SECTION 1 - INTRODUCTION
1 This report fulfils the request of June 2005 from the Environment and Rural Affairs Minister asking SNH to provide advice on coastal and marine National Parks and specifically on the:
- added value of a coastal and marine National Park;
- the statutory and policy framework for a coastal and marine National Park, including its aims, powers, governance and likely running costs; and
- one or more possible areas which Ministers should consider as leading candidates for designation as a coastal and marine National Park
2 At this stage, new legislation is not being brought forward for establishing a coastal and marine National Park and SNH was asked to develop its advice drawing on the existing approach to National Parks contained in the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000. SNH was also asked to examine and reflect on similar approaches outwith Scotland and consider the applicability or otherwise of this experience.
3 In considering possible locations for a coastal and marine National Park, no areas of Scotland were ruled in or out by the Minister. Nevertheless, his instructions made it clear that any possible areas that came forward would include some of our most outstanding coastal and marine heritage. A future Park was also likely to be in less remote locations if it were to make a significant contribution to increasing public enjoyment and understanding of our coastal and marine heritage. At the same time, the designation of a coastal and marine National Park should make a significant contribution to the sustainable social and economic development of the area.
4 In developing this advice, SNH was asked to work closely with a range of relevant stakeholders, including those from the business, community and environment sectors. There was no requirement for SNH to consult on its advice, as the Minister envisaged the issues raised by the advice would be subject to formal consultation by the Scottish Executive. This intention has subsequently been confirmed in Seas - the Opportunity: A strategy for the long-term sustainability of Scotland’s coasts and seas (Scottish Executive, 2005). In this publication, Scottish Ministers have also outlined a timetable for establishing a coastal and marine National Park in 2008. SNH’s advice should therefore be seen as an initial contribution to a longer and more inclusive process leading to the development and public debate of specific proposals.
Programme of Work
5 SNH was asked to report to Scottish Ministers by the end of March 2006, and we have undertaken a short programme of review, policy development and stakeholder involvement to fulfil this request.
6 The key lessons emerging from a brief review of relevant international experience are summarised in background paper 1. SNH also commissioned two pieces of work – the first on best practice in sustainable tourism in coastal and marine protected areas in the UK and elsewhere; and the second on coastal and marine recreational patterns and trends in Scotland. The reports of this research will be published separately.
7 Significant effort was made to engage with stakeholders and this is detailed further in Section 5 of the report and background paper E. Throughout the process SNH has ensured that information and working papers, particularly those going to the stakeholder group, have been made available to anyone who wished them.
Structure of our Advice
8 The structure of our advice is as follows.
- Section 2 sets out SNH’s advice on the overall approach to coastal and marine National Parks and the added value they could bring to the management of the marine and coastal environment in Scotland.
- Section 3 sets out SNH’s advice on the powers, structures and running costs of a coastal and marine National Park.
- Section 4 sets out SNH’s advice on possible locations for one or more coastal and marine National Parks in Scotland.
- Section 5 reports on the steps SNH took to ensure stakeholder involvement in the development of this advice. It also summarises the views expressed by stakeholders who commented, and makes suggestions for the next stages of consultation and policy development.
9 This advice is supported by five background papers, presenting more detailed information on five areas.
- Background paper A: Lessons from international experience.
- Background paper B: Examples of added value from Scotland and elsewhere.
- Background paper C: Selection of the broad areas of search.
- Background paper D: Profiles of the long-list of possible areas.
- Background paper E: Report on stakeholder views.
These papers are available on the coastal and marine National Park pages of the SNH website.