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Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan

RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) 2017 winner logo.

The Pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan – developed jointly by Marine Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council – was a successful initiative, winning a prestigious award at the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2016 and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2017. 

The Plan sets out an integrated planning policy framework to guide marine development, activities and management decisions, whilst ensuring the quality of the marine environment is protected. The marine environment is used for a wide variety of different purposes and this Plan aims to set out a coherent strategic vision, objectives and policies to further the achievement of sustainable development. This includes the protection and, where appropriate, enhancement of the marine environment within the Plan area. As a non-statutory Plan, it complements and supports existing ambitions and responsibilities.

The working group has undertaken this pilot to put in place a planning policy framework in advance of statutory regional marine planning. It is anticipated that this Marine Spatial Plan will establish a useful basis for the preparation of the two separate regional marine plans for Orkney and the North Coast Scottish Marine Regions. Through the process of producing this pilot marine spatial plan for Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, there have been many lessons learned. These have been published separately in a Lessons Learned Report and will inform the preparation of future regional marine plans and the governance arrangements that could underpin Marine Planning Partnerships.

The final pilot Plan is being used by the Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) as a material consideration in the determination of marine licensing and section 36 consent applications within the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area. Highland Council and Orkney Islands Council have adopted the final pilot Plan as non-statutory planning guidance, acknowledging the status of the Plan as a material consideration in the determination of relevant planning applications. Orkney Islands Council has also approved the Plan as a material consideration in the determination of works licence applications.

The Plan is available on the Scottish Government website via the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

For further information contact James Green, Senior Planner, Development and Marine Planning by email, or be telephoning 01856873535 extension 3045 or 2516.

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