Publication - Strategy/plan

Sectoral marine plan: post adoption statement

Sets out the changes between the draft and final sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy in accordance with Section 18(3) of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the 2005 Act”).

Sectoral marine plan: post adoption statement
E Governance Structure for Monitoring Plan Implementation

E Governance Structure for Monitoring Plan Implementation

E.1 Changes made between the draft and final Plans

A formal governance structure is required to support the implementation of the Plan and facilitate the iterative plan review process. The outputs of the consultation exercise have been used to refine the governance structure for the Plan, with some amendments and clarifications now provided in the final Plan:

  • The function of the proposed Annual Forum will be undertaken via a the 'Sectoral Evidence Group';
  • The 'Governance Board' will now be named the 'Sectoral Planning Programme Board';
  • The membership of the Technical Advisory Group has now been confirmed; An Ornithology Working Group will now be established, to support the Technical Advisory Group and Sectoral Planning Programme Board, comprising of relevant stakeholders, to consider the research requirements in relation to Plan Options subject to plan-level ornithological mitigation measures (E1-E3, NE2-NE4 and NE6); and
  • A 'Sectoral Evidence Group', comprising of a wide range of sectoral interests, will be formed to provide representation and evidence to both the Technical Advisory Group and Programme Board, as required, and at least on an annual basis as per the conclusions of the HRA (i.e. the requirement to undertake an Annual Forum).

E.2 Roles and responsibilities

The Governance Structure will be established as follows, in order to facilitate the implementation of the Plan. Table 7 below provides a summary of the roles and responsibilities for relevant groups and organisations and Figure 4 provides an overview of the structure, roles and responsibilities.

Table 7 Governance structure - roles and responsibilities
Group Role/Function
Scottish Ministers
  • Responsible for approving and adopting the SMP
  • Responsible for approving amendments/updates to the SMP
  • Responsible for granting/refusing consent/licenses for individual offshore wind projects
  • The final decision making power rests with Scottish Ministers.
Sectoral Planning Programme Board
  • Comprised of key officials from relevant policy areas across Scottish Government, as well as representatives from Marine Planning and Policy, Marine Scotland ("MPP").
  • Considers advice and evidence received from Technical Advisory Group, Ornithology Working Group and Sectoral Evidence Group.
  • Provides recommendations to Scottish Ministers regarding the need to revise or update the Plan (iterative plan review process), including the need and scope of further assessment. This will be on the basis of the evidence submitted to it, which may justify the need to revise or update the Plan.
  • External advice may be sought as appropriate.
  • Chair: Deputy Director, Marine Scotland
  • Secretariat: MPP
  • The group will meet at least once per annum, or more frequently if circumstances require.
Technical Advisory Group
  • Comprised of representatives from the statutory consultation bodies - NatureScot, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee ("JNCC"), Historic Environment Scotland ("HES") and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency ("SEPA").
  • In addition, representatives from Marine Scotland Science ("MSS") and MPP will be formal members of the Technical Advisory Group.
  • Chair: Head of Planning, Development and Crown Estate Strategy Unit, MPP
  • Secretariat: MPP
  • Meets on at least an annual basis to consider Plan-level issues.
  • Provides advice and report to the Programme Board regarding continued application of plan-level mitigation measures, the need for revisions to the Plan (as adopted) and further research/evidence/guidance requirements.
  • This advice will be informed by consideration of the evidence provided during by the Sectoral Evidence Group, consideration of other policy, legislative and regulatory changes which have occurred over the time period, outputs of project-level assessment and other research programmes and the spatial context (i.e. development which takes place after adoption of the SMP).
  • The evidence submitted and considered may likely pertain to fields outside the expertise of members of the Technical Advisory Group (e.g. fisheries). In such cases, the Technical Advisory Group (and Programme Board) will be required to seek further advice and representation from the relevant stakeholders (i.e. from the Sectoral Evidence Group). These views will support the formulation of advice and production of the Report.
  • The decision has been taken to restrict membership of this group to the statutory consultees (as defined by the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005), with the addition of JNCC given geographic coverage of the Plan. Other stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide input via the Evidence Group and as above if issues pertaining to their area of interest arise.
Sectoral Evidence Group
  • Formed of a wide range of sectoral interests (i.e. drawn from the current Steering Groups formed to support the planning process), i.e. commercial fisheries, commercial shipping and navigation, renewables industry.
  • Membership shall be as follows; Crown Estate Scotland; Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Marine Scotland Science; Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups; RSPB Scotland; Scottish Enterprise; Scottish Fishermen's Federation; Scottish Government; Scottish Renewables; UK Chamber of Shipping; and WWF Scotland.
  • The exact operation of this group will be confirmed following adoption of the Plan.
  • This grouping will be asked to provide evidence/representations to support the iterative plan review process or may be asked to provide further representations/evidence to the Programme Board and/or Technical Advisory Board on specific issues.
  • This grouping will be able to provide further evidence (relevant to the implementation of the Plan and the iterative plan review process) as it becomes available, for consideration by the Technical Advisory Group and Programme Board however, at a minimum an annual call will seek any relevant responses.
Ornithology Working Group
  • Formed of relevant ornithology experts (drawn from the current ScotMER ornithology receptor group), i.e. NatureScot, JNCC, MSS and Scottish Environment Link ("SE Link").
  • Crown Estate Scotland will also be formal members of this group.
  • Chair: MPP
  • Secretariat: MPP
Role in relation to application of Plan-level mitigation measures for Plan Options E1 and E2 (Figure 5)
  • To be formed immediately upon adoption of the Plan to define the scope and nature of regional surveys and research work, including assessment of survey outputs, in relation to development within Plan Options E1 and E2.
  • The recommendations will be formed in consultation with relevant Option Agreement holders (or their representatives). Option Agreement holders, however, will not form part of the membership of the Ornithology Working Group.
  • The Ornithology Working Group will then provide advice to the Programme Board (this is due to the replication of members on the Technical Advisory Group with the relevant expertise and to avoid unnecessary duplication). The Programme Board will then confirm the final survey and research requirements and these details will be communicated to developers via Marine Scotland.
  • Developers will be advised to complete the surveys and assessment by Marine Scotland, prior to the submission of any licence/consent application.
  • Survey and assessment outputs should be provided by developers to the Ornithology Working Group, prior to the submission of any licence and consent applications, in the format directed by Marine Scotland, to support the iterative plan review process and further planning and licensing/consenting decision-making processes.
Wider role – iterative plan review process, application of plan-level mitigation measures (i.e. E3, NE2-NE4 and NE6), defining research requirements
  • To assist in identifying and addressing evidence gaps (relating to ornithology) that constrain potential development within the Plan Options and are required to be addressed to inform future planning exercises.
  • The Working Group will provide guidance in the production of an 'Ornithology Roadmap', which will be prepared by a contractor(s) (appointment process currently underway). The Roadmap will identify ongoing research and any specific actions required to produce the evidence base for assessing ornithological constraints.
  • Upon completion of the Roadmap, the Working Group will work with the appointed contractor(s) to support the production of a 'Programme of Works' – a detailed programme of works to address strategic research projects that can be implemented within the short to medium term to initiate Roadmap actions.
  • The Working Group will also be asked to;
    • Provide views regarding the continued application of plan-level mitigation measures in relation to Plan Options E1-E3, NE2-NE4 and NE6;
    • To provide advice/views regarding whether further research or guidance is required to inform planning and consenting; and
    • Consider the findings of future project-level assessments, relevant research programmes and the wider spatial context and provide advice regarding the potential implications of these changes for the Plan (as adopted).

Figure 4 Governance structure - roles and responsibilities

Evidence Group
The Evidence group will:

  • Be asked to consider and propose any new evidence which could require the Plan to be reviewed/revised, on at least an annual basis (although evidence can be provided as it emerges).
  • Members of the Evidence Group will provide further advice/representations to the Advisory Group and Programme Board, as required.

Advisory Group
The Advisory Group will be asked to:

  • Facilitate and provide input into the Annual Call for Evidence;
  • Take further advice and/or representation from relevant stakeholders (where required); and
  • Provide advice to the programme Board on the outputs of the Annual Call for evidence and emerging research, in accordance with members’ roles as statutory consultation bodies.

Sectoral Plan Programme Board/Scottish Ministers
Scottish Government decision whether to review the Plan.

  • The Programme Board can request further advice or representation from the sectoral Evidence Group, the Advisory Group or Ornithology Working Group, if necessary.

Figure 5 Regional Survey Requirements (Plan Options E1 and E2) - Process

Defining the scope

  • Autumn 2020 -Ornithology Working Group established upon adoption of the Plan.
  • Ornithology Working Group participates in the Roadmap and Programme of Works Research Projects to inform the necessary scope of works.

Advice & direction

  • Option Agreements awarded by Crown Estate Scotland.
  • Ornithology Working Group meets with relevant Option Agreement holders to discuss scope of necessary research and survey work and assessment methodologies. Working Group provides advice to Programme Board regarding scope of work. Programme Board considers advice and confirms requirements.
  • Marine Scotland provides advice to Option Agreement holders regarding the scope and nature of work required.

Undertake work

  • Option Agreement holders undertake necessary survey and research work as directed (can be completed in conjunction with site-specific surveys).
  • Outputs should be provided to the Ornithology Working Group in the manner prescribed (including interim-reports, as requested).

Iterative plan review

  • Option Agreement holders pursue licence and consent applications, informed by the outputs of this research work.
  • Outputs from regional-level survey, research and assessment work informs the iterative plan review process.
  • Outputs will also inform licensing and consenting decisions.

E.3 Iterative plan review process

The iterative plan review process has been implemented to allow for changes in the underpinning evidence base and the outcomes of ongoing/future research and monitoring programmes to be considered and incorporated into the Plan. With each iteration of the Plan, understanding about relevant issues and risks will be progressively enhanced, as ongoing research and monitoring programmes provide further information about species' sensitivities, the effectiveness of mitigation measures and empirical data re: impacts.

The iterative plan review process also provides an important avenue for collaboration between governmental bodies, non-governmental bodies and industry on research issues and the determination of a consistent and comprehensive evidence baseline to inform decision-making processes at both strategic and project levels.

New evidence and data which could affect the implementation of the Plan may be the result of technological advances, scientific evidence, project monitoring and the result of project-level assessment. The spatial context for the Plan may change as development progresses and this changing context will need to be taken account of within future iterations of the Plan.

The Plan will be subject to an initial biennial review once adopted (i.e. next anticipated October 2022). This timetable may, however, be amended if there is sufficient justification to do so (for example, the intention to undertake a further commercial-scale seabed leasing round prior to this date). The biennial review will be supplemented by any information or evidence submitted by the Sectoral Evidence Group, to identify new and relevant information or evidence which may have a bearing on the Plan, on a regular basis. Members of the Sectoral Evidence Group, Technical Advisory Group and Programme Board will be able to provide relevant representation/evidence as it becomes available for consideration.

There is no expectation that the review process will alter the Plan Options, but it will guide the scale, extent and location of developments within the Plan Option boundaries. With each iteration of the Plan, understanding about the relevant issues and risks will be progressively enhanced, as ongoing research and monitoring programmes provide further information about species sensitives, the effectiveness of mitigation measures and empirical data re: impacts.

In the event that Scottish Ministers determine that the Plan should be fully reviewed, further assessment and consultation may be required. It is likely that this would be done in a manner similar to this process, but this will be confirmed at the appropriate juncture.

E.3.1 Iterative plan review – key steps

Section 11.5 of the Habitats Regulations Appraisal provided an outline of the proposed iterative plan review cycle for the first two years following adoption of the Plan. The key steps identified are outlined below:

Table 8 Iterative plan review – Key steps (Years 1 and 2)

Creating and updating the Project Impacts and Mitigation Evaluation Framework

Identifying high priority research projects to fill knowledge gaps and further the evidence base for decision-making. The outputs from the programme will be used to update project level impacts and mitigation measures (see further, Table 2, J1 and J2 of the HRA Report) as appropriate.

The framework identifies all extant projects and compilation of key documents in a single location. This will assist with project implementation and development by alerting all interested parties to the key issues and opportunities which exist.

Project Assessment and Review (process)

As individual project-level Environmental Impact Assessments, Habitats Regulation Appraisal and Appropriate Assessments are undertaken, these documents will be collated and reviewed on an on-going basis. Acknowledgement will continue to be given to those assessments which have already been completed for constructed/consented projects.

Project Monitoring and Review (process)

As projects are consented and move forward, there will be the completion, collation and dissemination of project-level monitoring (across a range of receptors). This will include monitoring work undertaken for projects emerging from the Plan, but also other UK and European projects.

It is envisaged that there will be collaboration between developers and regulators and that, as often as possible, there would be integrated work taken across sectors and projects. Mechanisms for such collaboration already exist via ORJIP, KTN, OWiX, PRIMaRE, the Habitats Directive Implementation Review (England) and Marine Scotland's ongoing strategic research.

Project Mitigation and Review (process)

Directly accompanying the monitoring review, there should be an evaluation of the efficacy of established mitigation measures. Research is currently being undertaken by Marine Scotland, Crown Estate Scotland, Moray Firth Regional Advisory Group and Forth and Tay Regional Advisory Group into the effectiveness of mitigation measures and such reviews will provide a valuable contribution to this part of the iterative plan review process.

Progression of strategic-level monitoring and research (process)

Alongside project-level work, strategic-level work will seek to address identified gaps in understanding. Particularly in relation to aspects such as seabird and cetacean distribution, collision mortality of seabirds, migratory pathways, seabird behaviour at sea and seabird body-mass survival rates. These topics are being progressed through Marine Scotland via the ScotMER programme.

Review gaps in understanding

Building on the reviews of the above, there will be an evaluation of the gaps in understanding and of progress made to address these gaps.

Review status of future projects in the context of research and planning developments

Regular reviews will be taken about future projects to be implemented and the need for Plan revisions. These reviews will be based on the above information and will also take into account marine spatial planning requirements, ongoing industry-led research, as well as future marine protected areas (or other designations).

These reviews will also consider any legislative, regulatory or policy developments relevant to the Plan (e.g. Climate Change and renewable energy generation targets, net-zero ambitions). If required, revisions may be made to the Plan at an early point in the iterative plan review cycle.

E.3.2 Annual Forum (now Sectoral Evidence Group)

The HRA Report stated that an Annual Forum to consider emerging evidence and research and any regulatory/legislative/policy updates would be held. This function will now be facilitated via the 'Sectoral Evidence Group', to minimise the resourcing burden for stakeholders. The Sectoral Evidence Group will form a key part of the iterative plan review process and an annual call for representation/evidence will be implemented.

The scope of evidence submitted will be restricted to ensure it is only relevant to the Plan and its implementation. Discussions within the Sectoral Evidence Group could follow a similar approach to that taken recently regarding consideration and discussion of emerging assessment methodologies for projects in the Forth and Tay region (2020). Further details regarding this process will be provided in due course.

The evidence submitted may have arisen as a result of technological advances, scientific evidence, project survey and monitoring (including of the effectiveness of mitigation measures) and or as the result of project-level assessments. The request for new evidence to support iterative plan review should not be considered as an opportunity for further public consultation on the Plan. Should sufficient evidence be presented, which Scottish Ministers consider justifies the need to review the Plan, then public consultation will occur at this stage.

Members of the two Steering Groups formed to support the planning process will form the Sectoral Evidence Group which will be approached to provide relevant evidence. The Steering Group members were as follows:-

  • Crown Estate Scotland;
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise;
  • Historic Environment Scotland;
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee;
  • Marine Scotland Science;
  • NatureScot;
  • Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups;
  • RSPB Scotland;
  • Scottish Enterprise;
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency;
  • Scottish Fishermen's Federation;
  • Scottish Government;
  • Scottish Renewables;
  • UK Chamber of Shipping; and
  • WWF Scotland.

Those organisations that are on the Technical Advisory Group will not also be on the Sectoral Evidence Group.

In addition, the chairs of the ScotMER Receptor-Specific groups and Regional Marine Planning Partnerships would be approached to provide any relevant evidence or advice. Local authorities would also be contacted. Other representative bodies and stakeholders, such as Fisheries Management Scotland, will also be approached.

Evidence submitted will be considered by the Technical Advisory Group for its relevance and appropriateness. A summary of all evidence provided (as it may likely pertain to fields outside the expertise of members of the Technical Advisory Group, e.g. fisheries) will be summarised and presented to the Programme Board by officials. Where members of the Technical Advisory Group do not have the specific knowledge/expertise to assess this evidence, the Technical Advisory Group will be required to seek further advice/representation from the relevant topic specialists (e.g. drawn from the Sectoral Evidence Group).

The Programme Board will then use this information to provide recommendations to Ministers regarding whether there is the need to review the SMP at this juncture (e.g. earlier than the planned review at Year 2) or whether the SMP remains reflective of current scientific understanding and knowledge. This report will be published online.

The Programme Board and Technical Advisory Group will also consider evidence submitted in light of other policy, legislative and regulatory changes which have occurred over the time period and the spatial context. Further, we anticipate that we will have an improved understanding of transmission and grid connection issues, as individual projects progress through the pipeline, which may have a bearing on the SMP.


Contact

Email: sectoralmarineplanning@gov.scot