Devolved Planning Laws to Extend out to Sea

27 November 2008

Scotland is to take greater responsibility for its coastal waters, which will now stretch 200 nautical miles out to sea, it has been announced today.

The Scottish Government agreed with the UK Government, through the Joint Ministerial Committee that planned marine bills from both administrations should be joined up.

As the Scottish Government wanted, Scotland will get new executively devolved responsibility for planning and nature conservation out to 200nm. The agreement also includes:

  • The administrations working together to deliver joined-up marine management.
  • A UK Marine Policy Statement to be part of an integrated marine management system.
  • Scotland having the power to designate nature conservation sites out to 200 nm.
  • Scotland in the driving seat for marine planning. This means joined up planning for wind and wave power, fishing and marine conservation right out to 200 nm.

Speaking during a debate in the Scottish Parliament, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Richard Lochhead said:

"This is excellent news for Scotland and for Scotland's economy. We will now be responsible for planning and conservation up to 200 nautical miles out to sea from our shores.

With Scottish waters being managed as a whole by the Scottish Government, we will now have modern and streamlined management of our seas and the many industries that depend on them.

Our seas offer us vast amounts of wave, tidal and offshore wind power potential and many communities on the coast depend on fishing and fish farming, which together account for 60 per cent of all our food exports, valuing of £422 million. We will now have the ability to manage these activities as a whole in all the waters around Scotland, not just the in-shore.

The Scottish Government will bring forward a Marine Bill in the spring that will provide a sustainable future for our waters, that will also represent the various sectors that depend on them.

Further devolution of powers on the marine environment will help us safeguard our seas for generations to come."

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