Consultation on the Strategic Environmental Assessment for 15 proposed Special Protection Areas

Closed 9 Nov 2018

Opened 14 Sep 2018

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Marine Scotland is committed to a clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal environment that meets the long term needs of people and nature. This includes managing our seas sustainably to protect their rich biological diversity and to ensure that our marine ecosystems continue to provide economic, social and wider benefits for people, industry and society.  This includes the classification of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the EU Wild Birds Directives.

Creation of these sites would also contribute to other international commitments, such as those under the OSPAR convention, and towards achievement of Good Environmental Status.

Fifteen proposed SPAs were consulted on between July 2016 and January 2017 to both fulfil these requirements and to ensure the long term health of these species in our waters. The consultation documents are still available in the links below for reference.

Following completion of the consultation that ended in January 2017, a Network Assessment of the proposals was commissioned to confirm that the most suitable territories has been selected. The results of the assessment has informed the options considered by the Strategic Environmental Assessment.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a requirement of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) 2005 Act.  The SEA considers the overall environmental effects of classifying the pSPAs, using  3 scenarios identified in the Network Assessment.

As part of the process to determine whether the 15 proposed SPA should be classified, we now invite views on both the findings of the SEA and the Network Assessment.

Why your views matter

As well as looking at what environmental impacts the proposals may have on bird species, the SEA also assesses what environmental impacts the proposals might have on the wider marine environment. 

We are therefore asking if the SEA has properly captured and assessed the potential positive and negative effects the proposals might have on the protected features and the wider marine environment.

In addition we are inviting views on the approach taken and the conclusions of the Network Assessment.

The purpose of this exercise is not to repeat the consultation that was undertaken in 2016-17, but to provide the opportunity to offer your view on the scenarios, results and conclusions  presented in the SEA and Network Assessment.   New information regarding the 15 proposals will be considered, but there is no need to repeat a response provided to the original consultation – these are being addressed in a separate consultation report.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Following consultation the expectation is to release a consultation report before the end of the year addressing the responses received on the network assessment. Separately, following classification of the sites taken forward, we will publish a Post-Adoption Statement as part of the SEA process that will serve as the response to comments received on the SEA.

The findings of this consultation will be included in the final advice that will be submitted to Ministers for their consideration of the proposals prior to classification.

Download the consultation paper


  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Marine and Fisheries