This report sets out the options developed as part of the planning process for the South Inshore and the South Offshore Marine Plan Areas. Options development is part of the planning process that looks at alternative approaches to developing a plan, in order to address issues raised and achieve the plan objectives.
The report has been developed for informal consultation on the options; the associated suggested plan policies have been provided to both illustrate and differentiate between the options presented. They are at a very early stage of development, but include the policies provides a starting point for discussion on draft plan policies with government and stakeholders. As part of an iterative process these policies will be subject to further discussions and refinement as the plans progress.
The options stage is a significant phase in the planning process; it considers the different ways of delivering the Vision and Objectives and is the mechanism that produces draft plan policies, which in turn provide the basis for decision-making using the plan (putting the plan into effect). Options offer the opportunity to assess the various pros and cons of different policy variants, including examination of types and combinations of policies, and the evidence to substantiate a preferred option. Interrogation via the options process, including examination of policies, also allows for a greater understanding of exactly what it is a plan can achieve and where it can complement existing measures.
Options development, like the planning process as a whole, is iterative and it is important to note that the draft policies set out in this report and accompanying spreadsheet, whilst thought to be realistic and achievable, are not yet finalised. This phase in the plans’ development aims to facilitate consideration of possible policy choices by comparing and contrasting the options set out in this report. As a result of consultation, a preferred option will be selected and progressed. It is possible that a combination of more than one of the options presented will be developed as the preferred option.
At this stage the Marine Management Organisation would like to invite stakeholders to focus on the difference between what each option will achieve, and the overall intent of policies within the option. It is anticipated that once a preferred option has been selected, further work will take place to ensure that the wording of policies is clear and consistent. This will ensure that they offer clarity to decision makers in how and when they will be applied and support policy application.
In addition to ensuring that core issues have been addressed, the policy variants presented in the accompanying spreadsheet have been selected as realistic combinations of policies that make sense as a ‘package’ rather than containing significant conflicts. Draft policy variants within an option have been selected for their compatibility as well as their ability to address the issues. Whilst the plan policies aim to be realistic based on current policy, evidence and the planning process so far, some of the policies are quite ambitious or strong in a deliberate attempt to differentiate between options. That should help facilitate a comparison between options and, as such, stimulate a response from consultees on what they would prefer (and in turn, what they not like to see go forward).
It should be noted that the policies set out within the options that are taken forward in the planning process will be developed further in terms of their spatial extent. It is anticipated that many will be supported by policy or indicative maps that will provide further spatial detail on where the policies apply or variations in how policies may impact across the plan area. The objectives, and resulting policies, presented below are of varying scope with some being very defined while others remain broader. Some of the policies will apply across the both the South Inshore and Offshore Marine Plan area, while some may be limited to the Inshore or Offshore Plan Areas only, and others restricted spatially.
This report provides an overview of how the Marine Management Organisation has approached the options process. It sets out the results of the options analysis so far. It goes on to describe the next step in the process, which is the se lection of a preferred option. The results section of the report contains narratives of the different options to give readers an idea of how the options will differ in their outcomes. The full options with all suggested policies can be found in the accompanying spreadsheet, which should be used as a companion to the narratives themselves. In considering the policy variants, readers may find it helpful to refer to the justification text included within the objectives in Annex 1. Further information on the methodology used to produce options is included as Annex 2.
The Marine Management Organisation would like to invite comment on the options as set out in section five of this report and the consultation questions, which are set out in section 1.2.