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Draft Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters: Analysis of Consultation Responses

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1. INTRODUCTION

Background

1.1 In May 2010, the Scottish Government published a Draft Plan for Offshore Wind in Scottish Territorial Waters for public consultation. The Draft Plan set out aspirations for developing this sector, recognising the potential for offshore wind to make a significant contribution to targets for renewable energy generation as part of Scotland's wider commitment to climate change mitigation.

1.2 In accordance with the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, a Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) was undertaken alongside the development of the Draft Plan. This process identified the significant environmental effects of the plan and its reasonable alternatives. The findings of the assessment were set out in the Environmental Report, and public opinions it, together with the Draft Plan, were invited. This report sets out the findings from this consultation process.

The Consultation Process

1.3 The Draft Plan and the SEA Environmental Report were published for consultation, and people were invited to submit their opinions on both. The Scottish Government recognised the critical importance of using the Draft Plan as a starting point for a nation-wide discussion of the scope for developing offshore wind in Scottish Territorial Waters. The SEA Directive states a clear requirement for 'early and effective' engagement of the public, and so opinions on the Environmental Report were also invited.

1.4 The consultation period was initially scheduled to conclude by 16 August 2010, but was extended for 6 weeks as a result of public feedback. The Plan and its Environmental Report were widely advertised.

1.5 In addition to the formal written consultation process, the Scottish Government held seven meetings with key sectoral stakeholders and organisations. In addition, 17 public meetings were held across the regions.

Table 1: Outline of the Consultation Process

May 2010
Pre-consultation workshops

July 2010
Stakeholder Consultation

August - September 2010
Regional workshops

  • Offshore Wind Industry
  • Fishing Industry
  • Shipping and ports
  • SEA Consultation Authorities
  • NGOs
  • Shipping, Ports and Aviation
  • Tourism and Recreation
  • Scottish Renewables
  • Scottish Coastal Forum / Scottish Environment LINK
  • Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
  • Aquaculture and fishing
  • Ullapool
  • Inverness
  • Edinburgh
  • Dumfries
  • Wigtown
  • Campbeltown
  • Oban
  • Stornoway
  • Lerwick
  • Peterhead
  • Dundee
  • Barra
  • Tiree
  • Kirkcudbright
  • Islay

Overview of Responses

1.6 In addition to the views shared at the sectoral and regional workshops, a total of 855 formal responses were made to the consultation on the Plan and the Environmental Report.

1.7 Of the total number of responses 118 were received from organisations or businesses, and 737 from individuals. The following organisations provided responses:

Aberdeen City Council
Annandale & Eskdale Area Committee
Argyll and Bute Council
Argyll Renewables Communities
Association of Salmon Fishery Boards & Rivers & Fisheries Trusts of Scotland
Association of Wigtown Booksellers
Breaks Surf Shop
Briggs Environmental Services Ltd
British Ports Association
Campbeltown Community Council
Campbeltown Loch Berthing Company Limited
Campbeltown Trading Association
Chamber of Shipping
Civil Aviation Authority
Clyde Fishermen's Association
Colvend and Southwick Community Council
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Cree Valley Community Council
Danish Ministry of the Environment
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Discover Scotland
Douglas Hall Fisheries
Drummore Bowling Club
Dumfries and Galloway Council
E.ON
Fife Council
Fishermen's Association Ltd ( FAL)
Forth & Tay Offshore Wind Developers Group
Fred Olsen Renewables Ltd
Friends of Hestan Island Association
Future Electric Limited
Galloway and Upper Nithsdale Liberal Democrats constituency party
Galloway Fisheries Trust
Galloway Static Gear Fisherman's Association
Garlieston Community Council
Gatehouse of Fleet Community Council
Gillespie Leisure Limited
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited ( HIAL)
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Historic Scotland
Infratil Airports Europe Limited
Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
Isle of Whithorn Community Council
Keep Wigtown Bay Natural
Kintyre Civic Society
Kintyre Offshore Wind Farm Action Group
Kirkmaiden Community Council
Leslie Huckfield Research
Machrihanish Caravan and Camping Park
Machrihanish Golf Club
Manx Fish Producers
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat
Ministry of Defence
Monreith and District Action Group
Moray Firth Inshore Fisheries Group
Moray Firth Partnership
Mountaineering Council of Scotland
National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations
NATS En-Route Ltd ( NERL)
Natural England
Neart na Gaoithe - Mainstream Renewable Power
Newton Stewart Sub-Aqua Club
North Berwick Environmental Trust
Northern Ireland Environment Agency
Northern Lighthouse Board
Ochtrelure and Belmont Community Council
Orkney Islands Council
Portpatrick Community Council
Riders of the West
River Eden and District Fisheries Association
Royal Yachting Association Scotland
RSPB
Rusko Holidays
Scottish Boating Alliance
Scottish Borders Council
Scottish Campaign for National Parks
Scottish Canoe Association
Scottish Environment LINK
Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA)
Scottish Fishermen's Federation
Scottish Natural Heritage
Scottish Renewables / Renewable UK
ScottishPower Renewables
Seaenergy Renewables Limited
Seafish
Seagreen Wind Energy Limited
Shetland Islands Council
SLP Energy
Small Isles and Mull Inshore Fisheries Group
SMRU
SMRU Ltd/ SOI Ltd
Solway Coast AONB
Solway Firth Offshore Wind Developer Group
Solway Firth Partnership
South Rhins Community Development Trust
sportscotland
SSE Renewables
Stewartry Area Committee
The Crown Estate
The Highland Council
The Kipp Estate
The National Trust for Scotland
The Scottish Progressive Party
The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network
The Village at Machrihanish Dunes/ KDCL
The Whithorn Trust
Tiree Community Development Trust
Urr District Salmon Fisheries Board
VisitScotland
West Coast Offshore Wind Developer Group
West of Four Fisheries Management Group
West of Scotland Seafish Training Association Ltd
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
Wigtown & District Community Council
Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve Advisory Management Committee
Wigtown Bay Wildfowlers Club

1.8 In terms of the overall character of responses, as Figure 1 below shows, 82% of all the responses focused on three of the proposed short term options, whilst the remainder considered the Plan more broadly. Virtually all responses focusing on the specific short term options took the form of objections to the developments.

Figure 1

Figure 1

1.9 Figure 2 below maps the geographic distribution of individual respondents who agreed to use and publication of their information. This shows clusters of interest around areas where development is proposed in the short term, including Tiree, Kintyre and the South West.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Report Structure

1.10 Consultees were asked to focus their responses on twelve questions, although more general opinions were also invited. This report of these views is not a summary of each individual response, instead it sets out the analysis of the key issues and common themes emerging from the process as a whole. Based on the consultation questions, the remainder of this report is structured as follows:

SECTION 1 INTRODUCTION

SECTION 2 COMMENTS ON THE SELECTION OF OPTIONS

1

Does the mapping of exclusion zones, environmental issues, and technical issues provide a reasonable basis for modelling the options?

2

Do you have any further technical or environmental information you think we should take into account as we refine the Draft Plan?

3

Do you consider that the Draft Plan presents a practical set of options?

SECTION 3 COMMENTS ON SPATIAL OPTIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT

4

Should any options be removed from the Draft Plan?

5

Are there other options we should consider in the medium or long term?

12

The Draft Plan has identified environmental and technical issues in the north and north west regions of Scotland, in particular. It may therefore be reasonable to give further consideration to these regions. Do you think that development in these regions, or individual options within them, should be given lower priority or perhaps deferred to the long term?

SECTION 4. COMMENTS ON THE SEA FINDINGS

10

The SEA has identified that there could be significant adverse effects, from the Draft Plan as a whole, on Scotland's landscapes and seascapes. Measures for the mitigation of these effects have been identified in the SEA environmental report. Do you have a view on these findings? Do you think that the proposed mitigation measures will be effective? Do you have any additional suggestions?

11

Do you have any other views on the findings of the SEA? Do you think that all the environmental effects (positive and negative) have been identified? Are there other issues that we should be taking into account in the preparation of the Draft Plan.

SECTION 5. COMMENTS ON THE OVERALL PLAN

6

How can the Draft Plan be improved? What should be taken forward differently and why?

7

Do you have views on the scale and pace of development that could be sustainably accommodated in Scottish Territorial Waters, taking into account the findings from the SEA and the technical assessment?

8

Have we got the balance right in the Draft Plan, between tackling climate change, maximising opportunities for economic development and dealing with environmental and commercial impacts?

9

The Plan, once implemented, will be reviewed to take account of actual development and increasing knowledge of development factors. How often should this be done and why?

SECTION 6. SUMMARY AND NEXT STEPS