The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters supports a diverse marine economy and a vast majority of the area is used for multiple activities. This means there is a potential for competition and conflict. The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters was chosen to pilot the development of a marine spatial plan to support sustainable management of the area’s seas. It aims to balance the needs of local communities and marine economic activities whilst protecting the environment on which they depend. The pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan is being developed by a working group that includes Marine Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council.
This pilot Plan aims to put in place a planning policy framework in advance of statutory regional marine planning to support sustainable decision making on marine use and management. Through the process of producing the pilot Plan, there have been many lessons learned, which will be published shortly, to inform the preparation of future regional marine plans and the governance arrangements that could underpin Marine Planning Partnerships. It is also anticipated that the pilot Plan will establish a useful basis for the preparation of the two future regional marine plans for Orkney and the North Coast Scottish Marine Regions.