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
ISBN:
9781784124182

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
3 MARINE PLANNING IN CONTEXT

3 MARINE PLANNING IN CONTEXT

Chapter summary

  • A greater number of respondents (37) considered the Draft NMP appropriately guides management of Scotland's marine resources, than did not (12), albeit that a number of these responses were qualified.
  • Many respondents welcomed the opportunity to respond to this consultation and were generally supportive of the vision within the NMP and /or the principles behind this. That said, there were some requests for clarification or further development of some of the policies; or linkage between objectives and policies.
  • There were requests for consideration and clarification as to how objectives that have the potential to conflict with each other will be managed and reconciled.
  • A number of respondents commented on the need for stronger links between the NMP and all other relevant legislation, guidance and policy, with some comments that as it stands at present, it does not comply with the duties in the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.
  • While the approach adopted was generally supported, there were comments that a greater level of integration across all sectors is needed. Allied to this, there are concerns as to how different sectoral priorities (and possible areas of conflict) will be managed.
  • While there is an acknowledgement that balancing sustainable economic growth with environmental management will be a challenge, some respondents considered the NMP focuses primarily on economic uses of the marine environment, with less focus on people, the environment and biodiversity.
  • There were requests for consistent use of reference to 'sustainability', with comments that the Draft NMP interchanges 'sustainable development' and 'sustainable economic growth' throughout, thus creating confusion.
  • From a logistical perspective, there were requests for timescales for implementation, delivery and review of the NMP to be included in the NMP.
  • Views were relatively polarised between those who felt the NMP appropriately sets out the requirements for integration between marine planning and land use planning, and those who did not. A key issue for respondents was that while there is support for the integration, it was felt that the Draft NMP does not provide enough detail on how this will be achieved. Some respondents cited instances where further guidance will be required.
  • Allied to this point, some respondents noted the need for clarity of objectives and policy in the final NMP and National Planning Framework ( NPF3) so that issues in common are dealt with consistently.
  • There were some requests for greater levels of consultation and engagement in development of the NMP; and for more data to be fed into development of regional planning.
  • Some respondents commented on Marine Planning Partnerships ( MPPs) specifically, with requests for Local Authorities to be the MPP or lead body for the MPP; along with requests for greater clarity on the structure and governance of MPPs.
  • When asked if the NMP appropriately guides development of regional planning, very few respondents provided a definitive answer. There were some suggestions that the NMP should act as an umbrella policy guide, with requests that Regional Marine Plans ( RMPs) are developed alongside the NMP.
  • There were some requests - primarily from the environment/ conservation sector that further information is needed, particularly in relation to nature conservation legislation and policy.
  • A few respondents commented on the wider geographical implications of the NMP and the need to ensure that MPPs interact with other public authorities.
  • When asked if the NMP should set out specific marine planning policies for Strategic Sea Areas ( SSAs), most respondents did not provide a definitive response. Instead, many responses queried the need for SSAs, and asked how these would be managed if covered by different marine regions.
  • There was majority support that the objectives and policies in the NMP are appropriate to ensure they further the achievement of sustainable development, including protection and where appropriate, enhancement of the health of the sea. That said, there were requests for further clarity and queries over how conflict would be managed. Greatest opposition to this came from organisations in the environment/ conservation sector.
  • There were some concerns that the NMP currently misrepresents the guiding principle of sustainable development; along with requests to clarify the definition of sustainable development. There were also comments, primarily from the environment/ conservation sector that there is limited reference to Scotland's three pillar approach which forms the basis of the Strategy for Marine Nature Conservation in Scotland's seas. They also felt that the objectives and policies should be cross-referenced to ensure they are in line with High Level Management Objectives ( HLMOs) and Good Environmental Status ( GES).

3.1 Chapter 2 of the Draft National Marine Plan noted that marine planning will interact with other planning and consenting regimes within the Scottish marine area and asked a series of question in relation to this.

Guiding management of Scotland's marine resources

3.2 Respondents were asked:

Question 1: Does the NMP appropriately guide management of Scotland's marine resources?

3.3 As shown in table 3.1, 71 respondents provided a response to this question. Not all respondents provided a definitive 'yes' or 'no' response, but where it has been possible to ascertain whether or not respondents agreed or disagreed with the question posed, this has been incorporated into the analysis.

3.4 In addition, some respondents provided an answer of yes but then qualified this in additional commentary and these responses have been noted as 'yes, qualified' in the table.

3.5 Where it was not possible to ascertain whether or not a respondent agreed with the question posed, they are noted below as 'neither yes or no'. This convention has been adopted throughout this report.

3.6 As the table shows, there was a significant level of support that the NMP appropriately guides management of Scotland's marine resources, albeit that some of these responses were qualified. Strongest opposition came from organisations within the environment/ conservation sector. No organisations in the environment/ conservation or fisheries sectors agreed that the NMP appropriately guides management of Scotland's marine resources.

Table 3.1 Question 1: Does the NMP appropriately guide management of Scotland's marine resources?

Respondent group Yes Yes, qualified No Neither yes or no
Individuals (16) 2 1 2 3
Academic / scientific (7) 1 2 - -
Aquaculture (5) 1 1 - 1
Energy (12) 5 1 - 1
Environment / conservation (9) - - 6 1
Fisheries (13) - - 3 4
Historic / Heritage (5) - 1 - -
Industry / transport (9) 2 - - 1
Local Authority (15) 3 5 - 3
Local coastal partnership (7) 1 1 - 5
Local group (5) - 2 - -
Other public sector (10) 1 4 - 1
Recreation / Tourism (7) - 1 - 2
Other (4) 2 - 1 -
Total (124) 18 19 12 22

3.7 A number of respondents welcomed the opportunity to respond to this consultation and many also welcomed the publication of the Draft National Marine Plan. Various respondents were supportive of the vision within the NMP and / or the principles behind this vision. As noted by one public sector organisation:

"We are very supportive of the vision for an NMP that provides a framework for regional scale marine planning. In particular, the overarching objectives provide a comprehensive foundation through adoption of the High Level Marine Objectives from the UK Marine Policy Statement, the Good Environmental Status ( GES) descriptors associated with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive ( MSFD) and additional objectives relating to climate change."

3.8 A small number of respondents, mostly in the environment/ conservation sector also noted that this document is an improvement on the pre-consultation draft previously put out for comment.

Policies and objectives of the NMP

3.9 Where comments were made about the objectives, views were that these were generally good but there were some requests for consideration and clarification of how objectives that have the potential to conflict with each other will be managed and reconciled.

3.10 Some respondents, mostly in the fisheries sector commented that the NMP presents the High Level Management Objectives but that there needs to be more definitive content to explain how these will be met, for example, by using an integrated management approach.

3.11 Again, where many views on the policies were positive, a small number of respondents, whilst welcoming the inclusion of land, seascape and the historic environment as general policies, felt their importance and the need to protect these should be reinforced throughout the NMP. A public sector organisation noted that the Draft NMP as it stands does not provide policies that are effective in servicing the strategic objectives for environmental enhancement. It requested a new section that focuses on proactive policies designed to enhance the ecosystem. A respondent within the academic sector requested more focus on co-operation between sectors which they felt is currently weak in the Draft NMP.

3.12 There were also a small number of requests for more clarification or further development of some of the policies. For example, an organisation in the recreation/ tourism sector requested the need to consider their sector and sea angling in more detail. A Local Authority felt that while they were in broad agreement with the policies, there was a need for the general policy on landscape/ seascape and for parts of the aquaculture chapter to provide more information.

3.13 A small number of respondents commented on the linkage between objectives or policies and issues raised in different chapters. For example, a respondent in the environment/ conservation sector asked for clarification as to how each policy will be addressed; another respondent within a local group noted that the objectives appear to be all encompassing but that individual policies have gaps in how to achieve these objectives.

3.14 A small number of respondents within Local Authorities commented that they would like to see section and paragraph numbering to make it easier to reference specific elements of the NMP.

Links with legislation and other work

3.15 A key theme, emerging across all types of organisation was the need for the NMP to link in with EU, UK and Scottish legislation. Legislation referred to by respondents included:

  • EU Sustainable Development Strategy;
  • The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009;
  • The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010;
  • NPF3;
  • Regional Marine Plans;
  • The Scottish Government strategy document '2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity'.

3.16 There were some concerns that information contained within the Draft NMP is not explicit enough in relation to legislation. For example, one respondent in the environment/ conservation sector requested that the duties within the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 are explicitly stated within the NMP.

3.17 Furthermore, there were concerns from some respondents, mostly within the environment/ conservation sector, that the Draft NMP fails to implement the duties of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 or contribute to the achievement of relevant national and European legislation. There were requests for greater clarity on how the NMP delivers marine protection and enhancement duties required by the 2010 Act. There were a small number of comments that, as it currently stands, the Draft NMP does not contain SMART objectives and that at times it presents information that is subjective rather than objective in nature.

3.18 As well as alignment with other legislation, there was also some reference for the need to align to other work. For example, another public sector body noted the need for Regional Marine Plans ( RMP) to align fully with the NMP so that there is a consistent approach to Scottish Marine Regions. There was also reference to the need for RMPs to be consistent with local river basin plans under the River Basin Management Plan ( RBMP) process.

3.19 Some respondents also commented on the need for the NMP to clarify at the start of the document that references to planning authorities and planners related to both land use and marine and the interrelations between the two. There were also calls for the document to fully integrate land use planning and marine planning.

The need for integration across sectors

3.20 A number of respondents, while supportive of the Draft NMP, requested a greater level of integration between and across sectors. There were some comments that the sectoral chapters presented in the Draft NMP do not sufficiently emphasise the need for integration. One public sector body also noted that plan-led decisions will need to be adequately supported by the NMP and specific sectoral plans.

3.21 Allied to this, a number of respondents referred to the use of an ecosystem-based approach as this helps to integrate the objectives of the NMP, integrate all relevant sectors and take into account the cumulative impacts across all sectors. It was suggested that the ecosystem-based approach should drive policy, rather than economic growth. As noted by a respondent in the academic/ scientific sector:

"The document represents a welcome attempt to draw together national objectives for the marine environment, with the recognition that to maximise the benefits for society from the marine area, there needs to be a cross-sectoral approach driven by sustainable development goals. Further work is needed, however, if it is to bring about improvement in the management of the Scottish marine environment to meet the needs of Scotland, as it currently underrepresents the bold ambition needed to move away from sector-specific planning approaches. The challenges involved in understanding socio-ecological systems to support integrated ecosystem-based management should be explicitly recognised to establish credibility, to reflect current best practice and engender the proactive attitudes needed to realise this approach."

3.22 Linked to this, there were some concerns over how different sectoral priorities will be managed and that there needs to be clear mechanisms and processes for conflict resolution throughout the NMP. Some respondents focused primarily on their own sector and requested more consideration to the issues facing them. For example, a respondent in the recreation/ tourism sector noted the need for planning policies in aquaculture to consider the potential impacts on recreation; some respondents in the fisheries sector requested more information to be provided on their sector; another respondent in the fisheries sector noted the need for the NMP to recognise that some geographic areas have specific vulnerabilities and that there is a need to consider the potential for serious economic repercussions.

The perceived focus of the NMP

3.23 A number of respondents noted that the Draft NMP focuses primarily on economic uses of the marine environment, and with less focus on people, the environment and biodiversity. A public sector organisation noted that balancing sustainable economic growth with environmental management will be a challenge.

3.24 Linked to this point, there were some calls for a greater focus on sustainability and sustainable development. A number of respondents commented that the use of the phrases 'sustainable development' and 'sustainable economic growth' are used interchangeably throughout the document and that they should be used consistently, and that wording used should reflect the duties in the Marine (Scotland) Act. Some respondents also felt that the principles of sustainable development are not integrated throughout the Draft NMP. One respondent in the public sector noted that there is a need for greater identification in the sectoral chapters on opportunities where the enhancement of natural assets supports long term economic prosperity or stability.

3.25 In line with this, there were also some comments that the Draft NMP fails to give full consideration to climate change mitigation and adaptation; with one respondent in the environment/ conservation sector commenting that the climate change sections focus on the impact climate change will have on the sector, rather than assessing how the sector will impact on climate change.

A need for clarity throughout

3.26 A number of respondents asked for further clarification of information presented in the Draft NMP. Requests included clarification on:

  • Objectives and deliverables;
  • More guidance on how to manage the marine environment in a way that achieves sustainable development;
  • More guidance for marine planning practitioners;
  • Information on some policies that are considered to be ambiguous in the way they are currently presented;
  • How to manage conflict resolution between different sectors;
  • Some of the terminology used. For example, a better definition of the term 'adaptive management';
  • How different policies will be implemented.

3.27 Some respondents suggested that it would be useful to provide some scenario testing in order to help organisations understand how policies might be interpreted in real life situations. Another respondent suggested offering workshops for practitioners.

Logistical issues

3.28 A number of respondents raised what might be termed 'logistical issues' in their responses, and these focused on a number of specific issues. There was some concern over the resources needed by key agencies to implement the NMP, as well as by Marine Scotland in overseeing development of regional marine planning. There were also a number of queries in relation to the timescales for delivering actions and plans, with some respondents commenting that they would like to see a time period over which the Plan will operate.

3.29 Allied to this, there were also some requests for an outline of its implementation, with one public sector organisation commenting that the Plan would benefit from more clarity over how the NMP and Regional Marine Plans will be implemented. Some respondents also queried what arrangements there will be for monitoring and review, and how performance will be measured. One respondent in the academic/ scientific sector suggested that performance should be linked to High Level Marine Objectives and Good Environmental Status objectives. A small number of environment/ conservation organisations also noted that there will need to be revised and effective governance systems in place.

Other issues

3.30 A number of other issues were raised, each by small numbers of respondents, and these included:

  • A need to consider various options for spatial planning as the marine environment and resource management varies considerably from area to area;
  • There will be a need for supplementary guidance to be provided to ensure that the NMP and Regional Marine Plans stay up-to-date;
  • A need for interaction with other countries or states that border Scotland's marine areas;
  • The NMP should be more strategic in setting out clear policies on issues of national importance including Strategic Sea Areas ( SSAs) and what should be addressed more locally in Regional Marine Plans;
  • Different levels of protection may be required in different areas;
  • Spatial management plans need to address the potential cumulative issues at a national level;
  • There is the potential to develop a Natural Capital Asset Index for the marine environment as a tool to monitor progress;
  • Because regional marine planning only extends to 12 nautical miles (Nm), plan-led decisions in offshore areas will need to be supported by the NMP and specific sectoral plans.

3.31 Finally, a small number of respondents within the fisheries sector who had answered 'no' to this question, gave this as a response because they did not see management of fisheries as a function of the NMP.

Integration between marine planning and land use planning systems

3.32 Respondents were asked:

Question 2: Does the NMP appropriately set out the requirements for integration between marine planning and land use planning systems?

3.33 As table 3.2 shows, 67 respondents provided an answer to this question; the majority of whom did not provide a definitive 'yes' or 'no' response. The highest levels of negative responses to this question came from respondents within the aquaculture and environment/ conservation sectors, and Local Authorities, although no respondents within the fisheries sector gave a positive response.

Table 3.2 Question 2: Does the NMP appropriately set out the requirement for integration between marine planning and land use planning systems?

Respondent group Yes Yes, qual No Neither
Individuals (16) 1 1 1 4
Academic / scientific (7) 1 - - 1
Aquaculture (5) - - 3 1
Energy (12) 3 - - 5
Environment / conservation (9) - 1 3 1
Fisheries (13) - - 2 4
Historic / Heritage (5) 1 - - -
Industry / transport (9) 1 - 1 2
Local Authority (15) 2 - 5 4
Local coastal partnership (7) - 1 1 4
Local group (5) - 1 1 -
Other public sector (10) 2 - - 4
Recreation / Tourism (7) - - - 2
Other (4) - - 1 2
Total (124) 11 4 18 34

A need for further detail

3.34 A large number of respondents were supportive of integration between marine planning and land use planning systems. However a significant number of those responding suggested that the while the Draft NMP recognises the need for integration between marine planning and land use planning systems, it is lacking in detail as to how this will be achieved. There were requests for further elaboration as to how this will be achieved, with some respondents commenting that the Draft NMP does not go far enough in identifying how key sectoral interests and other relevant interests can be managed in an integrated way. As noted by one Local Authority:

"Whilst acknowledging the importance of integration between marine and land planning, the NMP itself is very brief on the means of achieving this. The integration between the two goes well beyond the simple fact that some developments may have both marine and land components in infrastructure terms - it also applies where there is no physical connection or structure. Marine developments will almost certainly have wider implications for service provision in adjacent coastal areas and on local communities for a range of reasons, e.g. visual amenity, recreational activity, conflict with existing use(s), etc."

3.35 Some respondents went onto comment that the Draft Planning Circular, which was also consulted on, provides more clarity on integration and better explores the linkages between the marine and land use planning systems. There were a number of requests for clear reference to be made to the Draft Planning Circular, with a summary within the NMP of the key points contained within the Circular; and for the relationship between the two to be made clear.

3.36 In line with requests for further information and clarification on the integration of marine and land use planning systems, there were also calls for more guidance. For example, a local coastal partnership requested guidance on how land use planning and marine planning will converge, or for guidance where one area has an Regional Marine Plan or Marine Planning Partnership in place but a neighbouring area does not.

3.37 A number of respondents requested details of ways to handle differences or conflicting statements within land use planning and marine planning or between different planning systems, and to provide an indication of where the priorities lie in instances where systems overlap.

Consistent presentation of issues

3.38 Allied to this point, there were requests for clarity of policy and objectives in the final NMP and National Planning Framework 3, so that issues covered jointly are presented in a consistent way.

3.39 There were also references to the need for integration across Marine Planning Partnerships and a variety of plans such as Regional Marine Plans, Scottish Planning Policy, Strategic Development Plans and Local Development Plans; and for the relationship between these to be made clear. There were also some references to the need for the NMP to have regard to Integrated coastal zone management ( ICZM) and River Basin Management Plans. A respondent in the recreation/ tourism sector noted the need for synergy between the NMP and the National Tourism Development Plan. A public sector organisation noted the need for the development of coastal issues reports, to ensure consistency across marine and land use plans, particularly where the timing for development of plans is difficult to align. This respondent also noted that locations identified as 'Areas of Coordinated Action' within the Draft NPF3 should be priority areas for ensuring effective integration of planning systems. They commented:

"Under the heading "Marine Planning, Consents and Authorisations" greater clarity could be brought to the role of the NMP, the MPP and the role of decision makers in relation to port and harbour consenting and marine planning and licensing in particular. This section should make clear the role of the NMP, the role of the MPP and the role of Marine Scotland and Local Authorities."

Sector-specific issues

3.40 There were some calls for further emphasis on integration within the sectoral chapters of the Draft NMP.

3.41 Some respondents made reference to issues impacting upon specific sectors and the need for guidance on what to do if policies are inconsistent or in conflict, or what should be given priority. For example, a small number of respondents noted there are specific issues for aquaculture, which has a complex relationship with marine and land use planning; as one respondent in the aquaculture sector noted:

"Aquaculture is unique from other marine users because it will be covered by two different planning regimes. At present we feel that the wording in the Draft NMP does not clearly identify this fact, nor does it clearly explain how decisions relating to aquaculture are to be made with the existence of both Local Plans and Marine Plans dictating the development of aquaculture."

3.42 A small number of respondents (mostly from the fisheries sector) also referred to the difficulties of managing sectoral interests in an integrated manner; particularly for fisheries which are already subject to complex legislation and management measures, noting that another layer of potential controls at local level could prove difficult to implement.

3.43 There were also concerns over phrasing in the Draft NMP which notes that land use planning authorities have responsibility to prepare planning policy covering aquaculture in the marine area, but that they are only required to 'give consideration' in doing so. This raised queries over how effective integration will be and how priorities or conflicts will be managed.

Involving others

3.44 There were some comments on the need for the NMP to allow for the involvement of local organisations; one example given was allowing for community councils to be a consultee in the marine planning process as they are already in the onshore planning process. A public sector organisation suggested there is a need for a more collaborative approach across planning jurisdictions, with a need for more consistent communication. One Local Authority noted that there is a need for fully integrated community, service and development planning as an essential element of major marine developments.

3.45 There were comments from some energy companies over the need to present a clear vision in relation to the process for early engagement of land use planning and marine planning to ensure timeframes and identification of risks. There was also a suggestion from another energy company that it would be useful to have one licensing regime for offshore projects, with an onshore interface, as the uncertainty in aligning different consenting regimes along with a Compulsory Purchase Order system poses risks to developers.

Marine Planning Partnerships ( MPPs)

3.46 A number of respondents, mostly Local Authorities, commented on Marine Planning Partnerships specifically. There were some suggestions that rather than have Local Authorities represented within a MPP, consideration should be given to Local Authorities being the MPP or lead body for the MPP, with an advisory group of stakeholders. These Local Authorities also suggested that as well as the transfer of marine planning functions, licensing powers and functions and the resources for these should also be transferred; they considered this is sanctioned under sections 12 and 51 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.

3.47 There was also comment that there is currently a lack of clarity on the structure and governance of Marine Planning Partnerships and any legislative requirements for implementation of their plans. This was cited by a public sector body and two Local Authorities. The two Local Authorities also felt that membership and governance arrangements for MPPs should reflect local circumstances.

3.48 A number of elements were identified for inclusion within the NMP. These included:

  • The potential requirement for a marine licence and planning permission within the intertidal zone;
  • Diagrams to illustrate the hierarchy, and areas where integration is of particular importance, to identify links between statute and policy under marine planning, consents and authorisations;
  • Greater coverage of Integrated Coastal Zone Management as a coastal and marine planning tool;
  • A separate section on nature conservation, given its wider socio-economic impact;
  • The importance of adopting an ecosystem-based approach that will consider the interrelationship between land use and marine activities and the effects both can have on the marine environment;
  • Progress of integrated planning should be jointly steered and evaluated by the River Basin Management Plans National Advisory Group and the Marine Strategy Forum;
  • There need to be long term integrated monitoring programmes and protocols to measure and report on the outcomes of the NMP;
  • Resources, including what will be needed by Local Authorities that will engage in new approaches and what will be available from the Scottish Government to develop the necessary guidance and regulatory framework to underpin the NMP.

Whether the NMP appropriately guides development of regional planning

3.49 Respondents were asked:

Question 3: Does the NMP appropriately guide development of regional planning? What, if any, further guidance is required for regional marine planners in terms of implementation and how to interpret the NMP?

3.50 There were a total of 71 responses to this question, most of whom did not provide a definitive 'yes' or 'no'. Greatest support for this came from energy companies; least support came from those within the environment/ conservation sector.

Table 3.3 Question 3: Does the NMP appropriately guide development of regional planning? What, if any, further guidance is required for regional marine planners in terms of implementation and how to interpret the NMP?

Respondent group Yes Yes, qualified No Neither yes or no
Individuals (16) 1 - - 6
Academic / scientific (7) - - - 2
Aquaculture (5) - - - 4
Energy (12) 4 - - 3
Environment / conservation (9) - - 3 4
Fisheries (13) - - - 6
Historic / Heritage (5) 2 - - -
Industry / transport (9) - - - 3
Local Authority (15) - - - 10
Local coastal partnership (7) - - - 7
Local group (5) - 1 - 1
Other public sector (10) 1 - - 6
Recreation / Tourism (7) - - 1 4
Other (4) - - 1 1
Total (124) 8 1 5 57

3.51 A number of respondents noted that the NMP should act as an umbrella policy guide. A number of advantages to this approach were cited. First, guidance can be added to encourage integration in regional marine planning; second, that the general and sectoral policies in the NMP provide a framework for Regional Marine Plans; third, the NMP could be aligned with NPF3. Lastly, that the final NMP could be refined to confirm national issues and those which marine plans should consider as a priority of NPF3.

3.52 A small number of respondents within the recreation/ tourism sector noted the need for a common structure to the NMP and Regional Marine Plans; they also noted that the Pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters ( PFOW) Marine Spatial Plan will be a useful experience to guide development of regional plans. A respondent in the public sector requested an explanation of how the PFOW will interact with the NMP and regional plans.

3.53 There were calls from a significant number of respondents for Regional Marine Plans to be developed in line with the NMP, with a need for further guidance on the development and implementation of Regional Marine Plans to assist Marine Planning Partnerships ( MPPs) and stakeholders in the formation of plans. There were concerns about a lack of guidance on how to inform the preparation of Regional Marine Plans so that, for example, developers can be provided with planning policy certainty and clarity.

3.54 Some respondents specifically raised the issue of reserved matters and for the need for clarity as to how these will be dealt with. As one Local Authority noted:

"Although it is understood that Marine Scotland is working with Local Authorities in the development of a spatial plan for the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters, the National Marine Plan does not describe clearly what will constitute a Regional Marine Plan, how a Marine Partnership will be formed, who will comprise or lead the Partnership, the extent of powers a Partnership might hold, or how it will be resourced. Nor does the NMP mention alternative arrangements for delivery of Regional Marine Planning which are provided by the Marine Act."

3.55 Some respondents felt that the NMP should be indicating how work on regional plans will be resourced. Timescales for their preparation were requested, as well as a clear timetable for their roll out and the need to ensure that adequate resources are made available.

3.56 A number of respondents, mostly in the environment/ conservation sector requested further information on the duties, commitments and obligations of Marine Planning Partnerships and marine users, particularly in relation to nature conservation legislation and policy. They also wanted to see the principles of sustainable development, the ecosystem-based approach and the requirements of nature conservation hierarchy of designations and the requirements of national and international environmental legislation. Another public sector body noted the need to address cumulative environment effects within marine planning and licensing. A public sector organisation requested confirmation that the NMP will be subject to Habitats Regulations Assessment to maintain a coherent approach to marine planning throughout the UK.

3.57 Respondents requested further information on how conflicts would be managed where objectives conflict with each other. One Local Coastal Partnership queried how nationally important projects will be recognised and integrated into regional planning and what this will mean for strategic issues such as planning for defence activities. Respondents from the recreation/ tourism sector queried what functions can be devolved to regional planning. A public sector body asked for detailed guidance on how Marine Planning Partnerships should reconcile their plans with the measures, targets and monitoring related to Marine Strategy Framework Directive regional seas.

3.58 The issue of consistency was raised by some respondents, mostly in the recreation/ tourism sector. It was felt that a list of guiding national principles would ensure consistency across a number of aspects, including approaches to impact assessment and monitoring, data management and information sharing, the legal framework and the consideration of open source spatial data infrastructure. An environment/ conservation organisation summarised a number of key points:

"The National Marine Plan should provide practical guidance on mechanisms for regional marine planning, and should address in more detail decision-making for marine planning and conflict resolution where there are competing demands on marine resources. A roadmap for delivery and timelines should be included. It should also require effective performance monitoring and evaluation of plans and management measures along with feedback mechanisms to allow adaptation as necessary."

Sectoral issues

3.59 Some issues were raised by respondents within specific sectors, mostly by those within the fisheries sector. These included queries over how the national objectives will be taken forward within local plans, and how different sectoral interests will be managed in an integrated fashion. The same respondents highlighted the need for emphasis on the links and working relationships between Marine Planning Partnerships, River Basin Management Plan Advisory Groups, Flood Risk Management Plans and Inshore Fisheries Groups ( IFG). Some queried what the relationship will be between IFG management plans and Regional Marine Plans.

3.60 There were requests, again mostly from fisheries organisations, for a mechanism to help identify key areas for different species, and potential impacts of displaced fishing effort on other areas. They also queried how Strategic Sea Areas would be treated within the proposed planning hierarchy. These respondents also commented that the presumption in favour of sustainable development and use as perceived to favour energy sectors, needs to be offset by a clearer recognition of the economic and food security value of the fisheries sector.

3.61 There were requests from a small number of fisheries organisations for the management of fisheries to be carried out at a national, rather than regional, level.

3.62 One public sector body commented that the NMP should provide a steer on decision rules and strategic priorities when balancing sectoral aspirations in Scottish Marine Regions ( SMRs). This organisation also commented,

"A clear steer from the NMP would help regional marine plans to develop spatial policies that (a) facilitate co-location of sectoral activities where possible, (b) avoid the potential for conflict between sectors that cannot be co-located, (c) avoid impacts on sensitive natural heritage features, and (d) safeguard and, where possible, enhance Natural Capital assets in support of their contribution to sustainable economic development and ecosystem services."

3.63 Whilst not a sectoral issue per se, there were some requests for a greater level of delegation to be given to island authorities. These included functions in relation to preparation of Regional Marine Plans, marine licensing, and Section 36 of the Electricity Act consent for offshore energy generation.

Governance

3.64 Governance is an issue that has already been raised and some respondents also commented there needs to be a clear vision of the structure and governance of the MPPs, with some energy respondents noting that the representative management of Regional Marine Plans will be crucial in their implementation.

The wider geographical implications

3.65 A small number of respondents noted the need for Marine Planning Partnerships to interact with other public authorities such as those in England or Northern Ireland in a collaborative way, for example, to coordinate timings or to ensure there is a UK-wide strategic overview.

A need for data/ greater consultation

3.66 There were requests from a small number of respondents for more data to feed into development of regional planning or for more consultation across key stakeholders at a local level.

Strategic Sea Areas ( SSAs)

3.67 The Draft NMP noted that The Marine Regional Boundaries consultation proposed further integrated management of key marine areas would be achieved by designating the Pentland Firth, the Minches and the mouth of the Clyde as Strategic Sea Areas ( SSAs). Respondents were asked:

Question 4: Should the NMP set out specific marine planning policies for SSAs?

3.68 Fifty-one respondents answered this question, although most did not give a definitive 'yes' or 'no' response. Of those that did, more were in favour of the NMP setting out specific marine planning policies for SSAs than were not in favour. Support came mainly from energy respondents and individuals.

Table 3.4 Question 4: "Should the NMP set out specific marine planning policies for SSAs?"

Respondent group Yes Yes, qualified No Neither yes or no
Individuals (16) 3 - - 2
Academic / scientific (7) - - - -
Aquaculture (5) - - 1 1
Energy (12) 3 - - 1
Environment / conservation (9) 1 - - 5
Fisheries (13) - - - 6
Historic / Heritage (5) - 1 - -
Industry / transport (9) 1 1 - 1
Local Authority (15) - - 1 6
Local coastal partnership (7) - - - 5
Local group (5) 1 - - -
Other public sector (10) - - - 6
Recreation / Tourism (7) - - - 4
Other (4) - - - 1
Total (124) 9 2 2 38

A need for Strategic Sea Areas ( SSAs)?

3.69 Many of the responses to this question provided qualifying statements or queried the need to have SSAs. A key concern was the need for planning policies to ensure coherence and effectiveness at a national level, and the need for the NMP to set out specific marine planning policies for SSAs. As noted by one public sector body, whether SSAs are designated or not, there is a need for appropriate guidance for Marine Planning Partnerships on the integration of plans and key cross-border issues, with co-ordinated timing.

3.70 Regardless of whether or not respondents supported the designation of the SSAs, some respondents queried the management of an SSA if it is covered by different marine regions. For example, an energy company commented:

"[We] note that the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area is covered by three separate proposed Marine Regions and is also the subject of a pilot Marine Spatial Plan which straddles these 3 regions. It is unclear what the linkages will be between the pilot Marine Spatial Plan, the Marine Regional policies and the National Marine Plan policies. On this basis [we] wish to understand in greater detail what the legislative standing of Strategic Sea Areas would be and how the policies associated with these would relate to the policies of other plans. [We] therefore request clarity on which legislation would be used to designate an area with the title 'Strategic Sea Area'."

3.71 A number of respondents queried the need for SSAs and commented that this designation could simply provide unnecessary further complication; for example, whether identification of SSAs would lead to a strategic planning direction or simply another layer of bureaucracy. A Local Authority said that cross-border issues would be dealt with appropriately by the relevant Regional Marine Plan. Another public sector organisation commented that it is not clear what the rationale is for this additional level of planning for SSAs but felt that it would be better to focus efforts on ensuring that objectives and policies within the final NMP reflect priorities in areas like the Pentland Firth. An 'other' organisation commented that if the NMP is developed so that it adequately guides developments in a strategic way within the ecosystem approach, there will be no need for SSAs.

3.72 Calls for greater clarification came primarily from those within the recreation/ tourism and fisheries sectors. Clarification was required on how best to define SSAs, or the relationship between SSAs and Regional Marine Plans. Respondents from the fisheries group wanted further consideration and information on how SSAs could be most effective within the overall planning system.

3.73 A few respondents made suggestions for other areas that could be considered for SSA designation. These included the Forth and Tay regions, Aberdeen Harbour and its adjacent coastline.

3.74 There were also a couple of comments that the three areas identified as SSAs require a more integrated approach, and these respondents requested information on what a 'more integrated' approach would entail.

3.75 A small number of fisheries respondents commented that, if SSAs are designated, there will need to be clear guidance on the policies to be applied; and there were some calls for policies for each area to be developed at a local level to ensure compatibility with Regional Marine Plans that are developed by adjacent Scottish Marine Regions. A public body noted:

"The Draft Scottish Marine Regions Order 2013 establishes the Scottish Marine Regions out to 12 nautical miles and this would appear to ensure all relevant marine areas would be covered by a regional plan. [We] acknowledge that Strategic Sea Areas could potentially be useful where these locations cover areas in two or more Regional Plans. [We] recommend early discussions on any additional policies applicable above those required for the Scottish Marine Regional Plans.

Sustainable development

3.76 Respondents were asked:

Question 5: Are the objectives and policies in the NMP appropriate to ensure they further the achievement of sustainable development, including protection and, where appropriate, enhancement of the health of the sea?

3.77 As the following table shows, 65 respondents provided a response to this question, some of whom reiterated points made at earlier questions.

3.78 Where a definitive response was provided, the most positive groups were aquaculture, energy, Local Authorities and industry/ transport. Least positive were respondents in the environment/ conservation, historic/ heritage and fisheries sectors.

Table 3.5 Question 5: Are the objectives and policies in the NMP appropriate to ensure they further the achievement of sustainable development, including protection and, where appropriate, enhancement of the health of the sea?

Respondent group Yes Yes, qualified No Neither yes or no
Individuals (16) 1 - 2 2
Academic / scientific (7) 1 - - 1
Aquaculture (5) 2 1 - -
Energy (12) 3 3 1 1
Environment / conservation (9) - 1 4 2
Fisheries (13) - 2 3 1
Historic / Heritage (5) - - 2 -
Industry / transport (9) 3 - - -
Local Authority (15) 2 7 - 1
Local coastal partnership (7) 1 1 - 4
Local group (5) - 1 - -
Other public sector (10) 2 1 - 2
Recreation / Tourism (7) 1 - 1 3
Other (4) - 1 - 1
Total (124) 16 18 13 18

3.79 A number of respondents referred to responses they had given at other questions, some consistent themes emerged in other responses.

3.80 A number of respondents welcomed different aspects of the objectives and policies, such as the commitment to sustainable development and the commitment to using and developing sound science as a basis for managing marine areas. That said, a few respondents felt that the objectives, while being broad and encompassing, would be difficult to realise and suggested the Draft NMP lacks tangible outputs. Indeed, a number of respondents commented that the Draft NMP misrepresents the five guiding principles of sustainable development; and an organisation in the environment/ conservation sector suggested that the Draft NMP should be consistent with the wording in the Scottish Government's draft Scottish Planning Policy document (paras 24 and 25, Page 8).

3.81 There were calls for a system to monitor, evaluate and review progress against each of the objectives, as well as reporting on the success of outcomes.

3.82 Some respondents also requested clarity on how to manage objectives that have the potential to conflict with each other. Two public bodies asked for a balanced approach where there are conflicting needs; as well as a balance between the cost of achieving environmental improvements and the overall impact achieved.

3.83 There was also a perception that the NMP should provide a clear steer on what the strategic priorities are when balancing competing sector proposals. There were calls from a small number of respondents for the NMP to be more clear about what is an acceptable development and what is not, with one commenting that land use planning forbids development of any sort within Scotland's national parks and that something similar should be applied in Scotland's marine areas. A few respondents, primarily within the fisheries sector, commented on the need for more guidance and a national overview for marine planners to be able to evaluate competing proposals, which could feed into decisions at a regional level.

3.84 A number of respondents, primarily in the environment/ conservation and fisheries sectors commented that the Draft NMP misrepresents the guiding principle of sustainable development. Furthermore, there were some views that this does not deliver on the duties of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, the requirements of Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Water Framework Directive, or international and EU obligations regarding sustainable development and environmental protection.

3.85 There were queries over the use of the terms 'sustainable development' and 'sustainable economic growth' which some respondents felt mean very different things but are used interchangeably throughout the Draft NMP. This was perceived to confuse the meaning of both and create confusion. There were some calls for the term 'sustainable economic growth' to be removed from the NMP. Linked to this, there were some calls to define 'sustainable development' according to the key specific objectives of the Draft NMP.

3.86 There were some requests to provide a better definition of sustainability; or to clarify the definition of sustainable development and sustainable economic growth and provide an explanation as to how they both relate to environmental objectives laid out in other documentation or legislation, for example, in the EU Habitats Directive.

3.87 A number of respondents, primarily in the environment/ conservation and recreation/ tourism sectors, felt there is limited reference to Scotland's three pillar approach which forms the basis of the Strategy for Marine Nature Conservation in Scotland's Seas. This was of particular concern given the context of ecological concern and deterioration highlighted in Scotland's Marine Atlas.

3.88 The issue of a mismatch between sectoral objectives and policies, and the strategic outcomes and other sectoral policies was reiterated in a number of ways. For example, respondents in the recreation/ tourism sector commented that sustainable development is at risk from external factors and the success of some policies will be dependent on effective action within the land use area. Some respondents welcomed the incorporation of High Level Management Objectives ( HLMOs) and Good Environmental Status ( GES) indicators along with climate change and sector specific objectives and felt that these underpin sustainable development. However, there were also comments from others, primarily in the environmental/ conservation sector that the relationship between the objectives and following general and sectoral policies was not clear and that all should be cross-referenced to ensure they are in accordance with HLMOs and GES indicators. A public sector body commented that some sectoral objectives and policies have aspirational economic growth targets that may not be compatible with the strategic outcomes and other sectoral policies.

3.89 As noted by an organisation in the academic/ scientific sector:

"In general, there is a good articulation of policy objectives ( e.g. those for Marine Strategy Framework Directive ( MSFD) and High Level Marine Objectives ( HLMOs)) however there could be more input on how these should be considered / integrated within a marine planning context. Solely mentioning them and that Regional Marine Plans must "have regard to" or "must be able to accommodate the measures [of MSFD]" isn't sufficiently directive in proactively ensuring that national and consistent mechanisms are established to facilitate the achievement of these objectives in a cost-effective way. Explicit recognition of the overlapping objectives of MSFD and marine planning (and SEA, etc.) should provide for the development of national actions to ensure that, for example, monitoring activities are planned in a co-ordinated manner, ensuring that resources spent on data collection are rationalised and used efficiently."

3.90 Other issues, raised by smaller numbers of respondents included:

  • Acknowledgement in the Draft NMP for the potential to contribute to national renewable energy and climate change targets, and to have a clear presumption in favour of renewable energy and / or sustainable development in non-sensitive locations; this came from respondents within the energy sector;
  • There needs to be full integration of the use and sustainable management of sea and coast, with strategically equal priority to all the objectives;
  • A need for the Plan to make clear that environmental limits encompass the marine historic environment and demonstrate clearly how the management and protection of heritage assets is integrated into an ecosystems approach to the management of Scotland's seas (this comment came from respondents within the historic/ heritage sector);
  • There is a lack of scientific data within the Draft NMP, with a need for policies that explicitly support scientific research and monitoring;
  • Sustainable developments needs to be underpinned by data and a better understanding of marine processes;
  • Objectives and policies need to be rebalanced to meet the needs of the ecosystem-based approach; these comments came from respondents within the environment/ conservation sector;
  • There should be a separate chapter in the final NMP to reflect the marine conservation objectives of the strategy; these comments came from respondents within the environment/ conservation sector;
  • A need to clarify what is meant by community and better recognition of coastal communities;
  • Specific sector chapters contain economic and environmental assessments of the sector but do not contain a social analysis, which is the third pillar of sustainability;
  • The Draft NMP as it stands does not meet the needs of climate change legislation; these comments came from respondents within the environment/ conservation sector;
  • A need for reference to ecosystem goods and services in general policies.

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