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Blue Seas - Green Energy: A Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters - Part B Post Adoption Statement

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B3. HABITATS REGULATIONS APPRAISAL

B3.1 The SEA Environmental Report identified the potential for likely significant effects on sites designated for their nature conservation interest at a European Level ("European sites"). Accordingly, a Habitats Regulations Appraisal ( HRA) 11 of the Draft Plan for Offshore Wind was required under The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 12 / The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, 13 which implement the EC Birds 14 and Habitats Directives 15 in the UK.

B3.2 The HRA focused on the effects of the short and medium term options within the Draft Plan on European sites, to determine whether or not it would have 'likely significant effects', it then assesses whether the integrity of these sites would be adversely affected. This included consideration of Special Areas of Conservation ( SACs), Special Protection Areas ( SPAs) and, in UK policy terms, Ramsar sites. As the 'Competent Authority' Marine Scotland was required to establish that the Plan could be taken forward without generating adverse effects on these sites, and the interests for which they had been designated.

B3.3 As part of the SEA Environmental Report and Draft Plan work, Marine Scotland commissioned consultants, Halcrow, to undertake a pre-screening exercise and scoping report on the need to undertake an HRA for the short term options identified within the Draft Plan. The Report concluded that there were likely significant effects from the proposed development options. Therefore a strategic HRA of the short and medium term options was commissioned by Marine Scotland. Consultants, ABP Marine Environmental Research Ltd. were commissioned to carry out a pre-screening assessment of the medium term options and an HRA of the Draft Plan on behalf of Marine Scotland. The pre-screening report of the medium term concurred with the earlier pre-screening report on the short term sites, that there were likely significant effects from the proposed short and medium term options.

B3.4 The HRA was taken forward in line with HRA Guidelines issued by SNH in 2010 and was overseen by a Project Steering Group which included representatives from the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, The Crown Estate, Scottish Renewables, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, Scottish Environment Link and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

What were the findings of the Habitats Regulations Appraisal ( HRA)?

B3.5 The screening and scoping exercises of the short and medium term options were undertaken to identify the possible impacts of the options within the draft Plan on the European sites. This work was followed by the production of a working paper which set out the proposed approach to the screening of issues and how the assessment stages would be undertaken. After screening, a large number of European sites, 370, were taken forward into the assessment stage of the HRA.

B3.6 The assessment reviewed the impacts arising from the draft Plan. This review showed that additional mitigation measures, beyond the scope of the SEA, were required to comply with HRA to ensure that there would be no 'likely significant effect' and no adverse effect on the integrity of European sites. However there is still a level of uncertainty associated with the proposed offshore wind development. To address this the HRA identified additional mitigation measures to address all the remaining risks. The additional mitigation measures build upon the initial and generic measures set out in the SEA Environmental Report but have added extra detail and actions where required to address the risks and gaps identified during the assessment work. Details of the risks (impact pathways), initial and additional mitigation measures are set out in Tables B3.2, B3.3, B3.4, and B3.5 at the end of this section of the Post Adoption Statement.

B3.7 As well as setting out mitigation measures for specific project developers to consider, the HRA also proposes a clear process for the implementation of the Plan. In particular, the process needs to involve a phased and iterative approach to offshore wind farm deployment, linked to ongoing monitoring, with the findings feeding back into the next phases of construction work. This process is in line with the SEA review requirements but provides a separate category for HRA monitoring and applying mitigation.

B3.8 Each individual short and medium term option development will be required to undergo a project level HRA wherever the possibility of a 'likely significant effect' on a European site cannot be excluded on the basis of currently available information. The details of how the Plan will be implemented are not known at this stage i.e. the precise timing, location, form and design of all the projects which may come forward for licensing. However, this Plan level HRA gives direction to these future project level HRA by identifying measures that should be required at that stage to avoid an adverse effect on the integrity of European sites. Equally, the project level HRA and associated monitoring will be linked to and will inform regular reviews of the Plan as part of the Iterative Plan Review process.

B3.9 As Competent Authority, Marine Scotland has concluded in consultation with SNH and the JNCC that, on the basis of the application of appropriate and phasing based monitoring being integrated into an overall approach to mitigation measures, there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of a European/Ramsar site arising from the Draft Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters. Taking into account the changes which have been made to the Plan in the interim period since the Draft Plan was published, Marine Scotland remains of the view that implementation will be achieved without adverse effects on the integrity of these European sites.

Method

B3.10 The HRA was carried out in accordance with the 13-step process for Plan-level HRAs described in guidance issued by Scottish Natural Heritage ( SNH, David Tyldesley and Associates, 2010), and outlined in Figure B3.1 below.

Figure B3.1 Key Stages in the HRA process (reference as above).

Figure B3.1 Key Stages in the HRA process

B3.11 A series of documents were prepared to meet requirements of the HRA process. These are summarised in Table B3.1 below, together with their relationships to the stages in the HRA process. The first key documents are the two pre-screening studies undertaken to identify the possible impacts of the short-term options (Halcrow, 2010) and the medium-term options ( ABPmer, 2010a). These were followed by a working paper ( ABPmer, 2010b) which set out the proposed approach for the screening of issues and assessment stages (for both the short and medium term options). By reviewing these methods, this working paper met the discretionary requirements for Stage 4 of the HRA process and formed the focus for early consultations with key stakeholders including SNH.

B3.12 The third key document is the Appropriate Assessment Information Review which sets out the findings of the screening and assessment work (for both the short and medium term options). This assessment work constitutes Stages 4 to 10 of the Plan-level HRA process and includes:

  • Revisiting Stages 4 and 5 followed by Stages 6 and 7 of the HRA (Pre-screening and re-screening having applied initial mitigation measures):
  • Stages 8 and 9 of the HRA (Assessment and Application of Additional Mitigation), covering the following grouped-feature categories: Habitats, Birds, Marine Mammals, Fish and Otter.
  • Stage 10 of the HRA (draft HRA Record): This report presents a draft record of the HRA to inform consultation.

B3.13 As described in paragraph B2.4 the HRA process for the Draft OWE Plan was overseen by a Project Steering Group ( PSG). This ensured that the project fully met the requirements of those bodies, and therefore that the Appropriate Assessment Information Review ( ABPmer 2011) incorporated the consultation and revision requirements of Stages 11 - 13 of the HRA process.

Table B3.1 Documents prepared in fulfilment of the requirements of the Plan-level HRA process.

Stages

Content of document

Reference

Stages 1-3, and 5

Pre-screening study to identify the possible impacts of the short-term options and the medium-term options

Halcrow, 2010

Pre-screening study to identify the possible impacts of the medium-term options

ABPmer, 2010a.

Stage 4

Proposed approach to the screening of issues and assessment stages for both the short and medium term options

ABPmer, 2010b

Stages 6 - 9

Re-screening and Appropriate Assessment Information Includes a revisit of Stages 4 and 5 and completion of Stages 6 - 9

ABPmer, 2011

Stage 10

Draft record of the HRA to inform consultations

ABPmer, 2011

Stages 11 - 13

Consultations with Scottish Natural Heritage and other key stakeholders, review of amendments and modification of HRA record

ABPmer, 2011

Table B3.2 - Initial mitigation measures identified in the SEA for the Draft OWE Plan (Marine Scotland 2010)

These initial mitigation measures were set out in the SEA Environmental Report and are divided into two categories 'strategic level' and 'project level'. In both cases they are inherently genric in nature. The distinction is that strategic level measures apply across all impact pathways while the 'project level' measures are those identified in the SEA Environmental Report that pertain to relevant impacts that could occur to 'water'; 'geology sediments and coastal processes' and 'biodiversity, flora and fauna'. The SEA Environmental Report also identifies other 'project level' measures but they relate to impacts which are not pertinent to this HRA ( e.g. Landscape or Cultural Heritage).

Initial Mitigation measures that are 'strategic' and pertain to all impact pathways

Abbreviation

1

There may be a requirement to remove further options from the Plan on the basis of the findings of a strategic level HRA. This would assess the likely significant effects of the draft Plan on internationally protected sites ( SPAs, SACs and Ramsar Sites). It may be necessary to change the draft Plan where adverse effects on European nature conservation sites are identified in this process, and other forms of mitigation are considered insufficient to avoid such effects arising;

Remove Option Areas and/or change Draft OWE Plan

2

Continue communications (consultation and participation) with the SEA consultation authorities ( SEPA, SNH and Historic Scotland), regulators, key organisations ( e.g. Scottish Fishermen's Federation), developers (including those that have been awarded exclusivity leases for areas inside STW), Offshore Wind Industry Group and the public to seek appropriate site-specific mitigation. Developers must be engaged in the process as early as possible together with the shipping and commercial fishing industries to develop appropriate mitigation;

Continue consulting with stakeholders

3

Consider the potential requirement to identify and provide habitat to help offset non-designated/nationally designated habitat losses resulting from offshore wind farm development;

Consider the potential requirements to offset habitat losses

4

Consider the implementation and scheduling of components of offshore wind projects within STW (in combination with other planned offshore developments) to minimise strategic adverse impacts on species ( e.g. migratory fish, marine mammals etc, habitats and landscape), including consideration of the cumulative and in-combination effects with other identified schemes, projects or activities; and

Consider the implementation and scheduling of project components

5

Undertake the further work recommended at the strategic level.

Undertake further work

Initial Mitigation measures that are related to particular impact pathways (See Table A2a)

Abbreviation

6

Water: Further assessment work is required for all options to reduce uncertainty regarding potential impacts on water quality (including Shellfish Waters). This includes a recommendation for hydrodynamic and water quality modelling at project level.

Further water quality assessment is required

7

Water: Specific impacts during construction, operation and decommissioning should be reduced through the selection and use of appropriate methods to reduce pollution risks, e.g. through the use of best practice marine construction procedures for prevention and control of spillages and discharges of harmful substances (such as antifouling agents, sacrificial anodes, biocides, grouts etc) to the marine environment; for sediment mobilisation and associated turbidity and secondary impacts to avoid unacceptable impacts on marine and benthic fauna.

Undertake a water quality assessment at a project level and apply methods to avoid unacceptable water quality impacts an

8

Geology Sediments and Coastal Processes: Further assessment work is required for all options to reduce uncertainty regarding potential impacts on coastal processes. This includes a recommendation for sediment dynamic modelling at project level

Further water quality assessment is required

9

Geology Sediments and Coastal Processes: Optimise the location and arrangement of structures and their arrangement during the design process to mitigate any issues of erosion or deposition and resulting impacts on sensitive receptors.

Optimise project design to mitigate erosion and deposition effects

10

Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna: Key areas for species and habitats of nature conservation ( e.g. legally designated sites, Important Bird Areas, flight corridors and migratory routes) and fisheries value ( e.g. spawning grounds) should be avoided, where known, through the positioning and subsequent design of the development.

Avoid key areas for habitats and species

11

Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna: 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);

Design project and use appropriate methods and scheduling to minimise disturbance

12

Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna: Further work is required at a strategic and project level to determine impacts on international nature conservation sites - to be assessed through the HRA process.

Undertake further work and HRA to determine impacts to European/Ramsar sites

These initial measures may allow certain impact pathways to be removed but it is recognised that this may not result in any of the identified interest features or designated sites being excluded from the scope on the basis that other impact pathways remain. This is because of the inherent uncertainties that are associated with project developments and the need to adhere to the precautionary principle. During the assessment additional mitigation measures have been identified which are appropriate to address impacts to the integrity of designated sites.

Table B3.3 Impact pathways from OWE turbine and initial generic mitigation measures that may be applied to avoid or reduce such impacts (derived from Entec 2009a)

Feature

Phase

Sensitivity Category

Activity / Change (Impact Pathway)

Habitats and Species (coastal, intertidal and marine)

Pre-construction survey

Physical Damage

Direct effects from sampling work (boreholes, trawls) during environmental baseline surveys

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids and/or fuels during survey work

Biological Disturbance

Introduction and ingress of invasive non-native species as biofouling species on the surfaces of vessels or construction plant.

Construction and decommissioning

Physical Damage

Direct (physical) damage by excavation/piling activities associated with the construction and decommissioning of structures (cables and turbines) including the use of jack-up legs and mooring.

Physical Damage

Re-deposition of sediments mobilised during cable / turbine installation or decommissioning causing an increase in suspended sediment concentrations and smothering

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids, fuels and/or construction materials during installation or removal of structures (turbine and cables)

Toxic Contamination

Contaminants associated with the release of suspended sediments during installation or removal of structures (turbines and cables)

Non-Toxic Contamination

Increase in turbidity associated with the release of suspended sediments during installation or removal of structures (turbine and cables).

Biological Disturbance

Introduction and ingress of invasive non-native species as biofouling species on the surfaces of vessels or construction plant.

Operation

Loss / Gain of Habitat

Direct loss of habitat and species under the footprint of the turbine and cable armouring from the installation of these new structures.

Physical Damage

Direct (physical) damage by excavation/piling activities associated with the maintenance of structures (cables and turbines) including the use of jack-up legs and mooring.

Physical Damage

Indirect changes to the habitat surrounding the turbine and cable armouring structures due to hydrodynamic and physical changes (including sediment scour).

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids, fuels and/or construction materials during maintenance.

Biological Disturbance

Introduction of new structures providing new substratum that facilitates the colonisation and ingress of invasive non-native species.

Biological Disturbance

Introduction and ingress of invasive non-native species as biofouling species on the surfaces of vessels or construction plant.

Birds

Pre-construction survey

Non-Physical Disturbance

Reduction in foraging habitat quality (and prey species availability) as a result of baseline survey work ( e.g. boreholes and trawls).

Non-Physical Disturbance

Seismic exploration and other baseline geophysical surveys causing noise injury and disturbance (including from vessel movements)

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids, fuels and/or construction materials during survey work.

Construction and decommissioning

Loss / Gain of Habitat

Direct loss of coastal foraging, breeding or roosting habitat (or reduction in quality) as result of the installation and removal of cables

Non-Physical Disturbance

Reduction in the quality of foraging habitat as result of the installation and removal of cables and turbines ( e.g. through smothering and physical disturbance)

Non-Physical Disturbance

Noise and visual disturbance from vessels travelling to and from the site.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Noise and visual disturbance from the installation and removal of cables and turbines such as drilling, piling and the use of explosives for demolition.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Indirect impacts on food resources where significant loss of habitat and species occurs in intertidal benthic communities (through cable laying work).

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids, fuels and/or construction materials during installations or removal of structures (cables and turbines).

Non-Toxic Contamination

Reduction in water quality from cable/turbine installation and decommissioning

Operation

Loss / Gain of Habitat

Loss of foraging habitat as a result of the turbines and cable armouring both directly through the development footprint and associated scour and indirectly through changes to hydrodynamics.

Physical Damage

Collision of migrating and foraging birds with turbine blades.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Indirect impacts on food resources where significant changes occur in intertidal benthic communities and subtidal fish communities.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Barrier effects to the movement of migrating or foraging birds as a result of the presence of turbines and arrays.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Establishment of fishery exclusion zones around wind farms and potential Fish Aggregating Device ( FAD) characteristics of sub-surface structures may lead to an increase in prey species but noise from turbines may decrease prey supply.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Turbine operation causing noise and visual disturbance including the potential displacement from or disturbance near offshore foraging areas.

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids, fuels and/or construction materials during maintenance.

Marine Mammals (cetaceans and seals)

Pre-construction survey

Physical Damage

Collision risk from vessels travelling to and from the site (including propeller collision risk).

Non-Physical Disturbance

Reduction in foraging habitat quality (and prey species availability) as a result of baseline survey work ( e.g. boreholes and trawls).

Non-Physical Disturbance

Noise/vibration disturbance from vessels and other activities during survey work ( e.g. seismic exploration and geophysical surveys).

Non-Physical Disturbance

Visual disturbance from vessels and other activities during survey work ( e.g. side-scan sonar).

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids and fuels during survey work.

Construction and decommissioning

Physical Damage

Collision risk from vessels travelling to and from the site (including propeller collision risk).

Physical Damage

Direct damage to haul-out sites during cable installation and decommissioning (seals only).

Non-Physical Disturbance

Reduction in the quality of foraging habitat as result of the installation and removal of cables and turbines ( e.g. through smothering and physical disturbance)

Non-Physical Disturbance

Noise/vibration disturbance from vessels and other activities during construction and decommissioning ( e.g. piling, drilling, cable laying).

Non-Physical Disturbance

Visual disturbance from vessels and other activities during construction and decommissioning.

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids, fuels and/or construction materials during installation or removal of structures (turbine and cables).

Toxic Contamination

Contaminants associated with the release of suspended sediments during installation or removal of structures (turbine and cables).

Non-Toxic Contamination

Increase in turbidity associated with the release of suspended sediments during installation or removal of structures (turbine and cables).

Operation

Loss / Gain of Habitat

Loss of foraging habitat as a result of the turbines and cable armouring both directly through the development footprint and associated scour and indirectly through changes to hydrodynamics.

Physical Damage

Direct damage to haul-out sites during operation (seals only).

Physical Damage

Collision risk from vessels travelling to and from the site (including propeller collision risk).

Non-Physical Disturbance

Noise/vibration disturbance from vessels and other activities during operation (turbine noise) and maintenance.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Visual disturbance from vessels and other activities during maintenance

Non-Physical Disturbance

Establishment of fishery exclusion zones around wind farms and potential Fish Aggregating Device ( FAD) characteristics of sub-surface structures may lead to an increase in prey species but noise from turbines may decrease prey supply.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Presence of sub-surface structures may present a barrier to movement and migratory pathways depending on array design.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Disturbance effects from electromagnetic geomagnetic fields along cable alignments (pertinent to bottlenose dolphin but not seal).

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids and fuels during maintenance.

Migratory Fish and Freshwater Pearl Mussel

Pre-construction survey

Non-Physical Disturbance

Reduction in foraging habitat quality (and prey species availability) as a result of baseline survey work ( e.g. boreholes and trawls).

Non-Physical Disturbance

Noise/vibration disturbance from vessels and other activities during survey work ( e.g. seismic exploration and geophysical surveys).

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids and fuels during survey work.

Construction and decommissioning

Non-Physical Disturbance

Reduction in the quality of foraging habitat as result of the installation and removal of cables and turbines ( e.g. through smothering and physical disturbance)

Non-Physical Disturbance

Noise/vibration disturbance from vessels and other activities during construction and decommissioning ( e.g. piling, drilling, cable laying).

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids, fuels and/or construction materials during installation or removal of structures (turbine and cables).

Toxic Contamination

Contaminants associated with the release of suspended sediments during installation or removal of structures (turbine and cables).

Non-Toxic Contamination

Increase in turbidity associated with the release of suspended sediments during installation or removal of structures (turbines, cables).

Operation

Loss / Gain of Habitat

Structures on the seabed acting as a FAD (Fish Aggregating Device) and/or artificial reef.

Loss / Gain of Habitat

Loss of foraging habitat as a result of the turbines and cable armouring both directly through the development footprint and associated scour and indirectly through changes to hydrodynamics.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Reduction in the quality of foraging habitat as result of maintenance work.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Noise/vibration disturbance from vessels and other activities during operation (turbine noise) and maintenance.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Presence of sub-surface structures and noise disturbance associated with turbines may present a barrier to movement and block migratory pathways depending on array design.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Impacts from EMF on electromagnetically sensitive fish interfering with prey location and mate detection in some species and creating barriers to migration.

Toxic Contamination

Spillage of fluids and fuels during maintenance.

Otters

Pre-construction survey

Physical Damage

Presence of vessels travelling to and from the site resulting in a collision and/or mortality of otter.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Visual disturbance from vessels and other activities during survey work ( e.g. side-scan sonar).

Construction and decommissioning

Physical Damage

Presence of vessels travelling to and from the site resulting in a collision and/or mortality of otter.

Physical Damage

Direct damage to otter habitat (holts and shelters) during cable installation, and decommissioning.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Visual disturbance from vessels and other activities during construction and decommissioning.

Operation

Physical Damage

Direct damage to otter habitat (holts and shelters) during operation.

Physical Damage

Presence of vessels travelling to and from the site resulting in a collision and/or mortality of otter.

Non-Physical Disturbance

Visual disturbance from vessels and other activities during maintenance.

Bats

Operation

Not relevant for OWE Plan

Direct collision with turbine blades or pressure changes near turbine blades

Notes on Impact Pathways not included:-

The following are not considered to be impact pathways and have not been included

1) Predation by rat/mink from then positioning of devices close to breeding bird colonies.

2) Potential positive impact of turbines creating roosting habitat for seabird species

These have been excluded because there is not expected to be any suitable static structures on the turbines which could provide a roosting or resting habitat (these pathways are applicable to wave and possible tidal energy devices and are note here fore reasons of completeness).

Table B3.4 - Additional mitigation measures identified during the HRA for the Draft OWE Plan

These additional measures are be undertaken where, without them, it cannot be concluded with certainty that there would not be an adverse effect on the integrity of a European/Ramsar site. As with initial mitigation measures these are generic in nature (because they are at a Plan-level) and they are also divided into two categories: measures that apply across all impacts and measures that relate to particular impact types. One central principle of the measures that apply across all impacts is that there needs to be a clear process for Plan implementation. In particular, the process needs to involve a phased and iterative approach to windfarm deployment linked to ongoing monitoring with the findings feeding back into the next phases of work ( i.e. what is termed the Iterative Plan Review ( IPR) process - see Section 9.3 of the AA information report). As part of this iterative sequence of work the Scottish Government has undertaken to revisit the OWESEA and review the OWE Plan every 2 years. The other key consideration is that, as a matter of law, a project will be required to undergo project-level AA (including an in-combination assessment) wherever the possibility of LSE on a European/Ramsar site cannot be excluded.

Additional Mitigation Measures that are applicable across all impact pathways (See Table A2a)

1

Undertake phased/iterative approach to plan implementation: Apply a temporally-phased deploy and monitor approach to project implementation linked to the 2-yearly cycle of OWE Plan review which will inherently also require consideration of the spatial/regional context ( e.g. the effects of those on the east or west coast) for project-level AAs to ensure that there are no adverse effects on the integrity of European/Ramsar sites from projects either individually or in-combination with other plans or projects.

2

Undertake HRAs at project level: Apply, as a matter of law, a project-level AA wherever the possibility of LSE on a European/Ramsar site cannot be excluded. The scope of any HRA will need to be agreed with Regulator and the Statutory Nature Conservation Agency ( SNCA). It is expected to encompass all phases of the proposals from construction (see note re survey work below) to operation and decommissioning it could also included repowering if it were possible to anticipate these requirements in the original proposal. If, as expected, repowering cannot be anticipated for the original proposals then such work will need to be accompanied by a separate project-level HRA.

Additional Mitigation Measures that are related to particular Impact Pathways (See Table A2a)

3

Damage to habitat during surveys: Design an appropriate survey methodology (in consultation with Regulator and SNCA) to provide required data whilst avoiding impacts to designated habitat/species ( e.g. disturbance from geophysical surveys, borehole work, trawling).

4

Disturbance to species from noise during surveys: Use methods and/or timings to reduce noise ( e.g. from geophysical surveys, borehole work, seismic surveys side-scan sonar) and use of standard measures to mitigate and/or avoid effects on designated habitat/species. It is recognised that baseline survey work does not require a separate HRA (through all other vessel activities for construction and maintenance will be included in the project-level HRA, however, Marine Scotland's Licensing Operations Team ( MS- LOT), SNCAs and industry are working towards a solution for this in relation to the effects on European Protected Species ( EPS) (Erica Knott SNH Pers. Comm.).

5

Disturbance/damage to species from visual disturbance or collision impacts during surveys: Schedule or design the work ( e.g. by selecting vessel routes and considering issues such as dynamic position effects) to mitigate/avoid visual disturbance and/or collision risk from vessel or shoreline activity

6

Reductions in water quality during all phase of work: Use Best Practicable Environmental Option ( BPEO) for vessel anchoring/positioning methodology and the implementation of an appropriate Pollution Event Contingency Plan and/or schedule work (relative to tide, season or species life cycle) to avoid adverse effects from the release of suspended sediments especially in areas of known contamination where sediment re-mobilisation could result in toxic effects. Also, identify most appropriate mechanism for disposal of excavated sediment to avoid adverse impacts on designated intertidal/coastal habitat features from smothering. Such measures can include undertaking intertidal cabling works (where cable trenching in the intertidal is unavoidable) at low water to reduce the level of resuspension and transport of sediments.

7

Biological disturbance during all phase of work: Ensure that vessels and equipment used during the lifetime of the project are subject to an appropriate inspection regime to address the risk of introducing invasive non-native species through biofouling and also identify an inspection regime to examine colonisation of exposed, un-buried, structural surfaces on the introduced devices ( e.g. cable armouring) and agree remediation requirements to address invasive non-native species.

8

Cable route and design planning to avoid sensitive habitats. Select cable alignment and landfall locations to avoid effects on designated coastal/intertidal/subtidal habitats and areas of importance for bird interest features. Careful planning of terrestrial site access to avoid effects on designated habitats on or above the upper shore ( e.g. vegetated shingle), and employment of appropriate mitigation measures to reduce impacts on these habitats. If such areas cannot be avoided and then alternatives (including non-invasive measures such Horizontal Directional Drilling HDD) will need to be considered to avoid an adverse effect on site integrity. Cable route design should also seek (notwithstanding obligations to address other measures) to minimise cable length and thereby reduce the area disturbed (this approach would normally be taken to reduce costs of materials and construction. Also cable protection methods should be selected for the intertidal/subtidal areas to reduce scour ( e.g. burial, scour protection, pinning over bedrock). Burial at selected depth to avoid impacts from EMF may also be required.

9

Cable installation methods to minimise effects. Use appropriate ( BPEO) installation techniques/standards as well as vessel anchoring/positioning methods to avoid adverse impacts on designated intertidal/coastal habitat features. Such methods can included allowing cables to self-bury in subtidal soft sediments rather than physically trench them in to reduce disturbance and lessen the period of construction or, where cable trenching in the intertidal is unavoidable, backfilling of trenches to reduce the potential for sediment remobilisation and facilitate recovery of benthic communities.

10

Turbine location, design planning to avoid sensitive habitats. Select turbine locations and designs to avoid effects (direct and indirect) on designated site habitats. This includes careful consideration of device spacing and configuration within an array. It also includes micro-siting of piles, mooring blocks and gravity-based turbine to avoid vulnerable benthic habitats and/or the use of scour protection to reduce impacts.

11

Turbine installation methods to minimise effects. Use appropriate ( BPEO) installation techniques/standards as well as vessel anchoring/positioning methods to avoid adverse impacts on designated intertidal/coastal habitat features. They could also involve the use of platforms with dynamic positioning ( DP) rather than physical anchoring or jack-up feet. However, this should only be used where there is a clear and significant reduction in risk.

12

Cable and turbine decommissioning methods to minimise effects. Use appropriate (and BPEO) decommissioning techniques/standards as well as vessel anchoring/positioning methods to avoid impacts to designated intertidal/coastal/subtidal habitat features ( e.g. leaving safely buried de-energised cable in situ or having. turbine bases cut off below seabed, gravity bases left in situ, re-use of structures where possible, removal of debris from the sea bed)

13

Disturbance from noise during construction, operation and decommissioning: Use methods and/or timings to reduce noise ( e.g. from excavation, drilling, seabed levelling, vessel movements) and use of standard measures to mitigate and/or avoid effects on designated habitat/species.

14

Disturbance/damage from visual/collision/avoidance impacts during construction, operation and decommissioning: Schedule or design the work to mitigate and/or avoid effects on designated habitat/species as a result of visual disturbance and/or collision risk from vessel activity, construction work, windfarm operations (including lighting) and shoreline activity.

Table B3.5 - Activities that could affect European/Ramsar site interest features (based on Entec, 2009a)

Activity

Potential environmental changes which may lead to effects on SAC/ SPA/Ramsar habitats and species

Survey work

Physical damage to habitats or species

Trawling surveys

Removal of species or habitat features ( e.g. biogenic reefs)

Seismic surveys

Injury to fish or marine mammals due to underwater pressure waves

Increased vessel activity (including dynamic positioning)

Collision risk to marine mammals/ otters from vessels travelling to and from the site (including propeller collision risk)

Indirect disturbance

Seismic surveys

Noise and vibration (creating underwater pressure waves that may affect fish or marine mammals and/or airborne noise that may affect birds or bats)

Increased vessel activity

Increased noise disturbance to marine, avian and bats species and possibly shoreline mammals

Toxic contamination

Increase in risk of spillages/releases of oil or other contaminants from increased vessel activity

Toxic effects on marine species

Mobilisation of contaminants by sediment disturbance during sampling ( e.g. cores)

Toxic effects on marine species

Biological disturbance

Increased vessel activity

Increased risk of introduction of non-native species via vessels from elsewhere

Installation (turbines, cables, ancillary structures)

Physical loss/gain of habitat

Turbine foundation installation (including any future 'repowering'/upgrading activities)

Seabed habitat loss at turbine locations

Turbine foundation installation (including any future 'repowering'/upgrading activities)

Temporary change in substrate ( e.g. gravel for gravity bases)

Onshore development e.g. converter stations

Terrestrial habitat loss within footprint of above ground installations

Physical damage to habitats or species

Turbine foundation installation (percussive piling)

Injury to fish or marine mammals due to underwater pressure waves

Laying cable in trench across subtidal or intertidal seabed habitat

Subtidal and intertidal area habitat disturbance (assuming cables buried) (short term habitat loss but overall damage that will recover in case of soft substrate)

Turbine foundation installation and/or laying cable in trench across subtidal or intertidal seabed habitat

Temporary smothering of habitats and species by re-deposition of mobilised sediment

Construction activities on land

Terrestrial habitat damage within construction sites for above ground installations outside footprint of permanent structures (potential for reinstatement)

Increased vessel activity (including dynamic positioning)

Collision risk to marine mammals/ otters from vessels travelling to and from the site (including propeller collision risk)

Indirect disturbance

Noise and vibration generating activities, particularly percussive piling

Noise and vibration (creating underwater pressure waves that may affect fish or marine mammals and/or airborne noise that may affect birds or bats)

Increased vessel activity

Increased noise disturbance to marine, avian and bats species and possibly shoreline mammals

Toxic contamination

Increase in risk of spillages/releases of oil or other contaminants from increased vessel activity

Toxic effects on marine species

Mobilisation of contaminants by sediment disturbance during turbine or cable installation

Toxic effects on marine species

Non-toxic contamination

Mobilisation of sediments during turbine or cable installation

Increases in turbidity potentially affecting marine pelagic species (fish and mammals)

Biological disturbance

Increased vessel activity

Increased risk of introduction of non-native species via vessels from elsewhere

Operation and maintenance

Physical loss/gain of habitat

Presence of turbines

Permanent loss of former seabed at turbine locations

Presence of turbines

Changed habitat availability (colonisation of turbine bases) and reef/'sanctuary' effect via creation of fishing exclusion zones

Presence of onshore above-ground installations

Terrestrial land-take for above ground installations

Physical damage to habitats or species

Presence of turbines

Changes to hydrodynamics causing seabed disturbance through local scour, more distant erosion and smothering by re-deposition of mobilised sediment

Turbine operation

Pressure changes resulting from blade movements ( e.g. effects on bat internal organs)

Turbine operation

Collision with turbine blades (bats, birds)

Indirect disturbance

Operation of turbines

Noise and vibration (underwater noise that may affect fish or marine mammals and/or airborne noise that may affect birds or bats)

Presence and operation of turbines

Other behavioural effects through physical presence./barrier effect of operating turbines ( e.g. avoidance, disorientation of migrating mammals/fish/birds, displacement of birds from feeding areas)

Operation of subsea cables

Electromagnetic fields around cables potentially affecting sensitive species

Operation of subsea cables

Heat generated by cables potentially affecting seabed communities

Operation of onshore installations

Night-time lighting potentially affecting bats or birds

Increased vessel activity

Increased noise disturbance to marine, avian and bats species and possibly shoreline mammals

Toxic contamination

Increase in risk of spillages/releases of oil or other contaminants from increased vessel activity

Toxic effects on marine species

Biological disturbance

Presence of turbines

Introduction of non-native species ( e.g. creation of hard substrate colonisation routes via turbine bases)

Decommissioning

Physical loss/gain of habitat

Removal of turbines and foundations

Change in seabed habitat, removal of colonised hard substrate habitat, possible restoration of former habitat

Removal of unburied cables

Removal of colonised habitat (cables)

Removal of turbines but not foundations

Permanent change to marine habitat via structures left in situ ( e.g. turbine bases)

Removal of onshore above-ground installations

Change in terrestrial habitat, possible restoration of former habitat

Physical damage to habitats or species

Removal of turbines (using percussive methods or explosives)

Injury to fish or marine mammals due to underwater pressure waves

Removal of buried cables

Subtidal and intertidal area disturbance (short term habitat loss but overall damage that will recover in case of soft substrate)

Removal of turbine foundations or buried cables

Temporary smothering of habitats and species by re-deposition of mobilised sediment

Decommissioning works on land

Terrestrial habitat damage within construction sites for above ground installations outside footprint of permanent structures (potential for reinstatement)

Increased vessel activity (including dynamic positioning)

Collision risk to marine mammals/ otters from vessels travelling to and from the site (including propeller collision risk)

Indirect disturbance

Noise and vibration generating activities, particularly percussive demolition or use of explosives

Noise and vibration (creating underwater pressure waves that may affect fish or marine mammals and/or airborne noise that may affect birds or bats)

Increased vessel activity

Increased noise disturbance to marine, avian and bats species and possibly shoreline mammals

Toxic contamination

Increase in risk of spillages/releases of oil or other contaminants from increased vessel activity

Toxic effects on marine species

Mobilisation of contaminants by sediment disturbance during turbine or cable removal

Toxic effects on marine species

Non-toxic contamination

Mobilisation of sediments during turbine or cable removal

Increases in turbidity potentially affecting marine pelagic species (fish and mammals)

Biological disturbance

Increased vessel activity

Increased risk of introduction of non-native species via vessels from elsewhere