Note on publication
Marine Scotland commissioned Biggar Economics to deliver this project to support the development of principles to inform an appropriate approach for defining the local impact area on land for large industrial developments (such as offshore windfarms) at sea. The report and guidance principles are now being published as part of the evidence base that was used to support the development of Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Guidance for Offshore Renewable Energy ORE (due to be published shortly).
The report provided a useful overview of current practice on defining local impact areas in the UK and Europe based on the literature available at the time. The report offers a useful contribution to the evidence base which has helped to underpin some sections of Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Guidance for Offshore Renewable Energy that Marine Scotland has been developing. It should however be noted that in developing the new guidance, our understanding of the topic has developed, and some of the report's conclusions and terminology are now of limited applicability. We direct the reader to the main guidance document (noted above) as the primary source of guidance and which super-cedes what is presented in this paper.
Some caveats apply to this report:
1) Use of the term "local area" is no longer favoured as socio-economic impacts can occur at different geographic levels and the concept of "local" means different things to different people, rendering the term problematic. The main guidance document uses the term "impact area".
2) There are a wider range of evidence sources to support the definition of "social" and "economic" impacts than were used in this report. More detailed definitions are set out in the guidance.
3) The guidance has introduced a more flexible and iterative approach to the stages of impact assessment reflecting wider literature on socio-economic impact assessment and more recent thinking on the topic.
4) The methodology used in this report relies primarily on examples of socio-economic impacts that were used in previous ex-ante impact assessments and less so on evidence sources that illustrate actual socio-economic impacts. This reflects the limited evidence base at the time the work was conducted and the challenges that there are in accessing data on impacts.
Marine Scotland intends to conduct more research in this area to further strengthen approaches to defining impact areas on land for offshore developments.
While every effort has been made to make this publication accessible to all, some sections may remain inaccessible due to the nature of the content. If you are unable to access any content you require, please contact ScotMER@gov.scot
Marine Scotland, June 2022
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