Marine Planning & ICZM
There has been a planning system on land for over 50 years, but until now there has been no similar system to plan for all uses of the marine environment. This has meant that different sectors have developed in isolation from each other and there has been no way to plan ahead and coordinate activities in our increasingly busy seas.
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.
A Strategy for Scotlands Coast and Inshore Waters was produced by the Scottish Coastal Forum in 2004 and is designed to be an advisory document for Scottish Ministers, providing guidance on implementation of ICZM in Scotland. Annex 1 - Sector Analysis is a collection of papers written by individuals representing the relevant sectors and peer reviewed by members of the Scottish Coastal Forum. They are provided to give an understanding of the important issues from the perspective of that Sector.
The approval of the Marine (Scotland) Act in 2010 introduced a new era for the management of Scotland's seas. One of the key elements of the Act is the marine planning provisions, which will allow better management of the competing demands on marine resources more effectively.
A marine planning system should:
Guide the location of all marine uses and activities and ensure they occur in the most suitable and least sensitive areas;
minimise conflicts of interest and encourage compatible uses;
Be guided by clear sustainable development objectives and respect environmental limits to ensure healthy and productive seas in the future;
Identify and safeguard important natural and cultural heritage features and complement the role of Marine Protected Areas
The Scottish Marine Act introduces a 3-tier marine planning system:
- International - providing links to the UK Marine Act provisions(through a UK Marine Policy Statement) and to wider initiatives such as the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive;
- National - a Scottish Marine Plan setting out national marine objectives and priority targets;
- Regional - Regional Marine Plans, which may be prepared for Scottish Marine Regions, with the option for planning functions to be delegated to a local body.
Once marine plans are in place, public bodies must take decisions, such as granting licences or planning permission, in accordance with the plan policies.