We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site

Marine Scotland: Economic Assessment of Short Term Options for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters: Costs and Benefits to Other Marine Users and Interests

Listen

6. Conclusions

The study has sought to estimate the potential impacts of short-term option offshore wind farm development in Scottish Territorial Waters on the full range of other marine users and interests at regional and national scale. The assessment of impacts has taken account of the potential spatial interaction between short-term option development and other marine users and interests and the extent to which such interactions might impose additional costs on those users and interests. To reflect the inherent uncertainties in the nature and scale of those interactions at Plan level and the uncertainties in associated cost impacts, the assessment has used different scenarios to explore the potential range of cost impacts - termed 'low impact', 'medium impact' and 'high impact' scenarios reflecting the different assumptions used.

Based on this assessment, five sectors have been identified as potentially experiencing cost impacts including the commercial fishing, shipping, recreational boating, recreational angling and tourism sectors (Table 40).

Table 40. Summary of affected sectors and impacts

Sector

Significant
Cost Impact
to Sector?

Main Economic Impact

Commercial Fisheries

v

Loss of revenues from displacement of fishing activity

Aquaculture

X

Shipping and Ports

v

Increased costs from additional steaming distances

Aviation

X

Wave and Tidal Energy Development

X

Cables and Pipelines

X

Recreational Boating

v

Increased costs from additional steaming distances

Recreational Angling

v

Loss of expenditure on related activities from displacement or cessation of activity

Surfing, Windsurfing and Kayaking

X

Tourism

v

Loss of expenditure from displacement or cessation of activity

Social Impacts

v

Not quantified. Negative impacts as a result of impacts to existing economic activities; positive impacts as a result of offshore wind farm supply chain development

Developers and operators of offshore wind farms may also incur some additional costs to mitigate some potential impacts on other marine users. These include costs associated with implementing solutions to maintain navigational safety (e.g. appropriate buoyage of offshore wind farm arrays) and costs associated with possible modifications and enhancement to aviation radar systems. It has been assumed that these are included within the costs of offshore wind farm construction and operation. The scale of such costs relative to the overall investment in offshore wind is estimated to be very small.

The total discounted costs to other marine users are estimated to range from £1.4m in the low impact scenario up to £168.7m in the high impact scenario (Table 41). This large range reflects the available evidence base, the length of the appraisal period and current uncertainties about the extent of impacts, particularly in advance of detailed project-level assessments.

Under the high impact scenario, the largest costs are estimated to relate to reductions in tourism expenditure, although commercial fisheries, shipping and ports, and recreational angling sectors also incur substantial costs. Approximately 61% of the costs are estimated to fall in West Region with relatively low costs associated with the single short-term development option in North-East Region.

Implementation of the short-term options also has the potential to give rise to a range of social impacts. Positive impacts would be associated with job creation in the offshore wind farm supply chain. Some social costs may arise in South West and West Regions associated with a reduction in the number of jobs supported in commercial fishing, recreational angling and tourism sectors. Other social impacts may arise as a result of impacts to visual amenity. There are also stakeholder concerns that the scale of development overall would undermine some of the essential qualities of these Regions, including their wild and isolated character. Other specific concerns identified through the consultation on the SEA Environmental Report relate to possible impacts associated with shadow flicker, impacts on TV reception, infrastructure provision, health impacts and the effects on property prices and housing availability.

While the costs to other marine users may be relatively small at the national and regional levels, they may still be significant to individual sectors and stakeholders locally.

Table 41. Summary of estimated costs to other marine users (£m discounted)

North East

East

South West

West

Total

Commercial Fisheries

£0.3m-£2.6m

£0.7m-£15.4m

£0.1m-£1.1m

£0.3m-£14.4m

£1.4m-£33.5m

Aquaculture

-

-

-

-

-

Shipping and Ports

-

£0m-£31.4m

£0m-£0.2m

£0m-£0.6m

£0m-£32.2m

Aviation

-

-

-

-

-

Wave and Tidal Energy Development

-

-

-

-

-

Cables and Pipelines

-

-

-

-

-

Recreational Boating

£0m-£0.1m

£0m-£0.3m

£0m-£0.2m

£0m-£0.2m

£0m-£0.8m

Recreational Angling

-

-

£0m-£7.9m

£0m-£16.6m

£0m-£24.5m

Surfing, Windsurfing and Kayaking

-

-

-

-

-

Tourism

-

-

£0m-£6.9m

£0m-£70.8m

£0m-£77.7m

Social Impacts

Not quantified

Not quantified

Not quantified

Not quantified

-

Total Quantified Costs

£0.3m-£2.7m

£0.7m-£47.1m

£0.1m -£16.3m

£0.3m-£102.6m

£1.4m-£168.7m

Three sectors - commercial fisheries, recreational angling and tourism - may experience employment impacts as a result of reduced expenditure and/or loss of revenues. Applying simple economic multipliers to the relevant costs for these sectors indicates that around 140 jobs may no longer be supported in these sectors by year 6 in the high impact scenario, remaining at this level throughout the operating period (Table 42).

In the high impact scenario, approximately 70% of the affected jobs are in tourism, and 14% are in commercial fisheries. Around 80% of employment impacts per annum are estimated to occur in West Region. These impacts are substantially lower in the medium and low impact scenarios.

Table 42. Employment impacts of the three scenarios on commercial fisheries, recreational angling and tourism sectors

Scenario

Maximum Gross No. Jobs Lost/Not Supported

Number

Year

High Impact

140

6

Medium Impact

26

8

Low Impact

4

6

The reduction in employment opportunity can be compared with data on the total number of employees in these sectors, from Section 3 of this report. This indicates a total of around 5,000 people employed in fishing in Scotland, just over 3,000 in sea angling and over 200,000 in tourism as a whole, with around 4,400 of these in marine and coastal wildlife tourism. The numbers of jobs indicated in Table 42 are a small proportion of these totals, but could still be significant locally.

The overall cost and employment impacts on other marine users are considered to be small at national and regional scale. However, it remains possible that the impacts could be more significant at local level.

Further research is required to quantify the effects of offshore wind farm development on tourism, particularly where developments may be located relatively close inshore. The acquisition of more spatially resolved commercial fishing data would help to better inform commercial fishing impacts. A better understanding of the nature of interactions between short-term options and other marine users and interests will be gained as project level studies are commissioned and such information should be taken into account when the Plan is reviewed.