Shetland Islands Council has submitted its response to the Scottish Government’s HMPA consultation, stating it strongly opposes the policy

Shetland Islands Council has submitted its response to the Scottish Government’s HPMA consultation, stating it strongly opposes the policy

The Shetland Islands Council has announced that it has submitted its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), stating that it strongly opposing the policy proposals.  

The Scottish Government plans, driven by the Bute Agreement between the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and the Scottish Green Party, has met with vigorous objections from coastal communities and fishing organisations. This has been echoed by locals in the Shetland Islands who say that the Government’s plans for HMPAs will have disastrous consequences for the islands’ economy.

Following yesterday’s election of a new First Minister of Scotland, it remains to be seen if Humza Yousaf will take onboard the concerns of coastal communities and reconsider his government’s policy, but he has told the Green Party that he is committed to the Bute House Agreement.

In an eight-page response, Shetland Islands Council expresses its view that the HPMA process, if implemented, will “impact significantly upon our residents, communities and industries that rely on the sea for their livelihoods.”

Council Leader, Emma Macdonald says: “We have significant concerns about the proposed national HPMA policy framework and how this will operate in the waters around Shetland, which are a hugely important resource for so many local economic sectors.  Our future ambitions in many areas, including fishing, aquaculture, tunnels and renewables, will also be impacted by these far-reaching policy proposals.

“Shetland is a vastly experienced marine community, with considerable knowledge in licensing, regulation and management of a range of inshore and offshore activities.  Like other industry representatives, we strongly oppose these proposals and would encourage proper engagement to inform any future marine planning discussions.”

The Council’s response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on HPMAs can be found on the Council’s Planning pages

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