Publication - Consultation analysis

Planning Scotland's Seas: Scotland's National Marine Plan. Consultation Response Analysis Report

Published: 2 May 2014
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

Planning Scotland’s Seas: Scotland’s National Marine Plan was published for consultation in July 2013. Independent analysis of all written responses to the consultation has been undertaken and is presented in this report.

Planning Scotland's Seas: Scotland's National Marine Plan. Consultation Response Analysis Report



2.1 In 2013, the Scottish Government consulted on a range of marine issues under the Planning Scotland's Seas consultations. Individual consultations looked at:

  • A Draft National Marine Plan;
  • Draft plan options for Offshore Renewable Energy;
  • Priority Marine Features;
  • Integration between marine and land use planning in a draft Planning Circular; and
  • Marine Protected Areas network.

2.2 This report presents the findings from the responses to the consultation 'Draft National Marine Plan'.

2.3 The Scottish Government's vision for our marine environment is for 'clean, healthy, safe, productive, biologically diverse marine and coastal environments, managed to meet the long-term needs of people and nature'.

2.4 The National Marine Plan covers Scottish inshore waters (out to 12 nautical miles) and offshore waters (12 to 200 nautical miles) and applies to the exercise of both reserved and devolved functions. Marine planning in Scotland's inshore waters, and for devolved matters, is governed by the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, and in offshore waters, and for reserved matters, by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Together, these two Acts establish a legislative and management framework for the marine environment, so that competing demands on the sea can be managed sustainably.

2.5 Under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, Scottish Ministers are required to prepare and adopt a National Marine Plan covering Scottish inshore waters. The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 required Scottish Ministers to seek to ensure that a marine plan(s) is in effect in the offshore region when a Marine Policy Statement is in effect.

The consultation

2.6 The Draft National Marine Plan ( NMP) sets marine planning in context, presents key objectives and approaches to policies and specific marine planning policies related to 10 sectors including fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, and renewables. This will provide a single framework to manage all activity in Scottish waters, offering clarity to developers and decision makers on Scotland's priorities for sustainable use of the sea.

2.7 The consultation contained 40 questions, set out in a series of general and sectoral chapters. The consultation questions are listed in Appendix 1.

2.8 The consultation ran from 25th July 2013 until 13th November 2013. Responses received after this date are also reflected in this report.

2.9 In addition to the invitation to respond to this consultation, interested parties also had the opportunity to participate through associated events. Reports from events are provided on the Scottish Government website.

2.10 Responses to this consultation will inform Scottish Ministers, and the development of the National Marine Plan will help shape the development of a long term strategy for Scotland's marine environment and contribute to the Scottish Government's national objectives.

Overview of responses

2.11 Responses were submitted using the consultation questionnaire, by email or in paper copy. Submissions were received from 124 individuals and organisations.

Respondent profile

2.12 As part of the analysis process, responses were assigned to groups. This enabled analysis of whether differences, or commonalities, appeared across the various different types of organisations and / or individuals that responded. The following table shows the numbers of responses in each group.

2.13 As can be seen in this table, the groups with the greatest number of respondents were Local Authorities, fisheries organisations, energy organisations and individuals.

Table 2.1 Profile of those responding to the Draft NMP consultation

Respondent group
Individuals 16
Academic / scientific 7
Aquaculture 5
Energy 12
Environment / conservation 9
Fisheries 13
Historic / Heritage 5
Industry / transport 9
Local Authority 15
Local coastal partnership 7
Local group 5
Other public sector 10
Recreation / Tourism 7
Other 4
Total 124

2.14 A list of all those organisations who submitted a response to the consultation is included in Appendix 2.

Analysis and reporting

2.15 Comments given at each question were examined and main themes, similar issues raised or comments made in a number of responses, were identified. In addition, we looked for sub-themes such as reasons for opinions, specific examples or explanations, alternative suggestions or other related comments.

2.16 Where possible, we looked at whether respondents said they agreed or disagreed with specific proposals. However as some questions did not specifically ask for this information, it was not possible to ascertain support or disagreement for all respondents; this should be borne in mind when reading any proportions mentioned in the reporting. Furthermore, there were instances where respondents did not provide enough information to ascertain agreement or otherwise with a specific proposal.

2.17 The main themes were looked at in relation to respondent groups to ascertain whether any particular theme was specific to one particular group, or whether it appeared in responses across groups. When looking at sub-group differences, it must be also borne in mind that where a specific opinion has been identified in relation to a particular group or groups, this does not indicate that other groups agree or disagree with this opinion, but rather that they have simply not commented on that particular point.

2.18 This exercise was a consultation and not a survey. While the consultation gave all those who wished to comment an opportunity to do so, given the self-selecting nature of this type of exercise, any figures quoted here cannot be extrapolated to a wider population.

2.19 The following chapters document the substance of the analysis and present the main issues and views expressed in responses. These chapters follow the ordering of questions in the consultation document, followed by an analysis of other comments received. In many instances respondents provided suggestions for modifications to existing text in each of the sectoral chapters (6-16) in the draft NMP. Although these have not been detailed in this document, they will be considered alongside the findings of this report in developing the National Marine Plan.

2.20 Appropriate verbatim comments, from those who gave permission for their responses to be made public, are used throughout the report to illustrate themes or to provide extra detail for some specific points.