Blue Seas - Green Energy A Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters Part A The Plan

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A. Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy

The Offshore Wind Sectoral Marine Plan contains proposals for offshore wind energy generation at the strategic level within Scottish Territorial Waters. It has been developed using Strategic Environmental Assessment, Habitats Regulations Appraisal, Socio-economic Assessment and Consultation Analysis. It contains a summary of the main headline findings from these plan making 'tools' 15. This section includes:

  • Plan Development Timeline
  • Final Sectoral Marine Plan
  • Plan Implementation

The Post Adoption SEA Statement (Part B) sets out more specific detail on the options for development and covers the issues which have been raised within consultation. As part of the next review process, Marine Scotland will expand the geographic scope of the Plan to cover Scottish waters within Scottish Offshore Waters out to the 200 nautical mile limit.

Plan Development and Timeline

A.1 The Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy has been developed through the following steps and key milestones:

1. CEC announcement and Scottish Government commitment to SEA

  • CEC announce 10 exclusivity agreements for sites for offshore wind developments in Scottish Territorial Waters - February 2009
  • The Scottish Government announce that an SEA will be undertaken - February 2009

2. Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) Screening and Scoping

  • SEA Screening and Scoping stages were completed by the Scottish Government - June 2009
  • SEA Screening and Scoping documents were consulted upon and finalised - August 2009
  • Five consortia were appointed under Official Journal of the European Union ( OJEU) contract procedures to undertake marine planning work, including SEA - September 2009

3. SEA Environmental Report and Draft Plan

  • Halcrow appointed to undertake SEA Environmental Report and help produce draft Plan - November 2009
  • Steering Group formed with the Scottish Government Energy and Environment Directorates General and Consultation Authorities in December 2009
  • Offshore Wind Industry Group ( OWIG) requested the use of MaRS to identify additional development options - January 2010
  • Pre-consultation workshops held with relevant sectors, OWIG, and NGOs - January - February 2010
  • Steering Group and industry / environment NGOs requested MaRS scorings and weightings values set to be transparent and definitive - February 2010
  • Final pre-consultation workshop held with OWIG, SNH and fishing sector as final check before publication of SEA and draft Plan - May 2010.

4. Statutory Consultation and production of Consultation Analysis

  • Offshore Wind SEA Environmental Report and Draft Plan published - May 2010
  • Statutory consultation undertaken over 12 weeks - May - August 2010
  • Consultation workshops held with aquaculture, fishing, shipping, aviation, recreation and tourism sectors - June - August 2010
  • Joint consultation held with environmental NGOs and Scottish Coastal Forum ( SCF) - July 2010
  • Statutory Consultation extended by 6 weeks to September 2010
  • 17 Regional Workshops held - August - September 2010
  • 856 consultation written responses received
  • Consultation Analysis Report published - December 2010
  • 6 further regional workshops held to verify findings - January - February 2011
  • Addendum to Consultation Analysis produced as a result of further consultation workshops and published - March 2011.

5. Habitats Regulations Appraisal ( HRA)

  • SEA used to inform the HRA specification - May 2010
  • HRA specification developed by a steering group consisting of the Scottish Government, SNH, JNCC, environmental NGOs, Scottish Renewables and CEC - August 2010
  • HRA commissioned - October 2010
  • HRA published - March 2011

6. Socio-economic Assessment

  • Socio-economic Assessment Specification developed - October - November 2010
  • Consultation Analysis used as baseline information for socio-economic assessment - December 2010
  • Consultants commissioned to undertake assessment - December 2010
  • Socio-economic Assessment informed by advisory group including shipping, fishing, tourism, aviation, relevant Local Authorities, Scottish Renewables, CEC and the Scottish Government
  • Socio-economic Assessment published - March 2011.

7. Plan and Post-Adoption Statement

  • Plan and Post Adoption Statement published - March 2011

8. Plan Review - Monitoring and Research

  • Plan Monitoring and further Research work will be taken forward in an initial 2 year review cycle
  • Advisory Groups, with relevant representation, will be formed to contribute to studies
  • Extension of the geographic scope to include Scottish Offshore Waters
  • Scoping and Regional Locational Guidance to establish further opportunities for development
  • Consultation and reporting will be undertaken if findings result in proposals to change the Plan.

The Final Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy

A.2 The Final Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy contains 6 short term sites and 25 medium term areas of search. The 6 short term sites are:

  • Islay
  • Argyll Array
  • Beatrice
  • Inch Cape
  • Neart na Gaoithe, and
  • Forth Array

The 25 medium term areas of search remain the same as the consultation draft. Fig.3 (below) contains a map of the final short term sites and medium term areas of search.

Fig 3. Short-term Sites and Medium Term Areas of Search (Final Plan)

Fig 3. Short-term Sites and Medium Term Areas of Search (Final Plan)

Regional Opportunities and Issues

A.3 The following sections focus on the short-term sites and medium term areas of search identified on a regional basis within Scottish Territorial Waters 16:

  • East
  • North East
  • North
  • North West
  • West
  • South West

Fig. 4 Offshore Wind Plan Regions

Fig. 4 Offshore Wind Plan Regions

EAST

East map

A.4.1 The East Region includes three short term sites and one medium term area of search which overlaps with the three short term sites. The short term sites are:

  • Forth Array
  • Inch Cape
  • Neart na Gaoithe

The medium term option is:

  • E1

It should be noted that the Bell Rock site was withdrawn by CEC and the developer and will not proceed to the licensing stage.

A.4.2 Recommendation:

  • Evidence available at this stage suggests that the East region is a suitable region to progress the development of offshore wind in the short and medium term.
  • The short term options within this region should therefore be taken forward to the licensing stage.
  • Potential for effects including cumulative and in-combination effects on issues such as shipping and fishing will require careful consideration.
  • There is also further opportunity for development in adjacent Scottish Offshore Waters.

A.4.3 Key Findings:

  • There is significant potential for the development of the short term options.
  • The development of the short term options appear at this stage to be publicly and environmentally acceptable.
  • The region relates closely to areas where there is significant potential for economic investment and employment.

A. 4.4 Key Issues to be addressed:

  • Shipping and navigation (access to the Forth and Tay Ports)
  • Fishing
  • Biodiversity
  • Radar and defence activities
  • Aviation

A. 4.5 Key Actions:

  • Further analysis of cumulative effects (including the short and medium term options and the adjacent Round 3 area) should be undertaken to inform site licensing and the Plan review process.
  • Further work is required in this Region and in adjacent Scottish Offshore Waters to consider whether other development proposals could be brought forward for consideration into the short term.
  • Further liaison with shipping, fishing, aviation, defence and environmental sectors will be required for Plan review purposes.
  • Further work, building on ongoing developer engagement in this region, should be undertaken to increase public awareness of the proposals and involve affected communities in their delivery.

NORTH EAST

North East map

A. 5.1 The North East Region includes one short term site and three medium term areas of search. The short term site is:

  • Beatrice

The medium term options are:

  • NE1
  • NE2
  • NE3

A. 5.2 Recommendation:

  • Evidence available at this stage suggests that the North East region is a suitable location to progress the development of offshore wind.
  • The short term option within this region should be taken forward to the licensing stage.
  • Medium term areas of search require further strategic assessment. Development within area NE1 in particular may be limited as a result of potential for significant visual effects.
  • There is also further opportunity for development in adjacent Scottish Offshore Waters.

A. 5.3 Key Findings:

  • There is significant potential for the development in the short term.
  • The development of the short term option appears to be publicly and environmentally acceptable.
  • The region relates closely to areas where there is significant potential for economic investment and employment.

A. 5.4 Key Issues to be addressed:

  • Shipping and navigation
  • Fishing
  • Biodiversity
  • Aviation and radar
  • Defence activities

A. 5.5 Key Actions:

  • Further analysis of cumulative and in-combination effects to include the Round 3 site should be undertaken to inform selection for the areas of search in the medium term. This will be addressed within the Plan review process.
  • Further work is required in this Region and in adjacent Scottish waters to consider whether other development proposals could be brought forward for consideration into the short term.
  • Further liaison with shipping, fishing, aviation, defence and environmental sectors will be required for licensing and plan review.
  • Additional work should be undertaken to increase public awareness of the proposals and involve affected communities in their delivery.

NORTH

North map

A.6.1 The North Region has no short term sites and six medium term areas of search. The medium term options are:

  • N1
  • N4
  • N5
  • N6
  • N7
  • N8

A. 6.2 Recommendations:

  • Evidence available at this stage suggests that the North region is a suitable region to progress the development of offshore wind.
  • Medium term areas of search within this region require further assessment and could be suitable for consideration for development in the short term.
  • Offshore wind should be recognised as an important part of the energy mix of Shetland and Orkney.
  • Where feasible, further opportunities for offshore wind energy in this region should be pursued, in order to realise potential social and economic benefits.

A. 6.3 Key Findings:

  • Development within the region should support, and not preclude, aspirations for marine energy generation.
  • Most of the medium term options are confined to the area around Shetland. Those around Orkney are largely discounted as a result of a number of technical and environmental constraints.
  • There is also further opportunity for development in adjacent Scottish Offshore Waters.

A. 6.4 Key Issues to be addressed:

  • Shipping and navigation
  • Fishing
  • Biodiversity
  • Aviation and radar
  • Defence activities
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Recreation
  • Community engagement

A. 6.5 Key Actions:

  • Further analysis should be undertaken to inform site selection within the areas of search in the medium term. This will be addressed within the Plan review process.
  • Further work is required in this Region and in adjacent Scottish Offshore Waters to consider whether other development proposals could be brought forward for consideration into the short term.
  • Further liaison with shipping, fishing, aviation, defence and environmental sectors will be required
  • Additional work should be undertaken to increase public awareness of the proposals and involve affected communities in their delivery.
  • Grid availability and options need to be included within the Plan review process, including bringing medium term options forward into the short term and investigating further opportunities for development in the adjacent Scottish Offshore Waters.

NORTH WEST

North West map

A.7.1 The North West Region has no short term sites and six medium term areas of search. The medium term options are:

  • NW2
  • NW4
  • NW5
  • NW6
  • NW7
  • NW8

A.7.2 Recommendation:

  • Evidence available at this stage suggests that the North West region is suitable to progress the development of offshore wind.
  • Medium term areas of search within this region require further assessment and could be suitable for development in the short term.
  • Where feasible, further opportunities for offshore wind energy in this region should be pursued, in order to realise potential social and economic benefits.
  • There is further opportunity for development in adjacent Scottish Offshore Waters.

A.7.3 Key Findings - Appraisal of Sustainability:

  • The environmental constraints within the area should be recognised, but it is also important to take into account the aspirations for renewable energy development in this region, and the associated economic development opportunities.
  • Development within the region should support, and not preclude, aspirations for marine energy generation.

A.7.4 Key Issues to be addressed:

  • Shipping and navigation
  • Fishing
  • Biodiversity
  • Recreation
  • Defence activities
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Community engagement

A.7.5 Key Actions:

  • Further analysis should be undertaken to inform site selection for the areas of search in the medium term. This will be addressed within the Plan review process.
  • Further work is required in this Region and in adjacent Scottish waters to consider whether other development proposals could be brought forward for consideration into the short term.
  • Further liaison with shipping, fishing, recreation, defence and environmental sectors will be required.
  • Additional work should be undertaken to increase public awareness of the proposals and involve affected communities in their delivery.

WEST

West map

A.8.1 The West Region has three short term sites and four medium term areas of search. The short-term sites are:

  • Argyll Array
  • Islay
  • Kintyre

The medium term options are:

  • W1
  • W2
  • W3
  • W4

It should be noted that the developer has withdrawn from the Kintyre site.

A.8.2 Recommendations:

  • There is considerable resource potential in this region. At the same time, the region possesses particular environmental sensitivities, remote community identity and special coastal and island qualities which must be taken very carefully into account.
  • Argyll Array and Islay - To proceed to the project stage, community-led scenario and masterplanning techniques should be developed to fully explore the onshore aspects of development, identify potential impacts of onshore development scenarios and the scope for mitigation. The communities and the developers must be assisted by Argyll and Bute Council, the Scottish Government and CEC to allow them to work together to achieve this.
  • Kintyre - This site as chosen presents significant problems for the development of offshore wind. The significant strategic issues include a lack of public acceptability on environmental and visual impact grounds as well as impacts on existing and potential future investment opportunities.

As a result, the Scottish Ministers have decided that the Kintyre site is unsuitable for the development of offshore wind and should not be progressed as part of the Sectoral Marine Plan.

  • Medium term areas of search within this region require further assessment. This will be addressed within the Plan review process.

A.8.3 Key Findings:

  • The Argyll Array has the potential to benefit the community of Tiree, but could also result in adverse environmental impacts depending on the sensitivity of the proposals for both offshore and onshore elements. The sensitivity of the island's environment, existing infrastructure and sectoral activity as well as cultural fragility should be taken into account and in a partnership approach with the community, as proposals for the development begin to emerge.
  • The Islay site could also create adverse impacts due to the sensitivity of the island's environment and will require further assessment to address key issues including impacts on seascapes and landscapes, existing sectoral activity and community concern and would also benefit from effective community engagement.

A.8.4 Key Issues to be addressed:

  • Communities
  • Shipping
  • Fishing
  • Biodiversity
  • Recreation
  • Defence
  • Seascapes and Landscapes
  • Aviation
  • Cultural Heritage

A.8.5 Key Actions:

  • Further analysis should be undertaken to inform site selection within the areas of search in the medium term.
  • Further work is required in this Region and in adjacent Scottish Offshore Waters to consider whether other development proposals could be brought forward for consideration into the short term.
  • Further liaison with shipping, fishing, recreation, tourism, defence and environmental sectors will be required.
  • Effective community engagement will be a significant consideration and scenario and masterplanning techniques will be required.
  • Grid availability and options need to be included within the Plan review process.

SOUTH WEST

Soth West map

A.9.1 The South West Region has two short term sites and five medium term options. The short-term sites are:

  • Solway Firth
  • Wigtown Bay

The medium term options are:

  • SW1
  • SW3
  • SW4
  • SW5
  • SW6

A.9.2 Recommendations:

  • To proceed to project level development in respect of the Solway Firth and Wigtown Bay sites, considerable work would be required to address a wide range of constraints. Evidence at this stage indicates that the following issues would require to be addressed:
  • Significant and potentially insurmountable challenges arising from strong public concern / opposition;
  • Considerable changes to the site boundaries and a substantial increase in the distance of the turbines from the shore would be required to address nationally significant landscape, seascape and visual effects;
  • Benefit for local communities and the regional economy would require to be proven to address the anticipated significant adverse effects of the developments.
  • As a result, the Scottish Ministers have decided that the Solway Firth and Wigtown Bay sites are unsuitable for the development of offshore wind and should not be progressed as part of the Sectoral Marine Plan.
  • Medium term areas of search will require further assessment. To proceed to the project stage the developers would need to address community concerns on environmental and socio-economic impacts.

A.9.3 Key Findings:

  • There is strong opposition to offshore wind energy development anywhere within the Solway Firth.
  • There is potential for significant visual effects on nationally significant designated landscapes and wider sensitive seascapes.
  • The sites are likely to generate a wide range of further adverse environmental effects, particularly in relation to cultural heritage and biodiversity (birds, marine mammals and fish).

A.9.4 Key Issues to be addressed:

  • Communities
  • Shipping
  • Fishing
  • Biodiversity
  • Recreation
  • Defence
  • Economic Impact
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Seascapes and Landscapes

A. 9.5 Key Actions:

  • Further detailed assessment would be required to address the many environmental and technical constraints identified in this region.
  • Further analysis would require to be undertaken to inform site selection within the areas of search in the medium term.
  • Further liaison with shipping, fishing, recreation, defence and environmental sectors would be required.
  • Further work and liaison with Dumfries and Galloway Council and the communities would be required to underpin any proposals to prove positive socio-economic effects from any development.

Plan Implementation

A.10 Implementation of the Plan will require the successful integration of the following measures:

  • Key Considerations
  • Key Actions
  • Mitigation Measures
  • Guidance for Future Assessments
  • Review - Monitoring & Research

The remainder of this section will address these measures.

Key Considerations

A.11 The following measures require consideration, as appropriate, as the implementation of the Plan progresses:

  • Community and Stakeholder Engagement - Communities, stakeholders and organisations have expressed their views on the SEA Environmental Report and draft Plan and these have been taken into account in the final version of the Plan. It is essential that communication with these groups, and the wider public, continues as implementation progresses. In particular, further liaison with the shipping, aviation, tourism, recreation and commercial fishing sectors, and other users of the sea and coastal environment in a partnership culture will be essential to the successful delivery of the Plan. Public acceptability is seen as a main issue in the development and delivery of sustainable development and the Scottish Government will promote techniques to involve local government planning authorities and communities within Plan review processes and at the project level, including scenario and master-planning and other inclusive good practice techniques.
  • HRA (leading to Appropriate Assessment) at the Project Level - The strategic level HRA concluded that it would be feasible to take forward the short term development options without adversely affecting Natura sites, subject to the deployment of effective mitigation measures. However, further work is required due to the strategic HRA findings, which will include HRA at the project level, taking into account regional cumulative and in-combination effects. This may render some of the sites unavailable, if appropriate mitigation measures cannot be applied to specific projects. Further testing of medium term options will also be required to ensure these and any sites selected within their boundaries can also be taken forward in a way which avoids generating adverse impacts.
  • Cumulative and In-combination Effects - Further assessment work at the regional level is required to address these effects. Issues such as the scheduling of the development of projects within Scottish Territorial and Offshore Waters should be carefully monitored. There is a need to ensure that cumulative and in-combination effects are fully recognised and taken into account at the regional and project level through Plan monitoring and review. In addition, developer-led work should contribute to addressing these issues in a suitable and effective manner.

Key Actions

A.12 The design of the Plan required a set of strategic assessments and actions to deliver the sustainable development of offshore wind. The identified strategic Actions reconcile a commitment to the development of offshore wind with the views and concerns of stakeholders and the public. These Actions are informed by the evidence base set out in the Post Adoption Statement ( PART B).

ACTION 1- Further Lease Bidding Round For Scottish Waters

  • Development of the Plan has raised a number of significant issues and challenges. The assessment and consultation findings in particular have begun to articulate where, in regional and spatial terms, this type of development may, or may not be, publicly and environmentally acceptable, but not at the project level where mitigation or further work could have a bearing on the issues of acceptability. However, this work has also led to an appreciation of the further opportunities for development in both the short and medium term. There are potential opportunities for medium term options, following revisiting of work, to be found suitable for development in the short term or early in the medium term. There is also scope to find further opportunities for offshore wind energy development in both the short and medium term -in addition to our Round 3 sites - once geographic coverage of extends beyond Scottish Territorial Waters into Scottish Offshore Waters.
  • As detailed above, some substantive development constraints have been identified that will require further consideration at the regional and project level. In particular, a number of sites located in environmentally sensitive areas and / or close to shore have raised significant levels of public and stakeholder concern.
  • It is proposed that further work is undertaken with developers and CEC to identify additional alternatives for development within Scottish waters. This will be subject to the sustainability appraisal approach used for the Sectoral Marine Plan, to ensure that significant adverse effects will be mitigated. These assessments / appraisals will be taken forward as appropriate to facilitate lease bidding and incorporated into the Plan at the two year review stage.

ACTION 2 - A multi-sectoral HIGH LEVEL Steering/Advisory group will be established to oversee Plan implementation

  • Offshore wind energy development has the potential to affect other users of the sea, including those with interests in fishing, shipping, recreation, tourism, environment and the communities around the coast.
  • The needs of other users of the sea and coastal communities will continue to be explored and taken into account as implementation of the Plan progresses. The Marine Strategy Forum will have a standing item on its agenda and will be asked to reflect on progress and ensure that all relevant sectors are provided with an early opportunity to identify strategic and regional issues requiring further consideration.
  • Individual advisory groups will be set up to develop monitoring and research specifications and review outputs of relevant studies with appropriate representation to the satisfaction of the Marine Strategy Forum.

ACTION 3 - The evidence base underpinning the Plan and its SEA will be subject to further review

  • CEC's MaRS model was used to identify medium term options for consideration alongside the short term sites within the SEA. This is a marine spatial planning tool which contains more than 400 data layers. The model can be used to plot data layers with different values related to the variable scoring and weighting values applied to the layers.
  • The application of MaRS was discussed with key stakeholders and the SEA steering group during the preparation of the draft Plan. It was acknowledged that a consensus view on an acceptable set of scorings and weightings would prove difficult to achieve. To progress this, a simplistic approach was agreed for the scoring and weighting of datasets to ensure transparency for statutory consultation purposes. However, due to this approach it was also recognised that the model would require further development and refinement within the Plan review process.
  • In response to concerns from certain sectors about the weightings and scorings applied (see Part B1 of the Post Adoption SEA Statement, Marine Scotland Science ( MSS) revisited the earlier MaRS modelling work to identify the medium term options (2020-30). This work has shown that the output from MaRS can vary significantly, depending on the datasets used and their associated weightings. As a result, the Scottish Government will work with the Marine Strategy Forum and other stakeholders to consider further MaRS modelling sensitivity testing and model normalisation techniques. This will result in the revisiting of the medium term options identified as having development potential within the Plan. In the meantime these options have the status of areas of search.
  • A number of other issues were identified during the SEA about the quality, availability and accuracy of environmental baseline data. The HRA and Socio-economic Assessment have additionally identified further research needs, on the basis of known gaps and uncertainties. A framework for addressing these gaps is provided in B.5 of the Post-Adoption Statement.

ACTION 4 - ThE Plan will be Interfaced with the DEVELOPING Marine Renewables Plan AND INCORPORATED INTO the National Marine PLANNING SYSTEM

  • The Plan focuses on the opportunities and challenges arising from offshore wind energy in Scottish Territorial Waters. Work has commenced on a similar Plan for Marine Renewables (wave and tidal energy) in Scottish Waters. Both sectoral plan processes will seek to integrate work to ensure cumulative and in-combination issues are recognised so they can be assessed. The key recommendations from these sectoral plans will be integrated into the National Marine Planning System. Further consultation and a sustainability appraisal of the National Marine Plan will also be undertaken. This will allow for further consideration of the interactions between renewable energy, the marine environment and other users of the sea.

ACTION 5 - Further integration of on and offshore planning

  • There is an identified need to ensure that offshore development links with onshore aspirations and sensitivities. More work is required, for example, to develop a strategic approach to assessing socio-economic impacts at the regional level (including Business Regulatory Impact Appraisal) and to link development in areas where there is particular intention to invest in development or economic strategies which are not complementary to offshore wind, or where complementary infrastructure and manufacturing facilities will facilitate offshore wind development. The Scottish Government will therefore work with key interest groups to identify practical actions for achieving this. Development planning for land use has a key role to play in ensuring that onshore aspects of development are delivered in an appropriate way.
  • There is a recognised need to identify and deliver the reinforcement and further development of Scotland's onshore and offshore grid network that will connect and transport Scotland's energy potential, deliver a low carbon generating mix and ensure security of future energy supply. The Scottish Government will continue to work with UK and EU Governments, Ofgem and transmission system operators in a number of strategic groupings envisaging future grid offshore network at UK and EU level and the required onshore grid to accommodate offshore energy. The aim is to ensure Scotland capitalises on the enormous potential presented by renewable energy from Scotland's wave, wind and tidal energies and to developing and reinforcing onshore and offshore grid in Scotland that can connect and transport renewable energy from the sites of best resource in and around the coast of Scotland.
  • A scenario / masterplan pilot study is being progressed for Tiree, in relation to the Argyll Array, with the intention to roll this approach out for Islay in relation to the Islay array. This approach will be led by the planning authority - Argyll and Bute Council - in partnership with the Scottish Government, CEC, HIE, the developers and with the relevant communities represented. This work should provide a means of testing where the related onshore development can be progressed in an inclusive manner with the community able to contribute effectively to the development process, promote community views on acceptability and gain better understanding of the rationale behind decisions. The Scottish Government anticipate that if successful, this approach could be applied to other short and medium term options and to Regional Marine Planning.

ACTION 6 - APPLICATION OF STRATEGIC LEVEL INFORMATION

  • The high-level environmental and socio-economic information used for the Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy should provide a starting point for more region-specific assessment and help steer project level work. The process of Marine Licensing should give due consideration to the Plan and the plan-making tools of SEA, HRA, Socio-economic Assessment and the Consultation Analysis. The information within these documents, this Plan and the Post Adoption Statement will help define the scope of any required assessments for specific development proposals.
  • Regional level analysis will play a crucial role in bridging the gap between the strategic and project levels. As a condition of the lease agreements, CEC requires developers to work together on a regional basis to undertake cross-cutting data collection and analyse potential cumulative and in-combination effects in more detail. These groups of developers will form a focus for translating high level assessment findings at the project scale. The Scottish Government will work with these groups to ensure that there is an appropriate interface between their work and the future monitoring and research coming from the various plan-making tools. Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team will however have the main role of considering screening, scoping and assessment requirements for licensing purposes.

Mitigation

A.13.1 The application of appropriate mitigation measures is key to the sustainable development of Offshore Wind. These measures should be used to avoid or reduce the impacts of development proposals.

A.13.2 The SEA Environmental Report identifies measures to address potentially significant adverse impacts on the environment. The HRA identifies measures to ensure that development does not result in impacts on the integrity of internationally protected European sites. This section identifies:

  • Mitigation Measures; and
  • Guidance for Further Assessments

A.13.3 The following measures will require consideration, as appropriate, for all of the sites and options:

Pollution

  • Measures to reduce pollution risks arising during construction, operation and decommissioning of the developments
  • Application of best practice marine construction procedures for the prevention and control of spillages and discharges of harmful substances to the marine environment, for sediment mobilisation and associated turbidity and secondary effects on marine and benthic fauna

Nature Conservation

  • Key areas of nature conservation for species and habitats (e.g. designated sites, flight corridors and migratory routes, commuting routes between feeding grounds and nesting sites) and fisheries value (e.g. spawning grounds) should be subject to HRA / Appropriate Assessment, where appropriate, influence the positioning and subsequent design of potential developments.
  • Specific impacts on species and habitats (including fisheries) should be reduced through appropriate design (e.g. minimising footprint of the development to minimise loss or damage to seabed habitat), and selection and use of appropriate construction (e.g. timing to avoid key seasons; selection of low noise and minimal vibration installation technologies; utilisation of 'soft start' practices for plant and vessels to minimise disturbance and allow mobile species to move away from areas of disturbance) and operation methods (e.g. use of noise attenuation technologies)
  • Any mitigation measures identified as part of future studies on migratory fish should be taken into account. (see PART B.5)

Landscapes and Seascapes (Visual Amenity)

  • Offshore wind developments should, in general, take into account the existing character and quality of the seascape, how highly it is valued and its capacity to accommodate change.
  • Offshore wind development proposals should seek to avoid or mitigate detrimental impacts on the settings of World Heritage Sites.
  • Offshore wind development should take account of the impacts on the special qualities for which a National Scenic Area is designated. Consideration should be given to factors such as size of offshore wind devices, number of devices or scale of development, distance from the NSA and sensitivity of the NSA setting. Proposals that significantly affect NSAs should normally be permitted where:
  • It will not adversely affect the integrity of the area or the qualities for which it has been designated
  • Any such adverse effects are clearly outweighed by social, environmental, climate change, or economic benefits of national importance
  • Offshore wind developments should, where possible, incorporate advice contained in the Offshore Wind and Marine Renewables Licensing Manual in the planning and design stage.

Recreation

  • Developments should avoid RYA cruising routes and areas of known high recreational activity and importance through appropriate positioning within the option boundary. Specific impacts should be reduced through appropriate design and selection and use of appropriate construction and operation methods.

Built Environment and Marine Archaeology

  • Developments should be fully assessed to identify and mitigate their effects on listed buildings and scheduled sites (and their settings) and wrecks (both designated and non-designated) where possible through appropriate positioning within the option boundary, and where impacts cannot be avoided, these should be reduced through appropriate design.

Shipping

  • Developments should avoid shipping routes where possible through appropriate positioning within the option boundary. Where impacts cannot be avoided, these should be reduced through appropriate design. In the case of many of the sites and options, full navigation risk assessments are expected to be required, at a regional and / or site specific level. Cumulative effects require further work within the Plan review process and could be required at the project level.

Fishing

  • The Scottish Government encourages offshore wind energy developers to actively engage with national and local fishing organisations to ensure that fishing activities can continue with minimal disturbance. The knowledge and expertise of the marine environment which exists within this sector should be utilised to ensure the sustainable development of offshore wind energy in Scottish Territorial and Offshore Waters.
  • Developments should be fully assessed to identify and where possible mitigate their effects on fishing activity. Fishing grounds of particular economic importance to coastal communities, where known, should be avoided or the effects of development mitigated through appropriate positioning within the option boundary. Cumulative effects on fishing and potential effects of displacement of fishing activity require further work within the Plan review process and at the project level.
  • There is an identified need for better information on the distribution of fishing activity, especially small vessels which are not covered by Scottish Government vessel monitoring scheme. The Scottish Government is working with the Scottish Fishermen's Federation to develop a method to map fishing activity and a pilot study in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters. If the methodologies prove tractable and robust they will be rolled out in other sea areas. It is anticipated roll out will be prioritised in consultation with Scottish fishing industry representative bodies. The fishing activity data gathered at the regional level will be used to inform the plan review and project level assessments.

A.13.4 Further work has been undertaken to identify key recommendations for specific site and option areas. These are detailed in the Post Adoption Statement ( Part B).

Guidance for further Assessments

A.14 In addition to the specific regional and option specific recommendations, all of the options will require the following additional assessments:

  • Assessment of the effects on water quality, including shellfish waters, hydrodynamic and water quality modelling at the project level.
  • Assessment work to reduce current uncertainty regarding impacts on coastal processes. Sediment dynamic modelling will be required at the project level. The location and arrangement of structures will need to be optimised to mitigate any issues of erosion or deposition and resulting impacts on sensitive aspects of the environment.
  • Further socio-economic evaluation of the effects of developments will be required at the project level. Developers will be expected to establish a net benefit from their proposals overall, for the people of Scotland and the proximate communities affected by the developments.

Review - Monitoring and Research

Monitoring

A.15 The SEA and HRA establish clear proposals for monitoring the environmental effects arising from the Plan. Details of these measures are contained within the Post Adoption Statement.

Research Studies

A.15.1 A range of research studies to inform development of the Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy have been identified. The Post Adoption Statement provides a detailed description of future and potential future studies at both the national and regional level.