ALBA Party claim Government Marine Conservation "potentially unlawful"

The ALBA Party have published their response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Highly Protected Marine Areas.

ALBA claim that the proposals which could exclude coastal communities from up to 10 per cent of inland waters, place at risk “thousands of livelihoods in fragile coastal communities” and demand their immediate withdrawal.

They also say that the proposals are “potentially unlawful” as they are fundamentally based not on conservation or social-economic objectives, but on an arbitrary 10 per cent target contained in the Bute House political deal between the SNP and the Greens.

ALBA Party Highland and Island activist, Skye based Hector MacLeod said;

“The First Minister has a long list of apologies to make. This disastrous proposal based on a shabby political deal is the latest.

How dare the SNP risk the livelihoods of Scotland’s coastal communities with this poorly researched rubbish? These proposals must be withdrawn now.

Even more important than the risk of breaking the law by prioritising their Green Party political fix over Scotland’s coastal communities, is the breaking of trust between the SNP and rural Scotland.

That is the real political scandal engulfing the SNP”


The ALBA PARTY submit that the consultation is improperly based for four reasons and therefore should be withdrawn until these problems can be addressed.

  1. The “target” of 10 per cent of marine areas to be designated as HPMA has no empirical basis beyond being part of a SNP political deal with the Green Party entitled the “Bute House Agreement”. It is totally improper to set such a target, potentially affecting the livelihoods of thousands of people in economically fragile communities, on the basis of a political arrangement. This should be withdrawn as the overriding objective immediately or face legal challenge.
  2. The consultation lists powers, eg over offshore waters, which are to be sought in consultation with UK Government. However, and self evidently, until such agreement is reached it is impossible to comment meaningfully on the proposals for inshore waters since one clearly affects the other.
  3. The consultation lists other marine activities as competing for sea space, eg oil and gas and offshore wind. However there is no detailed analysis of the impact of exclusion zones on marine life. Self evidently pipeline cordon sanitaire have a marine impact as do the well researched role of platforms as natural reefs. The same will apply to the substantial exclusion zones required for wind energy. Such activities can be considered complementary to marine life and a multi-impact model is required to input the effects into any additional coastal marine proposals. This has not been done.
  4. The socio-economic impact on coastal communities is listed but receives inadequate emphasis in the consultation. De minimus a variety of potential proposals should be tested against a developed input/output model for each affected area before any such HPMA came into existence.

In summary the consultation document is poorly researched, logically flawed and a totally inadequate foundation for rational policy formulation. It is also potentially unlawful as having its overriding commitment based on a political deal rather than an environmental or socio economic objective.

It should be withdrawn forthwith.

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