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MSPs slam marine planning regime as “unfit for purpose”

Words: Roger Milne

Despite five years in the making, the administration’s National Marine Plan is still not “fit for purpose”, the Scottish Parliament has warned.

Committee convenor Rob Gibson MSP said: “Multiple uses are made of our marine environment, and increasingly these are coming into conflict. But the Scottish government’s draft National Marine Plan does not provide a clear and concise set of policies that can be consistently applied by decision-makers and those using the marine environment.

“There is a danger the plan in its present form will create conflict by having highly prescriptive actions in some areas, while setting out vague aspirations in others.”

The committee has voiced misgivings over how regional marine planning will interact with the national plan. It said that the current draft does not give sufficient guidance to local authorities to ensure a consistent approach.

The MSPs have questioned whether local authorities have the required levels of experience, expertise and resources to successfully develop and implement regional marine plans.