The competing demands on the Solway Firth will be the focus of a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Environment Committee in Kirkcudbright on Monday 22 June.
The committee will hold its first ever meeting in the town to gather evidence as part of its ongoing scrutiny of the Marine (Scotland) Bill. In the morning the committee will visit Mersehead, meeting local people with an interest or involvement in the management of the Solway Firth to hear first-hand about the challenges and opportunities. This will be followed by a formal committee meeting in Kirkcudbright Town Hall in the afternoon.
Committee Convener Maureen Watt said: “People living around the Solway Firth know that it is a precious resource. It is crucial to ensure that it is well-managed in the years to come. That is what our scrutiny of this legislation is intended to achieve, and exploring practical issues about marine management with local people is a vital part of the scrutiny process.
"Our discussions will focus on locally important issues including the impact of offshore renewable developments, cross-border issues and the importance of protecting the marine environment.”
The Marine (Scotland) Bill aims to create a framework to manage the growing and competing demands for the use of resources in the seas around Scotland, balancing environmental and socio-economic considerations to maximise economic growth within sustainable environmental limits.
Stakeholders giving evidence at the committee meeting include representatives from the Solway Firth Partnership, Scottish Renewables and the British Ports Association.
The visit to the Solway Firth area is one of a number of fact-finding trips to areas likely to be directly affected by the Marine (Scotland) Bill. The committee has already visited Aberdeenshire and Argyll as well as holding formal evidence sessions on the bill and inviting written submissions.
The process to scrutinise the bill began in May and the committee is due to report its findings towards the end of October this year.