This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best possible experience. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with this. You can find out more about how we use cookies here. If you would like to know more about cookies, or how you can delete them, click here.

Planning ahead to use our natural environment wisely

"Planning helps to secure sustainable development. It determines the location and design of buildings such as housing, industry, retail and leisure developments. It also helps to protect the countryside and it shapes the future of where we live" RSPB Scotland

Planning is essential for good environmental management. Seeing places in the round, planners are able to help establish how different groups of people and different interests can work together with their environment for balanced and sustainable outcomes. Identifying possible environmental threats and conflicts between different interest groups early on can help to ensure that these are resolved in early planning stages.

Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan

Natural _500

The holistic management of marine resources is still an emerging discipline and can be more challenging than the management of resources on land. Combining marine and land issues in planning and development is a relatively new idea, but one which hopes to build on the success of planning on land to promote greater sustainability in the management of our marine environment.

The pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan (PFOWMSP) recognises the mixture of industries which the area's unique environments support. Its marine resources must be protected so their benefits can be sustained, and this has clear implications for development on land. The Plan addresses how industries can operate to make sure that economic needs are balanced with those of local people and the natural environment. 

The Marine Spatial Plan:

  • sets out a strategic vision to inform decision making
  • guides the location of new marine industry sites and any new development
  • minimises future conflict by providing clarity on the overall objectives for places in the area
  • supports the management of marine and terrestrial resources in one holistic approach

Seeking to work the area's many functions into a single plan – from safeguarding coastal and marine ecosystems, to protecting the wellbeing and quality of life of local communities – the plan integrates all the pressures and ambitions of the area.

This case proves planning's worth in harnessing the benefits of Scotland's natural environment in a proportionate and sustainable way, while also taking account of the needs of local businesses and communities.

We are asking MSPs to make sure that the Planning Bill creates links between a strengthened National Planning Framework and other relevant national strategies, including the Climate Change Plan and National Transport Strategy.