Developing regional locational guidance for wave and tidal energy in the Shetland Islands
Marine renewables offer potential economic and environmental benefits, however there is a need to ensure that the growth of this emergent industry considers existing features and users of the marine environment. There is a clear role for marine spatial planning to guide its future development. The Shetland Regional Locational Guidance is a sensitivity led approach to identifying the suitability of areas around the Shetland Islands for renewable energy development and associated shore based infrastructure, and is an example of integrated coastal zone management. Working closely with local stakeholders was key to this process, which incorporates economic, environmental, social and cultural uses into one constraint model; constraint levels are set by local and societal values, rather than monetary equivalences. It has been successfully translated into policy within the Shetland Islands׳ Marine Spatial Plan, which will form supplementary guidance to the Shetland Islands Council׳s forthcoming Local Development Plan. The policy integrates with GIS data without requiring the creation of ‘zones’, as was requested by local stakeholders, and allows for updating of the GIS spatial model without requiring changes to the policy wording.