Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Award Winning Marine Plan Scoops National Award

Award Winning Marine Plan Scoops National Award
16 June 2017

A plan that will guide development activity in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters has picked up a prestigious national award.

The pilot Marine Spatial Plan won the Excellence in Plan Making Practice at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2017 in London last night.

It previously scooped the Partnership Working category at the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning (SAQP) in November 2016.

The plan was prepared by a working group consisting of Orkney Islands Council, The Highland Council and Marine Scotland and was adopted by Scottish Ministers and both Councils in 2016.

Throughout the planning stages, people in the area had the opportunity to get involved in the development of the Marine Spatial Plan, with a series of consultation events held in Orkney, Caithness and Sutherland. Local people, businesses and wider stakeholders have also provided invaluable input at key stages in the plan making process.

The RTPI Awards are the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry. Running for 40 years, they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.

A picture of the award presentation. Left to right are Wane Hemmingway MBE, James Green, Tracy McCollin, Shona Turnbull and Steffan Rees.

Councillor Graham Sinclair, chair of the Development and Infrastructure committee, said: “"Congratulations to all involved. It's good to see our planners receiving another significant award and further national recognition of the work they do.

"The work carried out in collaboration with the other partners has resulted in a plan of huge importance to our island community.

"The seas around us have always been one of Orkney's greatest assets and, looking forward, this plan will help ensure that development activities in our local waters are both economically beneficial and environmentally sustainable." 

Gavin Barr, Executive Director of Development and Infrastructure Services said: “ I am immensely proud of the planning team who have worked tirelessly on this excellent piece of work and it was great to have James Green representing Orkney in collecting this award. It's a real credit for the smallest local authority in the country to be able to perform at this level nationally, evidence of the dedication and enthusiasm of our staff and our community in leading the country on marine planning matters.”

Nick Raynsford, former planning and housing minister and Chair of the Judging Panel said: “This plan, a first of its kind for the UK, should be held up as best practice for other councils struggling to integrate land and marine planning into a single plan. It is an interesting and imaginative approach to marine planning and given Britain’s maritime heritage, it’s surprising there aren’t more plans like this one.”

For over 40 years, the RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society. This year saw a nearly 40% increase in entrants and the judges shortlisted 90 finalists across 13 categories.