As part of the implementation of the marine nature conservation provisions of the Marine (Scotland) Act and Marine & Coastal Access Act, Marine Scotland established a programme of work to designate and manage nature conservation Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and to protect Priority Marine Features (PMFs) within Scottish waters.
Marine Scotland has also taken forward work to complete the designation of offshore Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and to implement management measures for SPAs and Special Areas of Consideration (SACs) where needed.
Working under Marine Scotland’s Marine Planning and Licensing Framework, ABPmer was appointed to lead multiple studies to support the designation and management of MPAs and the protection of PMFs.
This included the preparation of socio-economic assessments consistent with Scottish Government BRIA guidance which assess the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of designation and management proposals. To inform these assessments we have used innovative ecosystem services frameworks drawing on the latest economic evidence and scientific understanding of impacts.
Where required we have also prepared Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and overall Sustainability Appraisals to support public consultation on designation and management proposals.
Through this process 31 new nature conservation MPAs have been designated and a further four remain under consideration. One SAC has been designated for harbour porpoise and fifteen offshore SPAs have been consulted on for designation. Management measures have been implemented in a number of MPAs with further consideration being given to measures in other sites.