We are delighted to publish this Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Scotland. It is the culmination of over 2 years of extensive analysis, consideration and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders.
When we published the draft Plan in December 2019, we outlined our intention that it would maximise the benefits for Scotland, our communities and our people, striking a balance between economic, social and environmental needs. During the consultation we received 443 written responses and heard the views expressed at 17 events in coastal communities throughout the country. We are sincerely grateful to everyone who took the time to engage with us. We hope that the changes made in this final Plan demonstrate that we have listened to these wide ranging views. We believe that in bringing forward this Plan we have achieved our aim of delivering a Plan that is as ambitious as it is balanced.
Of course, since we concluded the consultation in March, the country has experienced an unprecedented challenge to our economy and society as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stakes, therefore, could not be higher in terms of the need to deliver on the huge industrial and economic potential of offshore wind. However, we must do so in a way that minimises impacts on other marine users and the environment, and ensures that our economic recovery is consistent with our climate ambitions and our transition to a net-zero society.
It is clear from both the feedback received during the consultation and as we strive to deliver a green recovery and meet our ambitious targets for net zero and build our Blue Economy, that our waters offer significant potential to maximise those opportunities in Scotland. Those opportunities, however, will also require some ambitious and bold decisions about how we best manage the marine environment to meet these targets. This Plan marks an important step in this process but also acknowledges some of the challenges we face. We will strive to address these challenges fairly and with the support of stakeholders and the necessary scientific research and evidence.
To-date we have seen substantial investment in offshore wind in Scotland, including the deployment of the world's first floating offshore wind farm at the Hywind Scotland Pilot Park and the successful completion of the Beatrice windfarm, the fourth largest offshore wind farm in the world. The publication of this Plan, and the associated ScotWind leasing round, launched by Crown Estate Scotland in June, represents the beginning of the next chapter. Many challenges still lie ahead, and we are clear in the Plan that this is the start of a process, not the end.
In the coming months we will set out further details of how we will take forward the necessary actions required by the Plan. We want to continue on this journey as we have up until now, by continuing to engage our key stakeholders who care so passionately about our marine environment and resources.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback