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National Marine Plan - Monitoring and Reporting

UK - Scotland - NMP


A short description of how the NMP will be monitored and evaluated in the years following its adoption.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What are the legal requirements for monitoring and evaluation of the National Marine Plan in Scotland?
  • How will Marine Scotland undertake the monitoring and analysis of effectiveness of the National Marine Plan in Scotland?
  • How does this monitoring relate to other monitoring requirements?

Implementation Context

Marine planning in Scotland’s waters is governed by the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, an Act of the Scottish Parliament, and by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, an Act of the UK Parliament. The two Acts establish a legislative framework for marine planning to enable demands on marine resources to be managed in a sustainable way across Scotland’s seas out to 200 nautical miles.

Scotland’s first statutory marine plan, the National Marine Plan, was adopted and published in March 2015. The policies and objectives of the Plan set out how Scottish Ministers intend marine resources to be used and managed. The Plan will support development and activity in Scotland’s seas while incorporating environmental protection into marine decision making to achieve sustainable management of the valued resource.

Section 16 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 requires Ministers to keep under review:

a) the effects of the policies in the plan

b) the effectiveness of the policies in securing that objectives for which the plan was prepared and adopted are met

c) the progress being made towards securing the objectives

d) the progress being made towards securing that the objectives in any regional marine plan secure the objectives in the national marine plan.

Ministers must prepare and publish a report on these matters. The first report must be within 5 years of adoption of the Plan, after which successive reports must be published at intervals of no more than 5 years. After publication of the report, Ministers must decide whether or not to amend or replace the Plan. Section 61 of the UK Act relates of offshore waters covered by the National Marine Plan. It requires reporting at intervals of no more than three years of plan adoption. Intentions to amend plans and prepare and adopt further marine plans must be reported on at intervals of no more than six years until January 2030.

In order to satisfy the requirements of both pieces of legislation and to ensure lessons are learned in the early stages of marine planning in Scotland, Scottish Ministers have stated that the initial review of the Plan will take place within three years of adoption.

This guidance sets out an outline of the approach of Scottish Government on addressing these requirements.

Aspects / Objectives

  • Clarify the legal requirements for the monitoring of and review of marine plans.
  • Clarify how the obligations to review and amend the NMP will be addressed.
  • Identify how effectiveness of the NMP will be evaluated.


The document outlines the mechanisms through which monitoring and review of the NMP will be achieved.

Main Outputs / Results

Report online at:


​This report specifically addresses Scotland’s National Marine Plan.

Contact Person

Marine Scotland

The Scottish Government

Victoria Quay



Responsible Entity

Scottish Government

Costs / Funding Source

Scottish Government