A regulatory system for Marine Planning was introduced at the UK level through the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. This requires that marine plans are prepared for the UK marine area. The Scottish Government has jurisdiction over marine planning matters from 0 -12 nautical miles and has executively devolved powers (from the UK Government) for marine planning matters 12 – 200 nautical miles.
In accordance with the 2009 Act, the UK Government and the devolved administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have prepared a joint Marine Policy Statement which provides the framework for preparing Marine Plans and decision making in relation to the marine environment.
In Scotland, the new legislative and management framework for the marine environment is established by the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. The marine planning provisions will allow more effective management of the competing demands on marine resources.
Marine Scotland is involved with marine planning at three different levels: national, regional and international. Feeding into this process Marine Scotland has undertaken a Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind in Scottish Territorial Waters which will be integrated into and inform this emerging marine planning framework.
To help address the challenges of developing offshore renewables, Marine Scotland has developed a simplified licensing system which aims to be transparent, efficient and proportional.
The one-stop-shop for offshore wind, wave and tidal developers to obtain consents/licences for marine renewable developments in Scottish waters aims to create a simpler process to handle offshore energy development applications and to reduce some of the burden for applicants and regulators alike. The system promotes a close working relationship with consulting bodies. It also allows public participation and provides a mechanism to manage enquiries and interaction with applicants, stakeholders and the public.
Strategic Environment Assessment
The Scottish Government undertook a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to find the most appropriate locations for placing wind energy devices in the sea, around the entire Scottish coast.
Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) are a key component of sustainable development in Scotland. An SEA ensures that the environment is considered throughout policy preparation, thereby reducing any negative or unforeseen policy impacts and improving the transparency of decision making.