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Scotland’s first Historic Marine Protected Area

Scottish Government has now designated its first Historic Marine Protected Area close to the harbour of Drumbeg in Sutherland. Scotland is currently the only part of the United Kingdom in which marine protected areas can be designated on historic grounds

Q S4W-13728? Clare Adamson: To ask the Scottish Government what progress Historic Scotland has made on designating Historic Marine Protected Areas. (18/03/13)

A Fiona Hyslop (18/03/2013): Following work to record the remains of a historic wreck site discovered by scallop divers close to the harbour of Drumbeg, Sutherland, Historic Scotland has today designated Scotland’s first Historic Marine Protected Area (MPA) under the urgent designation procedures in the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. This is the first time that the new MPA powers have been used. Public consultation will follow shortly on a proposal to make this designation more permanent.

As part of this first round of consultation, Historic Scotland will also be inviting views on proposals to designate six further Historic MPAs during 2013, to protect seven historic shipwrecks ranging from a 17th century Scottish warship off Duart Point, Mull, to the Campania, a Clydebuilt former Blue-Riband winning Cunard liner, which performed valuable service as a converted aircraft carrier during WW1. Their designation as Historic MPAs will allow the Scottish Government to replace existing statutory protection for these sites under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. This will align marine heritage protection in Scotland with the Scottish Government’s new marine planning system and its overall approach to protection of our outstanding marine environment. The change in designation will not only help to protect these sites from harm, but will also help to streamline the consent arrangements and provide new opportunities for responsible access by scuba divers and others who will be more easily able to enjoy and appreciate these highly important sites.

Once these initial designations are in place, Historic Scotland will be visiting Orkney to consider the need for a historic MPA to protect what remains under water relating to the key wartime naval anchorage of Scapa Flow in advance of the centenary of WW1. A small number of other high priority, currently undesignated sites around the Scottish coast may also be considered between now and 2015.

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