REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT
This Regulatory Impact Assessment ( RIA) is an initial attempt to describe the costs and benefits associated with proposals to establish Scotland's first Coastal and Marine National Park. No decisions have been taken on the preferred location or the functions and powers of the National Park authority that would be established so the RIA is at a relatively early stage.
The RIA will be refined and updated following completion of the consultation and a final RIA will be produced when policy decisions have been finalised and legislative proposals prepared.
The RIA is open to comments, improvements and corrections by any interested party. Comments are welcome on the possible costs arising from the establishment of a Coastal and Marine National Park.
It would be helpful in analysing the responses if respondents could, as far as possible, cross-reference their comments to the:
i. relevant area in which the Park could be established
ii. relevant model for the Park authority
iii. relevant paragraph of the consultation paper
Purpose and Intended Effect
The consultation seeks views on the designation of an area of Scotland as a Coastal and Marine National Park and on what the powers and functions should be for the National Park Authority for the area. No final decisions on the preferred location of a Coastal and Marine National Park or the powers and functions of the Park Authority have been taken, but it is anticipated that the Park and associated Park Authority would be established in 2008.
It is a relatively long standing policy commitment of Scottish Ministers to consider establishing a Coastal and Marine National Park. The National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 made provision for that and more recently Scottish Ministers sought views on this proposal as part of the consultation on Scotland's Marine and Coastal Strategy. The Minister for Environment and Rural Development announced on 15 June 2005 the Executive's intention to proceed towards the establishment of Scotland's first Coastal and Marine National Park.
The National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 would be used to develop a proposal for a Coastal and Marine National Park. The Act sets out four aims for Scottish National Parks:
- Conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area
- Promote the sustainable use of the natural resources of the area
- Promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) and of the special facilities of the area
- Promote the sustainable social and economic development of the area's communities
These aims seek to balance social and economic development opportunities with environmental considerations.
The establishment of the Park and Park Authority would also lead to the development of a National Park plan. A Board would be created for the Park Authority and staff would be employed to administer the Park's functions.
Proposals developed in light of consultation responses would be subject to further consultation prior to the finalisation of a boundary and definition of the functions and powers of the accompanying Park Authority.
Rationale for Government Intervention
The establishment of a Coastal and Marine National Park would complement the two existing National Parks (covering Cairngorms, and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs) and provide an opportunity to deliver similar benefits to local communities and the economy to those that are becoming apparent for these National Parks. It would share these National Parks' general aims which are aimed at promoting sustainable development and community well being while safeguarding Scotland's renowned cultural and natural heritage.
A Coastal and Marine National Park would also complement existing initiatives in the marine and coastal environment and provide a focus for better management and, potentially, simplification of existing regulation while maintaining its effectiveness.
Public consultation is currently being undertaken on the general policy and the issues arising from SNH's advice and there would be statutory consultation on a draft proposal for a Coastal and Marine National Park as well as the draft orders to establish the Park.
All Departments within the Scottish Executive have been consulted in preparation of this [partial] RIA.
Two options have been identified.
Option 1: Continue to rely on existing mechanisms for managing Scotland's marine environment.
Option 1 is the do nothing option and would have no additional costs but would not achieve the objectives. It would also be likely to forego the local benefits associated with option 2, particularly the potential benefits available through designation to improve the sustainable management of the area and increase social and economic opportunities for coastal communities. It could also risk the long term maintenance and improvement of the natural and cultural heritage.
Option 2: Take forward proposals to establish Scotland's first Coastal and Marine National Park.
Option 2 would achieve the objectives and lead to the opportunities outlined elsewhere in the 'objectives' and 'background' sections of this partial RIA but could lead to higher costs of some local businesses or sectors of the economy, although that would not necessarily happen, and indeed substantial benefits could be generated through tourism, branding and employment generation with consequent increases in income, turnover and added value of local businesses. The main risks are that the potential economic and social benefits are not exploited due to local circumstances or wider economic conditions.
The magnitude and balance of the costs and benefits will in part depend on which of the 3 models for the Park Authority are followed:
National park as planner and enabler
The main remit would be to plan for the area, integrate and co-ordinate the efforts of others, resolve conflicts and facilitate the implementation of initiatives and projects on the ground. The Park would be a statutory consultee on town and country planning issues, and have the basic Park functions in respect to conservation and recreation. Apart from this no additional powers or functions would be envisaged. The Park Authority could be relatively small with sufficient programme spend to undertake research and to initiate and take forward projects with others.
National Park as planner, enabler and manager
This model is similar but envisages a more formal role for the Park as managing authority and as a consultee on other regulatory processes to ensure compliance with the Park Plan. This could include a call-in mechanism for the Park Authority or Scottish Ministers when there is disagreement between them and one of the regulating bodies. A larger staff would be required to service this consultee role, though it could still be a relatively small body.
National Park as planner, enabler, manager and regulator
This regulatory model sees the Park subsuming many of the powers and functions of other public bodies and the local authority, including its planning, access and marine functions. The staffing requirement of such a body would be significant to ensure it had the necessary expertise and capacity to deal with regulatory casework. Rather than employing staff directly, it could enter into service agreements with others to provide these functions on its behalf, though decision making on these functions would remain with the Park Authority.
Costs and Benefits
Sectors and groups potentially affected
The magnitude and distribution of costs and benefits depends on the structure of the local economy of the area, the strengths of particular sectors and, potentially, the functions and powers of the National Park Authority but those that could be affected are likely to include wildlife tourism, inshore fisheries, aquaculture, ports and harbours, associated processing sectors, shipping, hotels and catering and specialist or small retailers. The Park Authority will not have regulatory functions in relation to ports and harbours activities and related consents or to shipping.
Effects are likely to be tangible at the local level and we do not anticipate the costs and benefits in monetary terms would be substantial at the national level although option 2 could enhance national well-being by contributing to improvements in health lifestyles and awareness and enjoyment of our natural and cultural heritage. These benefits would be particularly difficult to identify in monetary terms.
We welcome representations on this matter to assist with completion of the RIA.
Option 1: No additional benefits would be likely to arise as a direct result of pursuing this option as this is the do nothing option. There is a possibility that some of the potential economic and social benefits could be achieved indirectly on a more limited scale if more sector-specific initiatives are pursued independently but that would not be guaranteed and the wider benefits of more holistic and sustainable management through delivery of the Park Plan would not be achieved.
Option 2: The establishment of a National Park Authority would create local employment opportunities and the incomes associated with these new jobs could contribute to the strength of the local economy. The 'planner and enabler' model (see description above) for the Park Authority would create more limited opportunities for employment creation than the other two possible models but while it is possible that the 'planner, enabler, manager and regulator' could create the greatest jobs some of these may not be net increases in employment because such a model may entail transfer of functions from existing regulators.
This option would also be expected to lead to increases in tourism to the chosen National Park area and associated visitor spend would further increase income to the local economy, particularly for hotels and catering, retailers, museums and other visitor attractions. If the National Park included islands within the boundary the increased number of visitors could lead to greater number of passengers on ferries thus generating higher income and contributing to the viability and profitability of existing routes. It could also lead to new routes becoming viable and consequent benefits for island communities not currently served by ferries.
The benefits to tourism and associated sectors could also be felt for longer periods throughout the calendar year than the key visitor seasons at present.
Increased tourism could also benefit local traditional industrial sectors such as fisheries and food processing as well as newer industries like aquaculture as local demand through restaurants and other catering establishments is increased for premium products such as shellfish. These sectors could also exploit demand for 'green' products through development of new branding opportunities to associate their produce with the National Park with the potential for these to facilitate expansion into new markets.
The development of a National Park Plan could lead to clearer information for local businesses on their operating environment as well as better signposting for industry, new portals for consent applications and better co-ordination between regulators. It could produce simplification of existing regulation thus reducing the overall regulatory burden on business and the costs of operations although such benefits would not be felt in the shorter term and are perhaps more likely under the 'regulator' model and would need to be balanced against the potential for increased costs associated with that model.
The National Park designation and the associated development of a National Park plan would also better ensure that the natural and cultural heritage of the area is safeguarded for the nation and future generations.
We welcome representations on the potential benefits to assist with completion of the RIA.
Option 1: No additional costs would arise from this option although there would be an opportunity cost for the local area in not capitalising on all of the potential benefits described above although some of these benefits may be experienced to a degree should they be taken forward in the absence of a National Park designation.
Option 2: Our initial conclusion is that there would be no net additional costs to industry but some individual businesses may be affected in those sectors of the local economy in which restructuring could take place to exploit the new commercial opportunities arising from the establishment of a Coastal and Marine National Park. It is difficult to be more certain about costs at this stage, and views are invited from those that consider they may be affected, but additional investment by some businesses in industries such as tourism to take advantage of new opportunities could lead to a reduction in competitiveness of other businesses within the industry. This will be likely to depend on the area in which a National Park would be located and once a decision is taken on that a more detailed RIA would be produced as part of the consultation on the proposal. The Executive would be grateful if respondees are able to provide further information on businesses likely to be affected.
Restructuring in some sectors such as inshore fisheries may also be more likely should the 'regulator' model for the Park authority be pursued. This is not the favoured model at present but views on all these models are being sought through the consultation so the possibility of this model being pursued cannot be ruled out as Ministers will be considering responses to the consultation carefully. Even if this scenario were the preferred model any locally-based restrictions would not prevent fishermen that use that area to shift their activities to other areas although that may lead to increased pressures on the latter areas. In addition, the potential costs to some fishermen under this scenario would be likely to be offset by benefits accruing from new methods of conducting fishing and marketing related produce as well as benefits to other sectors of the economy and cultural and natural heritage.
Overview of costs
In line with the comments on option 2, it is thought unlikely that there will be significant additional costs to any sector arising from the establishment of Scotland's first Coastal and Marine National Park, especially under the "planner and enabler" and "planner, enabler and manager" models for the Park Authority.
Direct costs to the Scottish Executive and its agencies
The proposed changes should not result in any significant additional cost to Government or its agencies, particularly if the "planner and enabler" or "planner, enabler and manager" model for the Park Authority is pursued. Scottish Natural Heritage's advice provides details on costs of the two existing National Parks but these may be an over estimate of the costs of the Park Authority for a Coastal and Marine National Park if it initially follows the planner/enabler model. The third possible model identified by Scottish Natural Heritage, namely "planner, enabler, manager and regulator" could lead to some restructuring but even if this model is preferred final decisions will be based on careful assessment of the overall costs and benefits of changes to existing regulatory processes. We will initiate a research programme, including work to provide improved estimates of costs and benefits to assist with completion of the RIA.
The Small/Micro Firms' Impact Test
The proposals are at an early stage and we have not consulted with small business representatives but once responses are analysed and a preferred location and model for the Park Authority has been identified consultation will be undertaken. In the meantime it is our view that Option 1 would not have an impact on small/micro firms for the reasons outlined in section on costs of that option. Costs implications associated with Option 2 may have a disproportionate effect on small/micro businesses because any reduction in competitiveness of the business could have a more significant impact on their operations. On the other hand the proposals are likely to lead to opportunities for new business formation, and growth and development of small micro firms, in the tourism industry and other sectors of the economy as there are no anti-competitive elements to the proposals.
Test run of business forms
No business forms are proposed.
The establishment of a National Park and creation of a National Park authority would not have any direct impact on competition. It will not distort or restrict competition within individual sectors of the economy as there are no anti-competitive elements to the proposals.
Enforcement, sanctions and monitoring
It is anticipated that enforcement would rely on existing agencies with powers and authority to enforce existing legislation and management procedures on which a National Park would rely. For example, the police would enforce any bylaws put in place by the Park Authority.
The proposals are at an early stage but once responses are analysed and a preferred location and model for the Park Authority has been identified it will be clearer what, if any, additional enforcement measures may be needed and the RIA of the final proposals will provide further detail.