Here you will find our response to the Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) consultation. This response was developed by our Scotland Policy Group.
CIEEM’s Key Comments:
- Evidence shows that strict levels of protection where all uses are limited in order to ensure protection as laid out in the draft Policy Framework can create ocean recovery zones, helping ecosystems recover and providing benefits to society. HPMAs have been shown worldwide to support ocean recovery, with benefits overspilling into surrounding waters.
- The links between HPMAs and the existing marine protected area network and the importance of buffer zones needs to be considered within a wider spatial management framework to ensure maximum ecological benefit and a just transition.
- The selection of protected areas should be guided by existing best practice principles. A crucial element in selecting where HPMAs are located is how they are linked to the existing marine protected area network such as the existing network of SACs and SPAs which is crucial in protecting migratory species.
- There needs to be clarification on how the consenting process for activities in HMPAs will operate where the HPMAs overlap with SACs, SPAs already designated under the Habitats Regulations.
- The value of protecting, enhancing and restoring natural processes in these designated areas should also be incorporated into national carbon and climate change accounting despite the complexities of assessment.
- Effective monitoring and evaluation of not just environmental indicators but also social and economic measures must be in place prior to designation and in the long-term. This body of evidence and case studies should be widely available and disseminated to interested parties.