Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scottish Parliament and the Marine Bill..a taste of things to come...

Debate has intensified in the parliamentary chambers over the incoming Scottish Marine bill. Follow the link to the debate:

Transcript of the debate
Marine Debate - Thursday 26 February

A number of issues were raised by MSPs including:

  • The formation and status of Marine Scotland (the Marine management organisation) and its relationship with the government. Debate has intensified over the Independence of Marine Scotland and whether it should be a non departmental public body. Also issues of governance such as appeals bodies, engagement with science, and links to other arms of government have been raised.
  • Concerns over the legislative process for the Bill and Marine Scotland - particularly Marine Scotland being set up before the Bill has been drafted and a lack of debate over its role and function.
  • The balance between economic and environmental principles and application through marine planning - particularly the issue of marine conservation zones, and emphasis on development in the bill.
  • The size and governance of the proposed regional marine planning zones and access by all interested stakeholders in marine planning and conservation.
Obviously a work in progress. The high priority for the development of Marine Scotland relates to its role as a body that will deliver the various parts of the Marine Bill such as UK coordination, National Marine Plan and Regional Marine plans - and therefore its development is being brought forward. However, Marine Scotland and the way it is structured and governed is a critical element of Scottish marine reform - and requires transparency via parliamentary debate, particularly its relation to the government of the day and its ability to make independent science based decisions that ensure the sustainability of Scotland's seas.

Expect a lot more posts on the emerging Marine Bill and what it means for Scotland and the UK in the coming months....

1 comment:

  1. Picking up on the third bullet point, I thought it was interesting that the MSPs who raised this point all looked at the issue as being one of "balancing" environmental issues and objectives against social and economic issues and objectives. My feeling is that rather than viewing this process as a seesaw that needs to be balanced with the environment on one side and people (social and economic) on the other, it would be more helpful to see it as a web that needs to be woven together with intertwining, rather than diametrically opposed and competing, interests. This is not to deny the tensions that will inevitably be involved in creating and managing such integration. However, adopting a holistic as opposed to a dualistic outlook from the outset would arguably provide a broader and more inclusive perspective on the process.