MSPs today voted to pass two amendments to the Marine Bill from Robin Harper MSP, which ensure the delegation of regional planning functions are delegated to a group of people and not a public authority, and that group of people will include representation from those groups with an interest in using the sea for recreational purposes..
The amendments, which were widely supported by bodies such as Scottish Environment LINK, Scottish Renewables and Surfers Against Sewage, further require that, if regional planning functions are delegated to a public authority, that Ministers explain why this is the case.
Robin Harper MSP said:
“I am delighted that my fellow MSPs saw fit to pass these two amendments, which will give Scotland’s surfers, sailors and divers a clear voice for the first time in the management of our seas.
“Ensuring full representation on marine planning partnerships from different interest groups and users puts the planning process the right way round. It gets agreement between different groups up front, which ultimately creates clarity and certainty for all those who use our marine environment..”
The passing of the amendments was welcomed by Andy Cummins, Campaign Director of Surfers Against Sewage, who said:
“We estimate that the number of recreational water users in Scotland is 6% of Scotland’s total population. We are thrilled that this significant part of Scottish society will now be represented within the Regional Planning Partnerships. Recreational water users are a significant stakeholder in the marine environment, already acting as guardians of the marine environment, and their knowledge, passion, presence and perception will help these bodies protect Scottish waters for generations to come.”