Government’s National Marine Plan ‘not fit for purpose’ claims Committee


A draft National Marine Plan for Scotland, developed by the Scottish Government over a five year period is still not ‘fit for purpose’ according to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee.

The Committee voices strong concerns as it reports on the Scottish Government’s draft National Marine Plan. 

Rob Gibson MSP, Convener of the Committee said: 

“The Committee is deeply disappointed that a Government plan five years in the making is simply not yet fit for purpose. Multiple uses are made of our marine environment, and increasingly these are coming into conflict. But the Scottish Government’s draft National Marine Plan does not provide a clear and concise set of policies that can be consistently applied by decision-makers and those using the marine environment. There is a danger the plan in its present form will create conflict by having highly prescriptive actions in some areas, while setting out vague aspirations in others. Simply put, instead of making the marine environment easier, it risks making it more difficult.” 

Rob Gibson continued:

“The right Government plan has the potential to clearly outline rights and responsibilities, while protecting Scotland’s sustainable future.  We are calling on the Scottish Government to create a final National Marine Plan that is clear, concise and can be evenly applied across the country.”

In its report on the Scottish Government’s National Marine Plan, the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee highlighted a range of issues, including: 

  • The Committee believes that the general policies set out in the draft plan provide an important framework and reinforce sustainability as an overarching principle. But there are concerns as to how regional marine planning will interact with the national plan, and the Committee’s belief that the current draft does not give sufficient guidance to local authorities to ensure a consistent approach.
  • Whether all local authorities have the required levels of experience, expertise and resources to successfully develop and implement regional marine plans.
  • A call for the plan to be effectively monitored and assessed, and for the online interactive version of the plan to be established as a first-class authoritative source for Scotland’s marine areas.


The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee’s (RACCE) report on Scotland’s draft National Marine Plan can be accessed here

The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee (RACCE) scrutinises policy proposals relating to rural affairs, climate change and the environment. It comes to a view after taking comprehensive evidence from, and engaging with, a wide range of stakeholders ‘on the frontline’ and applies authoritive, expert, effective and influential scrutiny to policy. 

Photographs of the Committee and Convener are available free of charge.