Marine spatial plan being drafted for Pentland Firth

The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area has been identified as one with significant renewable energy resources, as well as being an important asset to both national and local economies.

There is a need to examine how future marine energy developments can be taken forward in this area in a manner that avoids conflicts with other users of the seas and which ensures that the marine environment is protected.

This will be achieved by the preparation and implementation of regional marine plans.

It is proposed that marine planning in Scotland be based on a three level system: national (Scotland), regional and international level planning.

However, the process of developing regional marine plans is still in its early stages and marine spatial planning at a regional level is being piloted in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. The working group are intending for the draft Pilot Marine Spatial Plan to be published at the beginning of 2015. The documents will to go to both Orkney Islands Committees and Highland Council committees for approval. The plan will then go out for a formal 12 week consultation period in summer 2015.

The working group consists of representatives from Marine Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council.

To ensure that progress is made while the marine planning process is concluded, a Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) Framework has been created, which sets out a process for the development of future plans.

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Press Release; Image: Scottish Government