Marine Issues



General overview of the Committee's work on marine issues

In its work programme, the Committee agreed to scrutinise both the National Marine Plan (NMP) and plans for Marine Protected Areas (MPA) when they are brought forward/announced by the Scottish Government.

National Marine Plan


The UK Parliament legislates for Scotland’s offshore waters, but certain matters in this area have been executively devolved.  Marine planning matters in Scotland’s inshore waters are governed by the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, an Act of the Scottish Parliament, and in its offshore waters by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, an Act of the UK Parliament.

The two Acts (referred to as the Marine Acts) established a new legislative and management framework for the marine environment allowing the competing demands on the sea to be managed in a sustainable way across all of Scotland’s seas.  Under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 Scottish Ministers must prepare and adopt a National Marine Plan covering Scottish inshore waters.

The Scottish and United Kingdom Governments have agreed that a marine plan for Scotland’s inshore waters and a marine plan covering Scottish offshore waters will be published in one document and will be collectively referred to as the ‘National Marine Plan’.

The Committee agreed at its meeting on 1 October 2014, as part of its discussion on its future work programme that it would give consideration to the draft Scotland’s National Marine Plan (NMP).  The draft NMP was laid in Parliament on 11 December 2014 and is subject to a formal 40 day period of Parliamentary scrutiny.

The Committee will hear from Scottish Government Officials on 17 December 2014, from stakeholders on 7 January 2015 and from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment on 14 January 2015.  The Committee will publish a report setting out its views by week ending 30 January.

The Committee intends to refer to the written responses received by the Scottish Government during its recent consultation and will ask the stakeholders invited to give oral evidence to either forward on a copy of their to the Scottish Government and /or to provide additional evidence following the publication of the draft plan.  The Committee is also happy to accept written submissions from any stakeholders who wish to provide additional evidence on the same basis.

The deadline for any additional written evidence for RACCE Committee’s consideration was 12 noon, Monday 5 January 2015 and should be sent to [email protected].


National Marine Plan (NMP)

Written Evidence

Supplementary Written Evidence

Previous work on marine issues

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

On 24 July 2014, the Scottish Government announced the designation of 30 MPAs under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. These have been incorporated into the National Marine Plan and represented in the National Marine Plan Interactive4 alongside existing protected areas.

The Committee took evidence from Stakeholders and the Cabinet Secretary on 13 and 20 August 2014, respectively. The following evidence was submitted to the Committee:

Written evidence 

Supplementary written evidence

The Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Committee following the evidence session on 20 August. Read the letter here:

The Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Committee on 11 June 2015 with an update on Marine Protected Areas, specifcally on the publication of the Scottish Government response to the consultation on potential statutory management measures of designated Marine Protected Areas:


Additional Information


The Scottish Government wrote to the Committee to advise that Scotland’s National Marine Plan, was laid before Parliament on 11 December 2014. Read the letter here:

Previous consideration of marine issues

The Scottish Government’s consultations on marine issues closed in November 2013. The draft NMP was subject to a formal 40 day period of Parliamentary scrutiny. MPA designations are not subject to any formal parliamentary process.

The Committee will take evidence from stakeholders on 13 August and then from the Cabinet Secretary on 20 August.

The Scottish Government wrote to the Committee with new conservation measures for Scotland’s marine environment on 24 July 2014.  Read the letter here:

The Scottish Government published Scotland's National Marine Plan on December 11 2014. Read the plan here:

The Committee held and evidence session with George Eustice MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and Marine Environment on 11 June 2014. The papers, official report and minutes for that meeting can be found here:

In April and May 2013, the Committee heard from Marine Scotland and held evidence sessions with stakeholders and the Cabinet Secretary. The result of these sessions was a letter to the Scottish Government on marine issues. Read the letter to the Scottish Government and the Cabinet Secretary's response here:

Read the papers from the sessions with the Cabinet Secretary, stakeholders and with Marine Scotland (24 April 2013):

Cabinet Secretary evidence session, 8 May 2013:

Stakeholders evidence session, 1 May 2013:

Marine Scotland evidence session, 24 April 2013:


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