Firth of Clyde public consultation launched –

Firth of Clyde public consultation launched Published:  01 April, 2009

A public consultation on a new approach to the management of the Firth of Clyde was launched today.

The draft spatial marine plan tackles issues such as the regulation, management and protection of the marine environment of the Firth. It considers competing demands for access to marine resources and space for interests as diverse as fishing, wildlife conservation, renewable energy and transport.

It covers an area that stretches from Glasgow, down the Ayrshire coast to Loch Ryan, across to Arran and the Mull of Kintyre and back up to the heads of Loch Fyne and Loch Long. It also proposes ways in which these can be managed more sustainably for future generations. Roseanna Cunningham

Speaking at the launch at the Tall Ship in Glasgow, minister for the environment Roseanna Cunningham said: ”The Scottish government is determined to make marine planning and management more efficient, inclusive and accessible – both now and for future generations.

‘I very much welcome this draft plan, a first for the Clyde which will help inform the future development of marine planning in Scotland, and I congratulate everyone involved in its preparation.

‘I would now urge anyone, whether an individual or representative of industry or community, who has an interest in the future of the Firth of Clyde, to read the draft plan and put forward any suggestions for improvement.’

Developed by a Clyde pilot steering group of the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative (SSMEI), the plan is a culmination of three years work in partnership with stakeholders and regulators across the Firth.

Chairwoman of the steering group, Isabel Glasgow said: ‘The Firth of Clyde is dear to the hearts of so many, both here in Scotland and across the world. This plan aims to help look after it for the sake of all who use or enjoy it. We are anticipating further input from industry, marine users and agencies. But we’d also very much welcome views from the wider public.’

Having worked in partnership with SSMEI, SNH’s operations director Roddy Fairley, added: ‘The Firth of Clyde is a huge social, economic and environmental resource for Scotland. It is therefore absolutely crucial that an efficient and co-ordinated approach is taken, in order to secure this resource. That is what this plan sets out to achieve.’

The consultation will last until June 26. Comments received will be used to help finalise the plan ahead of its publication later in the year.

The Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative (SSMEI) was instigated by the Scottish government in November 2002. Through the SSMEI the Scottish Government is developing and testing novel approaches to marine management that will inform the debate on how to improve management of Scotland’s marine and coastal waters. The SSMEI Clyde Pilot is one of four projects, with the others being located around the Shetland Isles, Berwickshire Coast and the Sound of Mull.

The consultation on the draft Plan and Environment Report began on Tuesday March 31, 2009 and will end on Friday, June 26 this year.

Marine Spatial Planning has been identified in proposals for both Scottish and UK Marine Bills as a key tool to achieve more sustainable management of our seas and coast.

The SSMEI Clyde Pilot Steering Group is a stakeholder-regulator partnership made up of 29 organisations: Argyll & Bute Council, Ayrshire Joint Structure Plan Team, British Marine Industries Federation, Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, CalMac Ferries Ltd, Clyde Fisheries Development Project, Clyde Fisherman’s Association, Clydeport Harbour master, Clydeport Operations Limited, Economic, Planning & Environmental Services, Firth of Clyde Forum, FRS Marine Laboratory, Glasgow and Clyde Valley Structure Plan Joint Committee, Glasgow City Council, Historic Scotland, HMNB Clyde, Lighthouse Caledonia Ltd, Queen’s Harbour Master Clyde, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Royal Yachting Association Scotland, Scottish Coastal Forum, Scottish Creelers and Divers (SCAD), Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government Marine Management Division, SEPA, SNH, Strathclyde Passenger Transport, The Crown Estate, University Marine