Pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan

This Plan is a pilot process undertaken by a working group consisting of Marine Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council in advance of statutory regional marine planning.


Activities: Include current or future use that is covered by a public right of use (e.g. navigation, rights of access) or use that requires a specific statutory consent from a competent authority (e.g. dredging). The term activities also includes any other legitimate use that is not specifically addressed by a public right, e.g. recreational activities such as surfing, open water swimming etc.

Amenity: A positive element or elements that contribute to the overall character or enjoyment of an area.

Amenity Value: The pleasant or satisfactory aspects of a location which contribute to its character and the overall enjoyment of residents or visitors.

Anchorage: Those anchorages marked on Admiralty charts and those listed in the Clyde Cruising Club Sailing Directions and the Anchorages N & NE Scotland and Orkney Islands.

Appropriate Assessment: The assessment that is required by Habitats Regulations (Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994) to determine the potential effect of a project or plan on a Special Protected Area or Special Area of Conservation with respect to their qualifying interests.

Aquaculture: The breeding, rearing or keeping of fish or shellfish as legally defined in the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

Biodiversity: The variability among living organisms from all sources including inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they form part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Biosecurity: Measures and procedures to reduce the risk of harm to an environment from a biological source.

Carbon Capture and Storage: The process in which carbon is captured at its emission source and stored.

Carbon Sinks: A natural environment viewed in terms of its ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it, e.g. a forest.

Coastal Squeeze: The intertidal habitat loss arising due to the high water mark being fixed (e.g. by flood defences) and the low water mark migrating landwards due to sea level rise.

Conservation Areas: Areas of special architectural or historic interest identified by the planning authority. They may be any area, but tend to be the centres of historic settlements.

Controlled Sites: Created by the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (as amended). Controlled sites are areas around wrecked military vessels specified in the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (Designation of Vessels and Controlled Sites) Order 2012. A licence is required from the Ministry of Defence to access the seabed within the specified area, and to disturb the remains in any way.

Cumulative Impacts: Changes to the environment that are caused by an action in combination with other past, present and future human actions.

Decarbonisation: The reduction in carbon emissions produced by energy sources.

DECC : Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Development(s): Are defined as construction that requires a specific form of statutory consent from a competent authority to utilise a defined area. This can include new developments or alterations, extensions or changes in material use to existing developments that require a statutory consent. The definition of development for purposes of this Plan includes but is not limited to the definition provided under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as amended by the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006.

Diadromous Fish: A species of fish that migrates between fresh and salt water.

Dredging: The removal of material from the seabed, for a variety of purposes, including the clearing of channels for navigation, or the extraction of minerals.

Ecological Integrity: The abundance and diversity of organisms and processes responsible for ecosystem resilience and biological diversity.

Ecosystem: A dynamic interlinked complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit. An ecosystem can range in size, e.g. from the size of an intertidal pool to the size of the Earth's oceans.

Ecosystem Approach: An ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities means an approach which ensures the collective pressure of human activities is kept within the levels compatible with the achievement of good environmental status; that does not compromise the capacity of marine ecosystems to respond to human induced changes; and that enables the sustainable use of marine goods and services.

Ecosystem Services: Ecosystem services are the benefits provided by ecosystems that contribute to making human life both possible and worth living.

EMEC : European Marine Energy Centre, based in Orkney.

Environmental Impact Assessment ( EIA): An assessment of a specific development and its impacts on the surrounding environment.

EU Birds Directive: EU Directive 79/409/ EEC on the Conservation of Wild Birds, as amended.

EU Habitats Directive: EU Directive 92/43/ EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Flora and Fauna, as amended.

EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive ( MSFD): EU Directive 2008/56/ EC on establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy, known as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

EU Water Frameworks Directive ( WFD): EU Directive 2000/60/ EC establishing a framework for community action in the field of water policy.

European Protected Species ( EPS): Plant and animal species listed under Schedules 2 and 4 of the Habitats Regulations 1994.

FLOWW : Fishing Liaison with Offshore Wind and Wet Renewables.

Gardens and Designed Landscapes: Defined as "grounds that are consciously laid out for artistic effect", and typically surround large historic country houses.

Geodiversity: The variety of geological environments, phenomena and processes that make those landscapes, rocks, minerals and soils, which, in turn, provide the framework for biodiversity.

Geological Conservation Review Sites: Sites identified by the geological conservation review as providing a special understanding or appreciation of the geological history and Earth science of Britain.

Good Environmental Status ( GES): Descriptors set by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive which describe what the environment will look like when Good Environmental Status has been achieved.

Greenhouse Gases: Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation. Carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons are examples of greenhouse gases.

Heritage Asset: A site with archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic significance.

Historic Marine Protected Areas ( HMPAs): Created by the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 to replace the provisions of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. Generally only for territorial waters adjacent to Scotland, but areas above mean high water springs can be included in certain circumstances.

Inshore Waters: Term used generally to describe all waters within 12 nautical miles of the coast.

Intertidal: The coastal area between the mean high water level and the mean low water level.

Intrinsic Value: The value of biodiversity, independent from the benefits it provides to humanity.

Invasive Non-Native Species: Animals or plants that have the ability to spread, causing damage to the environment, the economy, or our health and the way we live. A non-native species is a species, subspecies or lower taxon, introduced outside its natural past or present distribution.

JNCC : Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

KIS - ORCA: Kingfisher Information Service - Offshore Renewables Cable Awareness.

Landscape: The visible features of an area of land, often considered in terms of the aesthetic appeal of the area.

Listed Buildings: Any structure in a planning authority area (above mean low water springs), but are generally those structures which are in use or capable of re-use.

Local Development Plan ( LDP): An in-depth land use plan produced by local planning authorities, e.g. Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council.

Local Nature Reserves ( LNRs): Protected areas with biological or geological features that are of special local interest.

Marine Licence: A licence for a a 'licensable marine activity' under Part 4 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.

Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs): Sites designated in accordance with the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 for the purposes of protecting biodiversity, geodiversity and historical assets. It may also be used in the generic sense as 'marine protected areas' to refer to any designated area that contributes to the MPA network in Scotland's seas.

( UK) Marine Policy Statement: The Marine Policy Statement ( MPS) is the framework for preparing marine plans and taking decisions affecting the marine environment.

Marine Spatial Planning: A process to consider multiple users of the sea to minimise conflicts and to ensure that marine ecosystems are adequately protected.

Marine users: Refers to the broad range of legitimate users of the marine environment for purposes such as, but not limited to, recreation, fishing, shipping, passenger transport and other economic activities.

Mean High Water Springs: The highest water level that spring tides reach (on average).

Mean Low Water Springs: The lowest water level that the spring tide reaches (on average).

Mitigation: The action of reducing the severity or seriousness of a consequence.

MOD : Ministry of Defence.

National Marine Plan: A marine plan that will shape national objectives and policies surrounding Scotland's coastal and marine management.

National Marine Plan interactive ( NMPi): An interactive mapping tool produced by Marine Scotland to help with marine planning.

National Scenic Areas ( NSAs): Areas of national importance due to their landscape quality.

Natura Sites: An EU-wide network of nature conservation sites ( SPAs and SACs) established by EU legislation ( EC Directive 92/43/ EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Flora and Fauna and EC Directive 79/409/ EEC on the Conservation of Birds).

Nautical Miles: The unit of length used in marine navigation. One nautical mile is slightly longer than a statute mile, equal to 1.15 statute miles and 1.85 kilometres.

NPF 3: National Planning Framework 3.

Ocean Acidification: Ocean acidification refers to a reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period of time.

Orkney Local List: Created by Supplementary Guidance: Listed Buildings and the Orkney Local List (Orkney Islands Council, October 2011). Within the Orkney planning authority area (i.e. down to mean low water springs) buildings and structures meeting the criteria set out in this policy are considered to be on the Orkney Local List. This is a non-statutory designation which is a material consideration in the planning process.

OSPAR : The commission which manages work under the OSPAR Convention (Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic).

Planning Issues and Options Consultation Paper: A document that sets out suggested planning options produced to help support the preparation of the draft pilot Marine Spatial Plan.

Precautionary Principle: Where there is uncertainty over the consequences of an activity, full scientific proof of a possible environmental impact is not required before action is taken to prevent that impact. If there is a risk that proposed activities might have a significant and irreversible impact on important natural heritage resources, a precautionary approach should be applied. Potential impacts, alternative development options, and sources of uncertainty should be analysed. If the risk cannot be averted, the activity should only be allowed if it can be adapted when unacceptable impacts are detected.

Priority Marine Features ( PMFs): Species and habitats which have been identified as being of conservation importance to Scotland. Most are a subset of species and habitats identified on national, UK or international lists.

Protected Places: Created by the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (as amended). Protected places are the sites of all military aircraft which have crashed in service, and certain military vessels named in the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (Designation of Vessels and Controlled Sites) Order 2012.

Provisioning Services: Ecosystem services that result in a product used by humans, e.g. food or energy.

Quality of Life: The standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group.

Ramsar: Wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar convention.

River Basin Management Plans: Plans which set out measures to improve water in rivers, lakes, estuaries, coasts and in groundwater.

Scheduled Monuments: Currently governed by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (as amended) and may be designated at any site of historic or archaeological importance on land or in territorial waters, but are generally archaeological sites which no longer have a practical use.

Seascape: Landscapes with views of the coast or sea and the adjacent marine environment with cultural, historical and archaeological links to each other.

SEPA : Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Setting (in relation to historic environment): The way in which the surroundings of a heritage asset contributes to how it is experienced, understood and appreciated.

Significance (in relation to historic environment): The importance of the site in archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic terms.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest ( SSSIs): A nationally designated protected area, identified as containing a biological or geological feature of special interest.

SNH : Scottish Natural Heritage.

Special Area of Conservation ( SACs): Special Areas of Conservation ( SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive ( EC Directive 92/43/ EEC) designed to help conserve a range of habitats and species.

Special Protection Areas ( SPAs): Protected sites classified in accordance with Article 4 of the EC Birds Directive ( EC Directive 79/409/ EEC) for rare and vulnerable birds.

Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA): The assessment of plans, programmes and strategies for their environmental impacts, as opposed to assessing individual developments or projects.

Sustainable Development: Development that meets the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Sustainable Economic Growth: Building a dynamic and growing economy that will provide prosperity and opportunities for all, while respecting the limits of our environment for the sake of future generations.

Synergies: The interaction or co-operation of two or more organisations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

Terrestrial Planning: The term 'terrestrial planning' is used to refer to all elements of the land use planning system and therefore encompasses the National Planning Framework, local development plans, land use plans, and is synonymous with terms such as 'town planning', 'town and country planning', 'land use planning' and 'urban and regional planning'.

UNCLOS : United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.

Well-being: The state of being comfortable, healthy and happy.

World Heritage Sites: Created by the UNESCO World Heritage Convention 1972. World Heritage Sites are designated by a committee of UNESCO for their outstanding universal value, as assessed against a range of criteria, both cultural and natural.


Back to top