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Marine Planning

Key facts

  • A new statutory marine planning system to manage the increasing, and often conflicting, demands on our seas.
  • For the first time, a strategic framework - a National Marine Plan - to give greater clarity to decision making in the marine environment.
  • Marine Plans will reduce uncertainty for marine developers and encourage economic investment.
  • Executive devolution of marine planning in the Scottish offshore zone will allow for the creation of one National Marine Plan for all of Scotland's seas.
  • Local planning delivered within Scottish Marine Regions by Marine Planning Partnerships.
  • Strong stakeholder engagement is key. Stakeholders will participate in local Marine Planning Partnerships, increasing transparency and accountability.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to produce marine plans?

  • The national marine plan will take approximately two years to produce after Royal Assent.
  • A regional marine plan could also take around two years to produce.
  • Existing and new data collection will help inform decisions.

Will there be a plan for all of Scotland's seas?

  • The national marine plan will cover all of Scotland's seas and will identify major strategic projects.
  • If there are no specific activities in an area, a plan may not be necessary.

How will Scottish Marine Regions be created - what will they be responsible for?

  • The number of Scottish Marine regions is currently being considered.
  • Marine Scotland commissioned the Scottish Coastal Forum to carry out a short project to establish external stakeholders' views on how Scottish Marine Regions could be defined. Public and local opinion is important to the process and a consultation will be held before boundaries are set in secondary legislation.
  • A Marine Planning Partnership will be responsible for marine planning and integrated coastal zone management for each marine region. The partnership will comprise someone nominated by the Scottish Ministers, as well as one or more public authorities and/or stakeholders.

How will stakeholders be involved in the planning process?

  • It is important to harness stakeholder opinion. The draft national marine plan and regional marine plans will be consulted upon.
  • Strong stakeholder engagement is key. Stakeholders will participate in local Marine Planning Partnerships, increasing transparency and accountability.

How will marine planning be enforced?

  • Marine developments require a licence which will be issued in accordance with the marine plans.

How will competition for marine space be managed?

  • For the first time there will be a strategic framework of marine planning for decision making in the marine environment.
  • At a local level, Marine Planning Partnerships within Scottish Marine Regions will develop local marine plans taking into account local factors within the strategy provided by the National Marine Plan.

How will you deliver Integrated Coastal Zone Management?

  • Marine plans will be required to be compatible with terrestrial plans.
  • Marine Planning Partnerships will provide a formal mechanism for the management of marine issues in the near shore area along with conflict resolution.