Public to Have Their Say on Marine Spatial Plan

A consultation is being launched on a plan that will be used to guide development activity in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.

Members of the public will soon have the opportunity to give feedback on the draft plan.

The Marine Spatial Plan has been developed by a working group that includes Marine Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council.

It is an important stepping stone towards the introduction of regional marine plans around the entire coast of Scotland.

The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters were chosen to pilot the development of a Marine Spatial Plan to support the sustainable management of the area’s seas.

It aims to balance the needs of local communities and marine economic activities whilst protecting the environment on which they depend. These economic activities include the renewables industry, commercial fishing, tourism, recreation, aquaculture, shipping and oil and gas.

Following an earlier consultation in 2013, the comments received were taken on board to inform the preparation of the plan. After consideration by councillors, it has been endorsed by both Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council and will now go out to public consultation.

The working group would like to invite members of the public and other interested parties to provide their views on the Marine Spatial Plan. The consultation period runs from Monday June 15 until September 6 and a series of public consultation events have been organised in Orkney, Caithness and Sutherland. These are:

  • 6 July – Warehouse Buildings, Stromness.
  • 7 July – Caithness Horizons, Thurso.
  • 9 July – Village Hall, Durness.

These events will take place from 13:00 – 20:00 with a short presentation at 18:30.

Chair of the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor James Stockan, said: “The first Marine Spatial Plan to be prepared for Orkney and the Pentland Firth is a major step towards supporting sustainable economic growth whilst protecting our outstanding marine environment.

“The marine area is a very important part of Orkney’s culture and heritage, and the Marine Spatial Plan will be a vital tool to safeguard the well-being and quality of life in local communities.”

Image: EMEC