Argyll and Bute Council has become a member of the new Clyde Marine Planning Partnership and will play a key role in the development of a regional marine plan for the Firth of Clyde.
This is part of the new Scottish marine planning framework which aims to manage the competing demands on Scotland’s seas. The new Marine Planning Partnerships (MPPs) will give local people the opportunity to be involved in the development of the plans for their region, ensuring that they take into account the particular economic and environmental needs of the area.
There are eleven marine regions in Scotland, with Argyll and Bute forming part of two: the Clyde region, which covers the coastal waters from the Mull of Kintyre to Helensburgh, and Argyll, which covers the rest of Argyll and Bute.
As part of developing a regional marine plan the Marine Planning Partnership will need to:
· Assess the condition of the region
· Summarise the consequences of human activity on the marine environment
· Keep the particular characteristics of the region under review
· Set economic, social, marine ecosystem and climate change objectives
· Develop a statement of public participation and carry out public consultation
Regional marine plans will influence the future use and development of the seas and coastlines. They will serve as guidance when considering planning applications which have the potential to affect the marine area, including aquaculture and some coastal development.
Angus Gilmour, Head of Planning, said: “This is an important and worthwhile initiative, one it is vital the council is part of. We have to ensure that the marine plan policies are aligned with our local development plan, and that the two plans are complementary. With a huge area of coastline within the Clyde region we need to be around this table, inputting into a plan which balances the particular needs of our area. As a member of the partnership and the partnership board we will be able to play a key part in developing a plan which is the best fit for all.
“Our coastline is a huge asset, supporting a great many jobs in the fishing, aquaculture, marine transport and shipping, marine tourism, military use, marine services and marine science sectors. It is vital that the national and regional marine plans are consistent with our own planning policies and our overarching priority to take advantage of our economic opportunities to grow Argyll and Bute.”
The preparatory work for the Clyde MPP has already started, with a baseline assessment underway. The development of the marine plan could take up to three years, which it is hoped will align with the key stages of developing Argyll and Bute’s next Local Development Plan.
The key stages of plan development will include:
1. Development of an ‘Assessment of the Clyde’ report;
2. Publication of a ‘Statement of Public Participation’;
3. Preparation and consultation on a Main Issues report
4. Development of a draft plan for public consultation
5. Submission of final plan to Scottish Ministers for adoption
At each of these key stages the relevant documents will be reported to the council.
The council’s representative on the board is Councillor John McAlpine.