Publication - Progress report

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report

Published: 19 Aug 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

This report provides Marine Scotland with evidence on economic and social effects to inform a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for each possible NC MPA, and a Sustainability Appraisal for the suite of proposals as a whole.

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report
C.11. Ports and Harbours

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

C.11. Ports and Harbours

C.11.1 Introduction

This appendix provides an overview of existing and potential future activity for the ports and harbours sector in Scotland and outlines the methods used to assess the impacts of potential MPAs on this sector.

C.11.2 Sector Definition

Ports provide the modal interchange points by which goods and people are transported from land to sea. Harbours are by definition, safe havens for vessels to reside and are often commensurate with ports areas. This assessment focuses on potential impacts to terminals and wharves, navigation channels and approaches, anchorages and dredge material disposal sites.

C.11.3 Overview of Existing Activity

A list of sources to inform the writing of this baseline is provided in Table C11.1.

Table C11.1 Information Sources

Scale Information Available Date Source
UK Employment and GVA multipliers for ports (all UK) 2009 Oxford Economics (March 2009): 'The Economic Contribution of Ports to the UK Economy'
UK Ports and Harbours contribution to Employment and GDP (all UK) 2012 Oxford Economics, 2011. The economic impact of the UK's Maritime Services Sector (
UK Marine traffic, passenger numbers and cargo volume 2000-2011 Department for Transport 'Transport Statistics'
UK Port and harbour locations, port types, port ownership, contact details Current Ports and Harbours of the UK, 2011. Website:
UK Location of UK Ports 2010 ABPmer/CP2
Scotland (including Orkney, Shetland and mainland) Maritime transport statistics and overview, generalised information on Scottish Ports 2009-2010 Baxter et al (2011) The Scottish Government (2011) 'Scotland's Marine Atlas - Information for the National Marine Plan' March 2011.
Scotland Commercial listings of ports in Scotland, service providers, contact details, description of services and current development plans Current to 2009 Port of Scotland (2010) - annual publication (current issue print date 2009)
Scotland Recent trends To 2008 British Ports Association (2008)
UK Anchoring areas and berths (polygon and point) Current SeaZone
UK Anchoring areas (Associated British Ports) (confirm for which ports this is available) Current ABP
UK Potential future port developments 2012 DfT National Policy Statement for Ports, 2012
UK UK port demand forecasts To 2030 UK Port Demand Forecasts to 2030. MDS Transmodal, 2006, and update 2007.
UK Update to UK port demand forecasts, taking into account recession To 2020 and 2030 Port Infrastructure Development UK. Gail Bradford, MDS Transmodal, 2011

C11.3.1 Location and intensity of current activities

There are three types of port ownership in Scotland; Trust, Municipal and Private. All ports operate on a commercial basis, independently from Government. Duties and responsibilities are conferred by legislation tailored to each Port, with port operations administered by Statutory Harbour Authorities (SHA). There are 15 Scottish ports classified by the Department for Transport (DfT) under the EC Maritime Statistics Directive as a major port, generally because they handle at least 1 million tonnes of cargo per year, see Figure C14. These are:

  • Aberdeen;
  • Ayr;
  • Cairnryan;
  • Clyde (Ports Group);
  • Cromarty Firth;
  • Forth (Ports Group);
  • Glensanda;
  • Inverness;
  • Lerwick;
  • Montrose;
  • Orkney;
  • Perth;
  • Peterhead;
  • Stranraer; and
  • Sullom Voe.

Overall, there are around 270 ports and harbours in Scottish waters, ranging from very small piers and landing stages, to those with major facilities. They include:

  • Large Oil and Gas terminals, e.g. Hound Point (Firth of Forth), Sullom Voe (Shetland), Flotta (Scapa Flow, Orkney);
  • Large quarry product port - Glensanda;
  • Large fishing ports, e.g. Peterhead, Fraserburgh;
  • Smaller fishing ports, e.g. Buckie, Mallaig;
  • Oil supply ports, e.g. Aberdeen, Cromarty Firth;
  • Multi-purpose ports, e.g. Leith, Clyde;
  • Large container ports - Grangemouth;
  • Major ferry ports serving Ireland and Europe - Cairnryan, Stranraer and Rosyth - as well as lifeline ferry services within Scotland;
  • Marine Works serving as pier heads for ferry services to Scotland's islands and for working boats associated with fish farm installations; and
  • Marina facilities, e.g. Fairlie, Craobh Haven, Port Edgar.

C11.3.2 Economic value and employment

The ABI figures for GVA and numbers of jobs at 2009 prices, for sea and coastal water transport and supporting activities was £423m and 4,700 respectively (Baxter et al, 2011).

Cargo and passenger figures are published each year in the Scottish Transport Statistics and the Department for Transport Maritime Statistics. In 2009, 85.5 million tonnes of cargo was handled by all Scottish Ports and 10.5 million passengers were carried by ferries, with 15,222 vessels arriving at Scottish Ports during the same period. Over 67% of Scotland's total exports go out via Scottish ports, equating to 74 million tonnes each year (BPA, 2008).

Information presented in the ONS report identifies that in 2009 circa 11,000 jobs, and in 2010 circa 10,000 jobs were directly related to the ports and harbours sector (ONS, 2011). The potential additional knock-on employment of up to 21,000 is a result of indirect and induced expenditure effects through the supply chain. These figures exclude employment generated by the fishing and offshore oil and gas sectors which represent a very significant contribution to the Scottish economy (BPA, 2008).

Strongly related to the ports and harbours of Scotland is the shipbuilding industry which, in 2007, was worth £475m GVA with an estimated 5,800 jobs associated with building and repairing of vessels (Baxter et al, 2011). Scotland's shipbuilding sector is concentrated primarily on the manufacture and support of naval ships and specialist, more complex vessels for niche markets. Overall there are some 100 Scottish companies engaged in ship and boat building, with over 1,500 companies in the supply chain. It should be noted that almost 90% of these 100 businesses were small firms with less than 25 employees (BPA, 2008).

The oil and gas industry is a significant economic contributor to Scottish Ports. It is estimated that oil and gas production in the UK currently supports about 207,000 jobs in the supply chain, 40% of which are in Scotland. Using turnover figures relating to exports, it is estimated that direct export activity from the supply chain could be supporting a further 100,000 UK jobs. Scotland is also an important UK and European cruise destination and conservative estimates suggest that the cruise industry supports more than 800 employees, generating £23m GVA to the Scottish economy each year (BPA, 2008).

Of all the activities which take place at ports and harbours in Scotland, fishing is the most common and has therefore been considered under its own heading namely the commercial fishing sections of this report.

Ferry traffic has historically been an important aspect of Scottish port activity, this includes International, National and local services (BPA, 2008).

Smaller scale local ferry services, mainly between the Scottish mainland and outlying islands provide an important lifeline for residents. This service also opens a gateway for tourists to visit areas that might be otherwise inaccessible by car or train. Examples of this type of link include services provided by Caledonian MacBrayne, Orkney Ferries Ltd, Northlink Ferries and Shetland Islands Council. As an example, Northlink Ferries services between Aberdeen and Lerwick and Kirkwall carry circa 140,000 passengers each year. This gives considerable economic and social benefits to both the port and harbour operators as well as the surrounding area, allowing for the movement of commercial traffic, local passenger traffic and growing numbers of tourists and visitors (BPA, 2008).

Leisure moorings remain an important business income for many Scottish ports and help to support many businesses situated around harbours and marinas (discussed in detail in C 13.3.2). Many ports are examining the possibility of expanding so investment is generally concentrated on enhancing and refurbishing existing facilities (BPA, 2008).

C11.3.3 Future trends

The UK Government policy for ports was set out in the Interim Report of the ports policy review published in 2007 (DfT, 2007). This report stated that the Government sought to 'encourage sustainable port development to cater for long-term forecast growth in volumes of imports and exports by sea with a competitive and efficient port industry capable of meeting the needs of importers and exporters cost effectively and in a timely manner'. This provides confirmation that the ports industry is supported by Government policy into the future, providing assurance of sustained development.

Ports policy was reviewed in 2006 by the Scottish Government, this concluded that the sector benefits substantially from its independence and that the Scottish Government supported its mixed ownership structure, ( i.e. Trust, Municipal and Private). Investment decisions are based on market needs rather than through central direction. The challenge for future development of this sector is based on world trade patterns and the economic climate (BPA, 2008).

The Scottish Government is formulating a National Planning Framework. This for the first time identifies Government development projects that will be rolled out during the next 20-30 years. The Scottish Government has said that its economic strategy requires a planning framework that supports sustainable economic growth across Scotland. Of the nine proposed National Developments three are large projects specifically related to the ports industry (BPA, 2008).

Scotland's National Transport Policy states that "An effective road and rail infrastructure to support national and international connections by sea is essential to ensure that the critical role of ports in supporting and contributing to Scotland's business and economic health is fully realised "Future areas of possible development are international transhipment, feeder services and short sea shipping". Also, "We will continue to support UK and international ferry routes including routes to Northern Ireland, Ireland, mainland Europe and beyond" (Scottish Executive, 2006b).

The importance of the oil and gas industry to the Ports industry within Scotland, specifically ports on the East Coast, Shetland and Orkney Isles, provide a close tie between these two sectors. Although the North Sea fields are considered to be 'mature' having produced 36 billion boe, estimates suggest that there may be another 25 million boe available. Operators who specialise in extracting oil and gas from the more mature fields have purchased several of these assets from the oil majors. This has seen higher investment levels for some older fields with increased production being achieved (BPA, 2008). The long term stability of extraction levels past 2020 is uncertain. However, the centre of excellence and expertise established in North East Ports has generated global trade in oil and gas equipment manufactured or services. Aberdeen Harbour (for example) already has three scheduled services to West African oil and gas producing countries and regularly handles other energy related cargoes to and from many other worldwide destinations (BPA, 2008).

The increase in offshore renewable activities provides a potential source of income for ports. This is both as a base for industrial processes including manufacture of offshore renewable devices, and as a service provider for the craft needed to install and maintain offshore renewable sites during the construction and operation. Market potential is driven by the location of offshore renewable developments, and the accessibility of ports for the types of craft involved in installation and maintenance activities.

The future use, growth and development of ports are intrinsically linked to world trade patterns and the economic climate, and are reactive to changing economic circumstances. Government policy continues to support the mixed ownership structure already established, with Government backing for National Infrastructure projects, all of which provides incentives to develop port facilities. Many ports in Scotland have identified opportunities around the developing marine renewables industry, which has the potential to change the landscape of port services and increase marine traffic.

C.11.4 Assumptions on Future Activity

The timing, location and nature of port development is difficult to predict as it occurs in response to demand. A number of developments are currently in planning to support offshore renewables development, for example, potential major developments at Leith, Dundee and Kishorn, together with proposals for development at a number of smaller ports to support wave and tidal development, for example at Scrabster. The National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (Scottish Enterprise, 2010) provides information on possible development sites to support offshore renewables expansion but the precise locations at which development occurs will be determined by market forces. While most of the development activity will be associated with construction of new quays, there is also a potential requirement for capital dredging works to improve access to berths.

In the absence of information on future port development, it has been assumed for the purposes of this assessment that major ports will undertake one development every five years over the assessment period (starting in 2016) and that all other ports will undertake one development over the period of the assessment (assumed to be in 2024).

It has been assumed that operators will need to apply for dredge material disposal licences once every 3 years. It has been assumed that locations of commercial anchorages and disposal sites do not change over the assessment period.

C.11.5 Potential Interactions with MPA Features

The main impacts of the construction and operation of ports and harbours within MPAs relate to direct damage to seabed habitats and species as a result of dredging or reclamation. Dredging may also lead to elevated concentrations of suspended sediment in the water column, affecting local water quality. Re-deposition of this sediment has the potential to cause smothering of existing seabed habitats. During construction and operational phases, underwater noise and vibrations may also be an issue.

Once constructed, ports and harbours may create a permanent barrier for the movement of mobile species, and pose a risk of death or injury by collision. Permanent changes to the hydrography and morphology of the area may change water flow and wave exposure, potentially inducing changes in the emergence regimes of intertidal species. The installation of moorings and regular anchoring of vessels has the potential to cause further damage to the local seabed, and could affect MPA features through pollution and the introduction of non-indigenous species into the area ( JNCC & NE, 2011).

Anchorage of commercial vessels causes direct damage to habitats and species, with further surface and sub-surface abrasion of the seabed occurring from movement of the anchor and chain. A greater area of damage may be created by a circular movement of the ship at anchor. Direct collision of vessels into MPA features and collisions between vessels and shipping infrastructure will have similar impacts, although may be on a larger scale. Many seabed habitats are vulnerable to damage from shipping collisions, although recovery rates of sandy habitats are much faster than more sensitive biotopes such as biogenic reefs that may never fully recover.

C.11.6 Assumptions on Management Measures for Scenarios

It is assumed that the impact of ports and harbour activities on MPA features will be managed under the existing marine licensing framework (with the exception of anchorages which are not subject to a licensing regime). Two scenarios ('lower' and 'upper') have been developed to capture the possible costs of NC MPA proposals to the ports and harbours sector. These scenarios include a range of possible management measures, as detailed requirements will need to be based on site-specific factors.

It has been assumed that there will be no review of existing licenses or consents, although where operators of existing installations apply for new licences (for example, dredge disposal licences), these applications will be considered against the conservation objectives for features for which MPAs may have been designated.

The intermediate ('best') estimate for each site has been based on SNH current views on management options and judgements made by the study team. The assumptions do not pre-judge any future site-specific licensing decisions. After MPA designation, the management of activities in MPAs will be decided on a site-by-site basis and may differ from the assumptions in this assessment.

Management measures applied under the lower and upper scenarios are detailed below. Specific management measure assumptions for each scenario (including the intermediate scenario) are defined in the MPA Site Reports (Table 4, Appendix E).

Lower Scenario

  • Additional costs will be incurred for new licence applications for port development, navigation dredging and disposal in assessing potential impacts to MPA features within 1km of proposed licence areas; and
  • Mitigation measures may be required for non- OSPAR/BAP features ranging from:
    ˉ No additional mitigation required for existing activities beyond existing good practice;
    ˉ No additional mitigation required for new development beyond good practice;
    ˉ Seasonal controls on construction, dredging and/or disposal activity; and
    ˉ Refusal of licence/planning application.

Upper Scenario

  • Additional costs will be incurred for licence applications for port development, navigation dredging and disposal in assessing potential impacts to MPA features within 5km (major ports) or 1km (non-major ports) of proposed licence areas;
  • Additional survey costs will be incurred to inform licence applications;
  • Additional post-licence monitoring of any features within 1km of development footprint; and
  • Mitigation measures may be required for some OSPAR/BAP features [49] for which adequate protection is not currently achieved and all non- OSPAR/BAP features ranging from:
    ˉ No additional mitigation required for existing activities beyond existing good practice;
    ˉ No additional mitigation required for new development beyond good practice;
    ˉ Seasonal controls on construction, dredging and/or disposal activity;
    ˉ Mitigation of underwater noise from percussive piling activities;
    ˉ Mitigation of water quality impacts from dredging (controls on overspilling, dredging rates/methods);
    ˉ Requirement for offsetting measures for port development or anchorage impacts; and
    ˉ Refusal of licence/planning application.

C.11.7 Assessment Methods

Additional Licensing Costs

Where required, it is assumed that the additional costs will be as follows:

  • Additional assessment costs for licence application - £6.75k per licence application (Annex H12, Finding Sanctuary et al, 2012); and
  • Additional survey costs - site specific determination.

Additional Post Licensing Costs

Where required, it is assumed that additional costs will be incurred as follows:

  • Additional monitoring costs - site specific determination

Mitigation Measures

Where required, it is assumed that the following additional costs may be incurred:
ˉ Seasonal controls on construction, dredging and/or disposal activity - site specific determination;
ˉ Mitigation of underwater noise from percussive piling activities - site specific determination;
ˉ Mitigation of water quality impacts from dredging - site specific determination;
ˉ Relocation of anchorages or disposal sites to less sensitive habitats or more representative areas of habitat;
ˉ Requirement for offsetting measures - site specific determination; and
ˉ Refusal of licence/planning application - site specific determination.

Cost of Uncertainty and Delays

The designation of NC MPAs has the potential to increase the time taken to determine licence applications and to negatively affect investor confidence. It has not been possible to quantify these potential impacts.

C.11.8 Limitations

  • The location, nature and timing of future port development activity is uncertain; and
  • The requirements for management measures are uncertain.

C.11.9 References

Baxter, J.M., Boyd, I.L., Cox, M., Donald, A.E., Malcolm, S.J., Miles, H., Miller, B., Moffat, C.F., (Editors), 2011. Scotland's Marine Atlas: Information for the national marine plan. Marine Scotland, Edinburgh.

British Ports Association (BPA), 2008. 'Scottish Ports Committee Ports In Scotland "Delivering Value".

Department for Transport (DfT) 2007. Ports Policy Review Interim Report, 19 July 2007. Available from:

Finding Sanctuary, Irish Seas Conservation Zones, Net Gain and Balanced Seas, 2012. Impact

Assessment materials in support of the Regional Marine Conservation Zone Projects' Recommendations. Annex H12 Ports, Harbours and Shipping

JNCC and NE, 2011. General advice on assessing potential impacts of and mitigation for human activities on MCZ features, using existing regulation and legislation. Advice from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England to the Regional MCZ Projects. June 2011. 107pp.

Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2011. Business Register and Employment Survey (2008 to 2010). Available at: Accessed: 17/11/11

Scottish Executive, 2006b. 'Scotland's National Transport Policy'. December 2006 Accessed: 15 November 2011.

Scottish Government, 2013. Scotland's Third National Planning Framework: Main Issues Report and Draft Framework. April 2013 Accessed 31 May 2013.