Scotland's National Marine Plan - A Single Framework for Managing Our Seas


Title: Scotland's National Marine Plan - A Single Framework for Managing Our Seas
Authors: Marine Scotland
Publication Date:
March 01, 2015
Document Number: SG/2015/36
Pages: 144
Sponsoring Organization:

Document Access

Website: External Link
Attachment: Access File
(24 MB)


Marine Scotland (2015). Scotland's National Marine Plan - A Single Framework for Managing Our Seas. Report by Marine Scotland Science. pp 144.
  1. This Plan covers both Scottish inshore waters (out to 12 nautical miles) and offshore waters (12 to 200 nautical miles). It also applies to the exercise of both reserved and devolved functions.
  2. Under devolution, the Scottish Parliament can legislate in relation to activities affecting the marine environment in Scotland’s inshore waters, except for reserved matters. The UK Parliament legislates for Scotland’s offshore waters, but certain matters in this area have been executively devolved. Marine planning matters in Scotland’s inshore waters are governed by the Marine (Scotland) Act 20101, an Act of the Scottish Parliament, and in its offshore waters by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 20092, an Act of the UK Parliament.
  3. The two Acts (referred to as the Marine Acts) established a new legislative and management framework for the marine environment allowing the competing demands on the sea to be managed in a sustainable way across all of Scotland’s seas. Under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 Scottish Ministers must prepare and adopt a National Marine Plan covering Scottish inshore waters. In addition, the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 requires Scottish Ministers to seek to ensure that a marine plan is in place in the offshore region when a Marine Policy Statement3 is in effect.
  4. The Scottish and United Kingdom Governments have agreed that a marine plan for Scotland’s inshore waters and a marine plan covering Scottish offshore waters will be published in one document and will be collectively referred to as the ‘National Marine Plan’. However, we recognise that the ‘National Marine Plan’ comprises of two Plans made under two separate pieces of legislation therefore unless otherwise stated, policies within this Plan apply to both inshore and offshore waters. The National Marine Plan will not affect reserved functions within inshore waters until a direction is made under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (Consequential Provisions) Order 20104.
  5. All of the procedural requirements which are set down in the Marine Acts, including those which are in Schedule 1 to the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 in relation to the Plan for inshore waters, and Schedule 6 to the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 in relation to the plan for offshore waters, have been complied with in relation to this Plan.
  6. This Plan has been prepared in accordance with, and gives consideration to, the EU Directive 2014/89/EU which came into force in July 2014. The Directive introduces a framework for maritime spatial planning and aims to promote the sustainable development of marine areas and the sustainable use of marine resources. It also sets out a number of minimum requirements all of which have been addressed in this plan. In particular, Chapters 4 and 6-16 demonstrate how our planning process contributes to the sustainable development of those objectives set out at article 5(2) of the Directive as well as other objectives relevant to the Plan area. In doing so, and in accordance with article 5(3) of the Directive, we have considered a wide range of sectoral uses and activities and have determined how these different objectives are reflected and weighted in the Marine Plan. Land-sea interactions have also been taken into account as part of the marine planning process. Involvement of stakeholders has been central to the development of this plan and full details of the procedures and processes used, including those to ensure stakeholder engagement and cross-boundary working are set out in the Statement of Public Participation5.
  7. The requirement to prepare an assessment of the condition of the Scottish marine area including a summary of the significant pressures and human impacts has been met through the publication of Scotland’s Marine Atlas: Information for the National Marine Plan6. An interactive GIS portal – National Marine Plan interactive (NMPi)7 – has been developed to display the spatial data which underpinned the Atlas. NMPi is referenced throughout this Plan where relevant and will continue to be updated throughout the lifetime of this Plan.
  8. Information on marine planning, including a topic sheet providing an overview of this Plan and separate summary document of the policies and objectives contained in this Plan, is available on National Marine Plan Online (NMPO)8.
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