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New marine plans paused

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
New marine plans paused

CONTROVERSIAL plans to introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas around Scotland (HPMAs) are to be ‘revised’.

The Scottish Government yesterday announced there will be further engagement with coastal communities and the fishing industry.

It comes after a huge backlash to their proposals, which would have affected ten per cent of Scotland’s seas by 2026.

However, one of the region’s MSPs has blasted the announcement and called for apologies.

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan told the Scottish Parliament yesterday that the current HPMA plans will not be progressed after a public consultation earlier in the year attracted thousands of responses.

She said: “We chose to consult as early and widely as possible on the principles of HPMAs, with no pre-determined sites. It has always been, and continues to be, this government’s plan to work cooperatively with communities to identify how and where to enhance marine protection in a way that minimises impact and maximises opportunity.

“Therefore, while we remain firmly committed to the outcome of enhanced marine protection, the proposal as consulted on will not be progressed.

“I will outline more on our next steps after the summer recess, but I hope that it is clear that I am determined to protect our oceans in a way that is fair, and to find a way forward that ensures our seas remain a source of prosperity for the nation, especially in our remote, coastal and island communities.”

Also speaking at Holyrood, Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson said: “I was minded to welcome the apparent scrapping of HPMAs but this statement is no more than a last minute effort to pacify the rebels in her backbenches, as they head off on their holidays . . . because this statement continues to mention the unresearched arbitrary ten per cent target.”

And he added: “Will the minister apologise to our fishers and coastal communities for the worry and distress she has caused then over the last few months?”

  • Finlay Carson MSP is pictured above with fisherman Shaun Maguire

Front, Lockerbie and Lochmaben

17th May

And the BAFTA goes to . . .

By Fiona Reid | DNG24