Strategic to Project Level Decision Making
: Can Marine Spatial Planning Reduce Uncertainty and Provide an Evidence Base for Decision Making?

  • Rachel Jane Shucksmith

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


As use of the marine environment has expanded new management challenges have arisen between both users and between users and the environment. The use of marine spatial planning as a tool to manage these challenges has become increasingly common. The Shetland Isles were one of the first areas in the UK to develop a statutory marine planning process. By focussing on the development of the Shetland marine plan this thesis presents a series of methods and tools to assist in the development of marine plans. This research documents the challenges in ensuring mapping and decision making adequately and accurately represents existing uses and is cognisant of the varying views and values held by stakeholders and communities. It tests approaches to incorporate a range of human uses into a single management framework, regardless of whether they are spatially managed within marine spatial planning legislation. These processes and findings are transferable to other regions progressing their own marine plans. Overall, findings demonstrate the role for MSP to support decision making by reducing uncertainty and increasing representation of stakeholders over a range of management scales, from strategic to project level. These findings highlight the benefits the continued expansion of marine spatial planning can bring to sustainable management of the marine environment.
Date of Award5 Nov 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSteve Fletcher (Supervisor)

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