5. Other potential alternatives not considered further
5.1 The following scenarios were suggested by some respondents to the September 2018 consultation:
1. no designations; and
2. designating alternative areas to those proposed.
5.2 Marine Scotland does not consider that a scenario of ‘no designations’ would fulfil statutory obligations under the Birds Directive. Therefore, this is not considered to be a ‘reasonable alternative’ within the meaning of the 2005 Act.
5.3 Alternative areas have already been considered by SNH and JNCC and rejected as part of the site selection process, as detailed in the ‘Overview of the Scottish marine Special Protection Area selection process’ document. This document outlines the process of selecting the “most suitable territories” for SPAs, as required by the Birds Directive (see section 2.1) and provides information on why alternative areas were considered not to be the “most suitable territories”. For this reason, the alternative areas are not considered to be ‘reasonable alternatives’ under the 2005 Act.