About Marine Planning in Scotland
The Scottish Government states that "In Scotland, the coasts and seas provide food, energy sources (wind, wave and tidal power, minerals and fossil fuels), routes and harbours for shipping, tourism and recreational opportunities and sites of cultural and historical interest. They also contain distinctive and important habitats and support a diverse range of species which we need to protect, conserve and enhance. These all need to be managed effectively."
The introduction of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 means the Scottish Government now has the authority to introduce statutory marine planning for Scotland's seas.
A National Marine Plan will manage increasing demands for the use of our marine environment, encourage economic development of marine industries and incorporate environmental protection into marine decision making. It will also have a role to play in managing adaptation to climate change.
Where national marine planning sets the wider context for planning within Scotland, regional marine planning will allow more local ownership and decision making about the specific issues within a smaller area.
The aim will be to develop a system of regional marine plans for Scottish waters.
The Scottish Government is developing Plans for Offshore Wind, Wave and Tidal Energy in Scottish Waters. These Plans will explore how offshore wind, wave and tidal energy can contribute to meeting Scotland’s target of generating the equivalent of 100% of electricity demand from renewable sources and also seek to maximise the contribution of these technologies to achieving a low carbon economy.
Given the dynamic nature of the marine environment, it is important that marine planning is undertaken in an international context, recognising that activity carried out elsewhere can have a significant impact on Scottish waters and vice versa.
The Scottish Government works closely with a range of interests within the UK and Europe to ensure that the development of a marine planning system for Scottish waters aligns appropriately with other frameworks being created. It also helps to ensure a consistent approach, where necessary, whilst also ensuring Scottish interests are properly represented.
Key activites have been:
A joint Ministerial Committee Agreement on marine management, giving Scotland more responsbility for planning and nature conservation
A joint Ministerial Marine Planning Statement, detailing the commitment between Scotland and England to work together on marine planning
The development of a UK Marine Policy Statement, to set the high level context for marine planning, UK-wide
The requirement, through the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, to develop national strategies on how to achieve Good Environmental Status by 2020
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