphasises the need to maintain distinctiveness and sense of place within Scotland, whilst calling on the recognition of the importance of landscape in decision making.

Also encourages involvement of communities in managing landscape change, recognising the need for landscape expertise within planning, and raises awareness of the role of local and national designations in safeguarding landscapes.
The Natural Heritage Futures including Orkney and Northern Caithness ( SNH) / Orkney Landscape Character Assessment A suite of documents that were originally published in 2002 to guide the future management of Scotland’s natural heritage until 2025.

Updated in 2009, it identifies significant changes in policy drivers and/or legislative context, new mechanisms or changed priorities, and the implications that these have for the objectives and actions for the natural heritage.
SNH Natural Heritage Futures (Draft) 2008 Update: Coasts and Seas Provides baseline information and draws attention to particularly important issues, assets and changes in the coastal and marine environment. Includes the following key objectives:
  • Improved management, stewardship, awareness and understanding of marine ecosystems.
  • Managing the coast in sympathy with natural processes.
  • Safeguarding and enhancing the fine scenery and diverse character of coastal seascapes and landscapes.
  • Enhancing populations of over-exploited commercial fish species and ensure that fishing is sustainable.
  • Ensuring salmon fishing and other forms of aquaculture are environmentally sustainable.
  • Improving the water quality of estuaries and seas.
  • Promoting access to the sea and coast for public enjoyment and recreation.
  • The assessment should reflect the principles of the European Landscape Convention and underlying policies, particularly the ‘all landscape’ approach it promotes and recognition of the importance of landscape and seascapes to local communities.
  • The SEA should consider the potential for effects of the Pilot Plan on landscape and seascape quality and diversity. Such an assessment should however, go beyond a focus on protected areas such as national scenic areas ( NSAs) at the national scale to also consider other levels of recognition such as the identification of areas of wild land, national nature reserves, landscapes that contribute to sense of place more generally, and areas that would benefit from enhancement, amongst others.


Source Key environmental objectives
Communities, Population and Human Health
Bathing Water Directive 2006 (76/160/ EEC) While its purpose is to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment, it also aims to protect human health by reducing pollution of bathing waters.

Makes provision for identifying and monitoring bathing waters and requires the identification of acceptable quality standards based upon the presence of total and faecal coliforms and faecal streptococci.
Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 Part II protects the marine ecosystem and human health by controlling the deposit of articles or materials or scuttling of vessels in the sea or tidal waters.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 Sets out a new right of responsible access in Scotland, and made provisions for community right to buy.

Core paths are to be identified in each local authority area, promoting more widespread and functional walking, cycling and riding and thereby supporting improved levels of physical activity.
Orkney Outdoor Access Strategy (2006) Provides a framework to guide the development and management of outdoor access throughout the islands.

The Strategy identifies the following key aims:
  • To provide a co-ordinated, actively promoted and well maintained network of paths.
  • To provide a range of access opportunities suitable for different user groups and people of all abilities which are safe, welcoming and enjoyable.
  • To work with land managers to achieve a balance between the needs of access users and the needs of those living and working on the land.
  • To ensure that local communities, land managers, access user groups and partner organisations are involved in the development of access in Orkney.
  • To promote responsible behaviour in the countryside, through education and information.
Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code (2005) Sets out a code of conduct for recreational operators and marine users that actively watch marine wildlife.

Whilst not a regulatory instrument, the Code aims to minimise disturbance to marine wildlife.
The Orkney Core Paths Plan, (2009)

The Caithness Core Paths Plan (2008)

The Sutherland Core Paths Plan (2008)
Identifies a framework of paths that provide local residents and visitors reasonable access throughout Orkney. The framework of routes links to and supports wider networks of other paths.

Provides guidance for local people and visitors for general access and recreation and links to the wider path network throughout the Highland Council area. Many of the routes covered feature key coastal elements.

The Caithness and Sutherland Plans also contribute towards the achievement of a number of the Council's priorities for action, including:
  • Health improvement in the Highlands.
  • Encouraging “walk to school” pathways and safe cycle tracks.
  • Increasing the standard of living in the Highlands.
  • Adopting national standards of community engagement.
Many of the region’s core paths outlined in the three plans follow coastal routes.
Scottish Ferry Services: Ferries Plan (2013-2022) The Plan:
  • Presents a shared vision and outcomes for lifeline ferry services in Scotland, in the context of the Government’s Purpose, Economic Strategy and National Transport Strategy.
  • Analyses the current lifeline ferry services and network, identifying how well it meets the proposed outcomes and how it links to the rest of Scotland’s transport network.
  • Informs the Scottish Government’s long-term plan for lifeline ferry services in Scotland and influence the next round of procurement of ferry services.
  • Identifies policies to be taken forward to deliver the long term plan, including the planned investment framework.
It makes immediate (short-term) proposals and those for the way forward, particularly for ferry services in the west of Scotland.

Discusses options for a range of topics including funding of services and port and harbour facilities, competition, replacement of vessels, and advancement of deployment options for services to the Northern Isles in advance of the current agreement, amongst many others.
Europe 2020: Scottish National Reform Programme 2014 Sets out the actions being undertaken in Scotland to support delivery of the ambitions of Europe 2020, and sets out five key targets for the EU to achieve by the end of the decade. These targets relate to employment; education; research and innovation; social inclusion and poverty reduction; and climate/energy.

The report sets out actions being pursued in Scotland to support delivery of these ambitions.

The Scottish Government is supportive of the ambitions and priorities of Europe 2020 and there is also a significant degree of commonality between Europe 2020 and our Government Economic Strategy ( GES).
  • There are numerous ongoing commitments to improving mental and physical health and wellbeing.
  • The Pilot Plan could contribute to these through promoting key assets such a core paths, considering coastal and marine recreation, ensuring safe environments in the PFOW area and contributing to improving the wellbeing of local communities and delivery of sustainable economic benefits (e.g. employment opportunities).
  • The SEA should inform the Pilot Plan through exploring the extent to which these objectives are being met, and explore potential access issues associated with future development within the PFOW area.


Source Key environmental objectives
IMO International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 ( MARPOL) Aims to prevent marine pollution from ships and in part from oil rigs and production platforms.

It includes annexes covering pollution by oil, noxious liquids, harmful substances, sewage, garbage and air pollution.

Recent changes focus on reducing the sulphur content and particulate emissions from fuel in the shipping sector.
International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990 Provides a framework for international co-operation in combating major incidents or threats of marine pollution.
London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972 (as amended) Prohibits the dumping of certain hazardous materials in the marine environment, requiring a prior special permit for the dumping of some other wastes, and a prior general permit for other wastes or materials.

It also creates a basis in international law to allow and regulate carbon capture and storage ( CCS) in sub-seabed geological formations.
Water Framework Directive (2000/60/ EC) ( WFD) Provides an overarching strategy, including a requirement for EU Member States to ensure that they achieve ‘good ecological status’ of all water bodies by 2015, including marine waters up to one nautical mile from shore.

River Basin Management Plans ( RBMPs) were defined as a key means of achieving this.

While the recent Marine Strategy Directive ( MSD) extends coverage of coastal waters beyond 3 nm, Good Chemical Status already applies beyond this limit.

The Directive was transposed into Scots law by the Water Environment and Water Services ( WEWS) (Scotland) Act 2003 (see below).
Bathing Water Directive (76/160/ EEC) Aims to protect reduce pollution of bathing waters.

Makes provision for identifying and monitoring bathing waters and requires the identification of acceptable quality standards based upon the presence of total and faecal coliforms and faecal streptococci.
The EC Directive 2006/113/ EEC on the quality required of shellfish waters Sets out objectives to ensure a high water quality standard for shellfish waters, including setting ‘mandatory’ and ‘guideline’ standards for faecal coliforms in shellfish in designated waters.
EU Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/ EC – replaces 2006/12/ EC on waste, 91/689/ EEC on hazardous waste and 75/439/ EEC on waste oils) Establishes a framework for the management of waste across the European Community.

Requires all member states to take the necessary measures to ensure waste prevention firstly, and that waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering human health or causing harm to the environment.

It also includes permitting, registration and inspection, while the Directive's overarching requirements are supplemented by other Directive's for other waste streams.
Merchant Shipping Act 1995 and the Merchant Shipping Regulations 2009 Includes general provisions for merchant shipping, seamen, and safety.

Part VI focuses on prevention of pollution, including oil pollution, and sets out responsibilities and liabilities, covers international incidents, and addresses other issues such as lighthouses, salvage and wrecks.

Made under sections of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, the regulations enhance marine protection through stricter regulation of pollution from ships, including requirements such as provision of information to a UK harbour prior to arrival, and charging for reception facilities by harbour authorities and terminal operators, amongst others.
Environmental Protection Act 1990 Addresses pollution control and waste management, whilst also detailing legislation on litter, radioactive substances and genetically modified organisms, amongst others.

Pollution at sea is specifically controlled via this act.
Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008 Implements the Bathing Waters Directive (76/160/ EC) and aims to protect the public and the environment from pollution of waters used for bathing by large numbers of visitors.

Requires making information on bathing water quality public and sets standards to be met by 2015.
Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations 2009 Covers incidents of significant damage to biodiversity, water or land.

In accordance with the European Environmental Liability Directive (2004/35/ EC), the regulations aim to apply the polluter-pays-principle by requiring restoration in such instances.
The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 Sets out the process by which activities that have the potential to affect Scotland’s water environment are regulated.

Authorisation under the Controlled Activities Regulations ( CAR) is required for discharging to waters, including disposal of pollutants to land, water abstractions, impoundments and engineering works that affect water bodies.
Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 and 2012 Implements Council Directive 96/61/ EC (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) and regulates industrial and commercial activities that may cause environmental pollution.

Aims to prevent and control emissions that are capable of causing pollution.
Scottish Executive Environment Group (2002) Scotland’s Bathing Waters A Strategy for Improvement Aims to reduce water pollution in order to specifically improve bathing water catchments.

Measures include changes to agricultural practices to address diffuse pollution, ensuring compliance with controls of industrial discharges, and making more use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems ( SUDS).
Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 Provides a framework aimed at managing the competing demands on Scotland's seas.

The main measures include:
  • A new statutory marine planning system to sustainably manage the increasing demands on Scottish waters.
  • A simpler marine licensing system.
  • Improved marine nature and historic conservation with new powers to protect and manage areas of importance.
  • Improved protection for seals and a new comprehensive licence system to ensure appropriate management when necessary.
  • A range of enhanced powers of marine conservation and licensing.
Water Environment and Water Services ( WEWS) (Scotland) Act 2003 The Act takes forward the provisions of the Water Framework Directive.

Sets out the systems for developing RBMPs in Scotland, aiming to improve the environmental status of water bodies, and reduce adverse impacts on the water environment as a whole.
Water Resources (Scotland) Act 2013 Makes provision for the development of water resources in Scotland.

Sets out responsibilities of Scottish Water and Scottish Ministers, placing duties on both in relation Scotland’s water resources.

Its key elements relate to water abstraction, management of water quality at the catchment level, and improving efficiency in water and sewerage services.
The Scotland River Basin Management Plan (2009-2015) SEPA co-ordinates the development, review and implementation of River Basin Management Plans, working in partnership with other authorities.

Notes that while many of Scotland’s water bodies are already of a high quality, around 35% are under significant pressure from human activity and are not in good condition.

The RBMP notes the importance of the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005, in taking forward measures to address identified pressures, including activities that could lead to pollution, water abstraction, water impoundment and engineering activities. With regard to planning, issues such as sewage disposal, drinking water supplies, hydropower and urban land uses and flood protection are noted as pressures on the water environment.
Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 Replaces the Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act 1961 and introduces a more sustainable and modern approach to flood risk management, taking into account the impact of climate change and improved management processes.

Creates a more joined up and coordinated process to manage flood risk at a national and local level, and sets out responsibility to provide flood warnings.

Provides emphasis on assessing flood risk from a range of sources, using a plan-led approach to identify the most sustainable objectives and measures to manage flood risk. The main measures include:
  • A framework for coordination and cooperation between all organisations involved in flood risk management.
  • Assessment of flood risk and preparation of flood risk management plans.
  • New responsibilities for SEPA, Scottish Water and local authorities in relation to flood risk management.
  • A revised, streamlined process for flood protection schemes.
  • New methods to enable stakeholders and the public to contribute to managing flood risk.
  • A single enforcement authority for the safe operation of Scotland's reservoirs.
The Surface Waters (Shellfish) (Classification) (Scotland) Regulations 1997, related Amendment 2007

The Water Environment (Shellfish Water Protected Areas: Designation) (Scotland) Order 2013
Sets out objectives to ensure a high water quality standard for shellfish waters, including setting ‘mandatory’ and ‘guideline’ standards for faecal coliforms in shellfish in designated waters.

The 2013 order details the designation of 84 shellfish water areas in Scotland.
Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan (2010) Aims to achieve a significant shift in the way our waste is managed, focused on key measures such as waste prevention, reducing landfill, improving management and contributing to renewable energy.

Sets out the Scottish Government's vision for a zero waste society with the following aims:
  • All waste is seen as a resource.
  • Waste is minimised.
  • Valuable resources are not disposed of in landfills.
  • Most waste is sorted, leaving only limited amounts to be treated.
National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution From Shipping and Offshore Installations (2006) and Consultation Draft (2014)

Orkney Oil Spill Contingency Plan and Environmental Database

Highland Council Oil Pollution Contingency Plan
Developed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency ( MCA) the plan outlines roles and responsibilities during an emergency; the legal basis under the Merchant Shipping and Maritime Security Act 1997, Marine Safety Act 2003, pollution prevention Control Act 1999 and Offshore Installations (Emergency Pollution Control) Regulations 2002 for the plan; information requirements during and after an incident; and operational aspects of responding to an emergency.

The 2014 Consultation Draft takes this forward, and sets out the arrangements for dealing with pollution, or the threat of pollution, spilled from ships and offshore installations. It also sets out the responsibilities of the Department for Transport, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, harbour authorities, offshore installations operators and other bodies with relevant functions.

Plans have also been developed by the Orkney Islands Council, initially for Scapa Flow and Flotta Oil Terminal, and extended to cover the whole of Orkney. The Orkney Islands Plan includes a computer database system for recording biological information, logistical information such as beach access options and recommended response options, based on the Ordnance Survey 1 kilometer grid squares for the entire coastline of Orkney.

The aim of the Highland Council Plan, designed to conform to The National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations ( NCP), is to provide the means, mechanism and structure for Highland Council to respond rapidly and effectively to oil pollution threatening the region’s coastline.
National and Marine Litter Strategies (2013) The Strategies aim to address the levels of litter present in the terrestrial, coastal and marine environments, seeking to maximise opportunities and minimise threats.

Are a delivery mechanism for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which includes an outcome for marine litter in the Good Environmental Status descriptors, and incorporates activities and actions that are already underway, and sets out:
  • A proposed vision.
  • Five proposed strategic objectives/directions.
  • An outline of the existing actions and possible actions to deliver the strategic objectives.
  • Options for delivery of the strategy.
The draft National Litter Strategy contains:
  • A proposed vision and mission statement.
  • Proposed values including key values for safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and personal and shared responsibility.
  • Proposed objectives building on the vision and mission statement, and setting the context for strategic directions and actions.
  • Proposed strategic directions and supporting actions.
  • The Pilot Plan will have a key role to play in helping to ensure that the targets such as those set by the WFD and Scotland’s RBMP are met, with support from the SEA. The Plan should highlight those areas which are currently designated as shellfish growing waters and bathing waters, and should outline the rationale underpinning these designations.
  • These policies, plans and their environmental objectives emphasise the inter-relationships between marine waters, coastal waters, rivers and soils in relation to water quality. The SA could explore these relationships, including the integrated and consistent management of terrestrial and marine areas in the context of the Pilot Plan and the specific interests in this area (e.g. the importance of the PFOW area for renewable energy investment, fisheries, aquaculture).


Source Key environmental objectives
Soil, marine geology and coastal processes
Water Framework Directive 2000/60/ EC Provides a hydromorphological element to maintaining and improving the ecological status of water bodies. It focuses on factors such as water flow, sediment composition and movement, continuity in rivers and the structure of physical habitats.

To achieve High Ecological Status, the Directive requires that the hydromorphological quality elements are in place. While for lower classes, it is considered a supporting element of the biological, and in some cases physio-chemical status, and should therefore be taken into account.

As for water quality, River Basin Management Plans ( RBMPs) were defined as a key means of achieving this.
Scottish Soil Framework 2009 Provides an overarching policy framework for protection of soils in Scotland, in line with European Directive.

Relates largely to the onshore environment, but this includes coastal areas and the principles are applicable more widely.
Climate Change Adaptation Framework – Water Environment and Resource Sector Action Plan (2012) Identifies flooding and the effects of climate change as pressures on coastlines, and the links between soil, water and biodiversity.

Focuses on actions to reduce flood risk, but is also relevant for coastal and transitional waters.
  • The Pilot Plan and this SA should reflect the principles of the Scottish Soil framework, whilst also considering links to related objectives and pressures in other topic areas (e.g. the potential for future implications associated with the effects of climate change).
  • Coastal planning emphasises the importance of integrated management of these areas, whilst the emerging National Marine Plan requires a consistent approach with terrestrial planning. The Pilot Plan and its SEA could explore this further in the context of coastal and marine geology, and coastal processes.
  • The SA should explore the potential effects of the Pilot Plan and associated developments at the strategic level on marine and coastal geology, including the need to ensure the Plan is ‘future-proof’, and could investigate the potential for secondary effects.


Source Key environmental objectives
Material assets / Economic
The Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy 2011 Reaffirms the Scottish Government's commitment to delivering faster sustainable economic growth with opportunities for all to flourish, focusing actions on six Strategic Priorities to drive sustainable economic growth and develop a more resilient and adaptable economy:
  • Supportive Business Environment.
  • Learning, Skills and Well-being.
  • Effective Government.
  • Transition to a Low Carbon Economy.
  • Infrastructure, Development and Place.
  • Equity.
The Scottish Government’s Infrastructure Investment Plan 2011 and the 2013 Update Provides an overview of the Scottish Government’s plans for infrastructure investment over the coming decades. It outlines how infrastructure investment contributes to each of the six Strategic Priorities identified by the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy 2011.

It focuses on the fifth priority (Infrastructure, Development and Place) by setting out how Scotland will invest resources in planning and place and in economic and social infrastructure to grow the economy and generate new jobs.

It outlines that the Infrastructure Investment Board has broken down the purpose into four prioritisation criteria, and each new investment proposal is considered against four criteria:
  • Delivering sustainable economic growth.
  • Managing the transition to a low carbon economy.
  • Supporting delivery of efficient and high quality public services.
  • Supporting employment and opportunity across Scotland.
  • The 2013 update focuses on achievements since 2011 and provides updated details on the programmes and projects which form part of the Scottish Government’s investment plan. The update includes three separate documents:
  • A progress report providing commentary on activity since the 2011 plan was published and a summary of future plans in each sector.
  • A programme pipeline providing details of the 30 major investment programmes that are underway, or planned.
  • A project pipeline providing details of 103 individual projects that are underway, or planned.
Conserve and Save: Energy Efficiency Action Plan (2010) Sets out a wide-ranging programme of activity on behaviour change, household, business and public sector energy efficiency, infrastructure, skills, and finance.

Aims to achieve a step-change reduction in energy use, alongside other strategies that focus on low carbon generation.

Takes forward the overarching target of reducing final energy consumption by 12% by 2020, and provides a framework for monitoring progress.
Electricity Generation Policy Statement (2013) Identifies changes required to meet this target, by considering the generating mix as a whole, aiming to balance issues including security of supply, affordability, economic benefit and community ownership.

Constructed around a number of relevant targets and related requirements:
  • Delivering the equivalent of at least 100% of gross electricity consumption from renewables by 2020 as part of a wider, balanced electricity mix, with thermal generation playing an important role though a minimum of 2.5 GW of thermal generation progressively fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage ( CCS).
  • Enabling local and community ownership of at least 500 MW of renewable energy by 2020.
  • Lowering final energy consumption in Scotland by 12%.
  • Demonstrating carbon capture and storage ( CCS) at commercial scale in Scotland by 2020, with full retrofit across conventional power stations thereafter by 2025-30.
  • Seeking increased interconnection and transmission upgrades capable of supporting projected growth in renewable capacity.
National Renewables Infrastructure Plan ( NRIP) (Stages 1 and 2)

Wave and Tidal National Renewables Infrastructure Plan ( NRIP) (2014)
Aims to ensure that infrastructure development takes place to realise the opportunities arising from renewable energy development.

Focuses on offshore renewable energy, noting the significant potential for investment arising from offshore wind, wave and tidal projects.

Together, the phased approach identified a range of sites for offshore wind, wave and tidal activities in the medium to long term; involving working with industry and port owners is underway.
2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland (2011) An update and extension to the Scottish Renewables Action Plan 2009, the Routemap sets out a range of targets, as referred to in the Electricity Generation Policy Statement, including:
  • 100% of electricity demand equivalent from renewables by 2020.
  • 11% of heat demand from renewables by 2020.
  • At least 30% of overall energy demand from renewables by 2020 (covering heat, transport and electricity).
  • A 500 MW target for community and locally owned renewable energy by 2020.
Explains the potential contribution of different sectors to achieving these targets, including onshore and offshore renewable energy technologies which are identified as playing an important role. Adds that innovation and investment in this sector is strongly supported.

Notes the rolling out of heat energy ambitions, including the rolling out of heat mapping, building on research on waste heat from fossil fuel power stations, and further work on district heating, amongst others.

Notes that new strategies for agri-renewables and microgeneration will also be developed.
Blue Seas Green Energy (2011) Sets out plans for offshore wind energy development in Scottish Territorial Waters, reflecting the significant potential for marine renewable energy throughout Scottish Waters.

Contains proposals for development at the regional level up to 2020, 2030 and into the longer term.

Set out a number of areas for offshore wind energy development including six ‘sites’ for development in the short term, and around 25 further ‘areas of search’ for consideration in the medium to longer term.

Contained commitments to further research, data collection, stakeholder engagement, monitoring to accompany this programme of development, and made a commitment to a 2 year review period reflecting the fast pace of change within the offshore renewable sector.

Was based on the following strategic aims:
  • Maximise the contribution that offshore wind energy makes to renewable energy generation in Scotland.
  • Maximise opportunities for economic development, investment and employment.
  • Minimise adverse effects on people, other economic sectors and the environment.
  • Deliver offshore wind while complementing other forms of marine energy generation.
Planning Scotland’s Seas Offshore Renewable Energy Draft Plans (2013) and due for finalisation in 2015 Takes forward the aims of Blue Seas Green Energy and together, the plans set out a series of include option areas which will help to steer offshore renewables developers (wind, wave and tidal) towards suitable areas for planning projects to go through a marine licensing process.

Identified 10 option areas for offshore wind, eight for wave and 10 for tidal energy.

Informed by a Sustainability Appraisal, exploring potential impacts of development opportunities and was open to public consultation.

The finalised plans are expected to be published in 2015.
Electricity Act 1989 Provides the legislative background within which the energy sector functions.

Sets out the framework within which applications for marine energy development should seek consent, and the related regulations define EIA responsibilities.
Energy Act 2004 and associated Commencement Orders Covers the civil nuclear industry, sustainability and renewable energy sources including both on and offshore developments.

Aims to achieve diversification of supply in favour of renewable sources and augments the system for determining developments within territorial waters.

Provides the Crown Estate with rights to license the generation of renewable energy and grant leases for development sites out to 200 nm.
A Sustainable Energy Strategy for Orkney (2009) Is a non-statutory document that is closely linked to a number of statutory strategies and plans.

Sets out Orkney Islands Council’s strategy and objectives in relation to renewable energy.
Highland Renewable Energy Strategy and Planning Guidelines (2006) Prepared as Supplementary Guidance to the policies of Highland Structure Plan.

Identifies the capacity in the Highlands for a range of renewable energy targets and provide locational guidance and support economic development.
Environmental and Clean Technologies Action Plan (2010) Sets out the long-term approach for the development of Environmental Clean Technologies ( ECT) in Scotland providing more efficient and co-ordinated public sector collaboration, and support to stakeholders working on the development of new projects and technology options throughout Scotland.

Partner organisations including SEPA, HIE, SE and SFC are signed up to this approach, and it has received endorsement by the Scottish Government.

Seeks to achieve 6 key deliverables:
  • Establish the necessary partnership framework to manage, develop and deliver Scotland’s ECT Strategy.
  • Map out existing partnerships, projects, support organisations and secured/available sources of funding for ECT projects in Scotland to improve understanding of the scale and nature of Environmental and Low Carbon activities across Scotland.
  • Identify and consider the options to develop an inter-agency workflow management system to facilitate improved partnership working and the flow of essential sector development information and knowledge transfer.
  • Map out existing industry sector/public agency information and support portals and either integrate with or create a specific Scottish ECT web portal to act as a “one-stop-shop” for all stakeholders to support the establishment of new partnerships and projects, transfer of knowledge and advice, source funding opportunities and learn from other Scottish, UK and International experiences.
  • Publish an ECT Communications Plan to ensure consistent and understandable messages to stakeholders, and co-ordinated methods for ongoing promotion, awareness raising, training and capacity building.
  • Publish a long term approach to establishing an ECT industry in Scotland, identifying the long term Economic, Environmental and Knowledge-Base outcomes for delivery and indicators for success, and secure the necessary resources for delivery.
National Transport Strategy (2006) Sets the long term vision for our transport policies and aims to promote economic growth by building, enhancing managing and maintaining transport services, infrastructure and networks to maximise their efficiency.

Its key themes include connecting remote and disadvantaged communities, increasing accessibility, protecting the environment and improving health through investment in public transport, improving safety and integrating different modes of transport.

Introduced three Key Strategic Outcomes, which are to:
  • Improve journey times and connections between our cities and towns and our global markets to tackle congestion and provide access to key markets.
  • Reduce emissions to tackle climate change.
  • Improve quality, accessibility and affordability of transport, to give people the choice of public transport and real alternatives to the car.
These outcomes feed directly into the five overarching Strategic Objectives for the Scottish Government, providing a basis for developing policies in the transport sector.
OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic

Requires the Contracting Parties to the Convention to report on what they have done to implement their obligations and commitments, and the OSPAR Commission to evaluate what has been achieved and make decisions and recommendations for subsequent actions. OSPAR aims to progressively reduce discharges offshore to close to zero by 2020.

These measures are complemented by agreements setting out:
  • Issues of importance.
  • Agreed monitoring programmes, information collection and other work to be undertaken by the Contracting Parties.
  • Guidance setting out how programmes or measures should be implemented.
  • Actions to be taken by the OSPAR Commission on behalf of the Contracting Parties.
Strategic Framework for Inshore Fisheries (2006) and Inshore Fisheries Management Plans for the Moray Firth and North Coast (2011) The Framework details that high level objectives for inshore fisheries to be set at a national level, including that for the overall general vision and aspirations for Scottish inshore fisheries, including:
  • Biological – to conserve, enhance and restore commercial stocks and supporting ecosystems in inshore areas.
  • Economic – to optimise long term sustained economic returns to communities dependent on inshore fisheries and to promote quality initiatives.
  • Environmental – to maintain and restore the inshore marine environment for fisheries and wildlife.
  • Social – to recognise historical fishing practices and traditional ways of managing inshore fisheries, to manage changes and interact positively with other activities.
  • Governance – to develop and maintain a transparent accountable and flexible management structure, placing fishermen at the centre of decision making, underpinned by adequate understanding of fisheries interactions and enforcement mechanisms.
Establishment of a network of Inshore Fisheries Groups covering all Scottish inshore waters to develop local objectives, complementing these the high level objectives and reflecting the priorities and circumstances of different areas.

Includes the development of local management plans to deliver these objectives, including for the PFOW area.
A Fresh Start: The renewed Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture (2009) ( SFSA) The Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture ( SFSA) is based on three guiding principles: economic; environmental; and social.

Acts as the main policy instrument to deliver a diverse, competitive but sustainable aquaculture industry in Scotland and provides a set of parameters within which industry can balance socio-economic benefits against environmental impact.
Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 Allows for the Salmon Conservation Regulations to be made where it is considered necessary to do so for the conservation of salmon (e.g. relating to fishing in the sea, estuaries or rivers).
Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Acts 2007 and 2013 Covers fish farms and shellfish farms, and refers to operational issues and covers both freshwater and sea fisheries.

Details payments relating to aquaculture and fisheries, including additional powers and penalty charges.
Wildlife and Natural Environment Act 2011 ( WANE) Amended a number of other pieces of legislation including the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996.

Modernises existing laws and introduces new wildlife offences (including vicarious liability), creates a new regime for regulating invasive and non-native species, makes changes to the licensing system for protected species, and makes operational changes to the management of Sites of Special Scientific Interest ( SSSI), amongst others.
EU Common Fisheries Policy (Reform agreed June 2013) Sets how much fish each Member State is allowed to catch, but the conditions under which it must be caught including the type of net used, how long vessels have to catch the fish and the sizes of fish that can be landed.

Priorities include:
  • Sustainable fishing – recognising the need to rebuild depleted stocks and maintain stocks at sustainable levels with a combination of Multi-Annual Management Plans ( MAPs) and total allowable catches ( TACs) set at sustainable exploitation rates for all harvested stocks helping to achieve this.
  • Landing Obligation – requiring fishing vessels to gradually land all they catch, starting in January 2015 and ending in 2019 when all catches of all TAC regulated species must be landed.
  • Regionalisation – allowing Member states to form regional groupings which will develop management plans and implement measures appropriate for their fisheries in order to achieve high level goals.
  • Protecting Historic Fishing Rights – National governments retaining flexibility to manage fishing quota and fishing opportunities to best fit their own circumstances.
  • Integration with other marine environment policies – setting out a clear process for Member States to agree on the management of the marine environment.
Draft Tourism Development Plan for Scotland … delivering the visitor economy (2013) Will aim to help to co-ordinate and deliver future growth in the visitor economy and aims to help define a more proactive and co-ordinated approach to assist stakeholders in the tourism sector to engage with the development plan system whilst helping to secure future opportunities.

The Plan’s remit will be to focus on development matters, and therefore it does not address operational matters in the sector (e.g. service, skills, training, quality, etc.).

Once published, it will be reviewed and updated on a three year cycle, monitoring progress and achievements, and informing future updates to ensure progress in growing the visitor economy is taken into account.

If adopted, it will provide a framework to inform and develop a series of Action Plans for Investment for local authorities, whilst continuing to improve coordination and action at a national level.
National Planning Framework 3 ( NPF3) 2014 The NPF3 sets the context for development planning in Scotland and provides a framework for the spatial development of Scotland as a whole.

It sets out the Government’s development priorities over the next 20-30 years and identifies national developments which support the development strategy.
National Marine Plan 2015 Is a five-year plan which sets out a national level framework for the management of Scotland’s marine environment. Its purpose is to assist in managing increasing demand for the use of Scotland’s marine environment, encourage the economic development of marine industries and incorporate environmental protection and social considerations into marine decision-making.

It aims to achieve the Scottish Government’s vision for the marine environment of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas, managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people, by delivering strategic objectives that will:
  • Achieve a sustainable economy.
  • Ensure a strong, healthy and just society.
  • Respect environmental limits.
  • Promote good governance.
  • Use sound science responsibly.
It brings together existing national-level policy on the marine environment, provides new policy where this is required at the national level, sets the policy framework for regional marine plans and provides direction to marine and terrestrial decision-makers.

The Plan contains:
  • The vision for the marine environment, set out in Marine Scotland’s marine vision and agreed at the UK level in the Marine Policy Statement.
  • The objectives for the draft plan based on the Scottish Government’s national objectives, the High Level Marine Objectives; the criteria for ‘good environmental status’ under the MSFD; and the climate change objectives set out in the relevant legislation, sector-specific objectives and policies.
  • Cross cutting policies focusing on sustainable economic growth, sustainable development, communities, decision-making, engagement, and the environment.
  • Sector-specific objectives and policies supporting the economic growth of a sector, managing conflicts between marine users or managing particular environmental impacts for a range of sectors.
Scottish Planning Policy ( SPP) 2014 Scottish Planning Policy is a statement of Scottish Government policy on how nationally important land use planning matters should be addressed across the country.

It sets out national planning policies which reflect Scottish Ministers’ priorities for operation of the planning system and for the development and use of land in Scotland.

It promotes consistency in the application of policy across Scotland whilst allowing sufficient flexibility to reflect local circumstances, and relates directly to the preparation of development plans, the design of development from initial concept through to delivery, and the determination of planning applications and appeals.
Community Empowerment Bill 2014 The Bill reflects the policy principles of subsidiarity, community empowerment and improving outcomes and provides a framework to empower community bodies through the ownership of land and buildings and strengthening their voices in the decisions that matter to them; and to support an increase in the pace and scale of public service reform by cementing the focus on achieving outcomes and improving the process of community planning.

It outlines a number of provisions including placing community planning partnerships on a statutory footing and imposes duties on them around the planning and delivery of local outcomes, and provides a mechanism for communities to have a more proactive role in having their voices heard in how services are planned and delivered, amongst others.
  • These policies, plans and strategies set out a number of objectives of relevance to the Pilot Plan and its environmental assessment.
  • Many of the aims and objectives around material assets focus on improving transport infrastructure and services, reducing waste and promoting the waste hierarchy, with underpinning themes that seek to reduce emissions and shift towards a low carbon energy mix.
  • These objectives also have a strong economic focus, supporting the many sectors that use the marine and coastal environments, but are also linked with opportunities for improving efficiencies and making the best use of resources, while also creating stronger and more resilient communities and environments.
  • The SA should explore the extent to which these broader goals and ambitions aim could be incorporated or promoted through the Pilot Plan, whilst also seeking to optimise their performance in relation to wider environmental aims and objectives.


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