Publication - Impact assessment

Offshore wind energy - draft sectoral marine plan: social and economic impact assessment

Published: 18 Dec 2019
Directorate:
Marine Scotland Directorate
Part of:
Energy, Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781839603792

A social and economic impact assessment to support development of the draft sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy.

316 page PDF

4.9 MB

Contents
Offshore wind energy - draft sectoral marine plan: social and economic impact assessment
D Scoping

D Scoping

D.1 Outcome of Scoping

The outcome of the scoping for the potential for offshore wind development (including associated export cables) to give rise to significant social and economic impacts on other activities, based on the potential interactions that may occur, is provided in Table 69. Interactions that have been scoped in are highlighted in orange, those scoped out are highlighted in dark green, and interactions related to export cable routes that are scoped in but for which a quantitative assessment is not possible at this stage are highlighted in light green.

Where the initial scoping assessment[60] indicated ‘no further assessment required’ (i.e. scoped out), further detail on the reasoning for this can be found in Marine Scotland (2018)[61].

Table 69 Detailed outcome of scoping assessment

Sector Potential Interaction Technology Aspect & Phase Potential Social and economic Consequences Initial Scoping Assessment
Aquaculture Exclusion from sea areas (i.e. constraints on the development of future aquaculture sites where conditions may be suitable) Arrays (construction and operation) Reduction in income for aquaculture producers Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction and operation) Reduction in income for aquaculture producers Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPOs will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Disturbance or injury to finfish aquaculture species (underwater noise) Arrays (construction) Reduction in income for aquaculture producers through stress/injury or loss of stock Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Facilitation of the spread of non-native species Arrays (construction and maintenance) Reduction in income and employment for aquaculture producers through introduction (via vessel movement/ballast water exchange) or facilitation of the spread of non-native species detrimental to the cultivated species or their habitat Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Resuspension of sediments and/or release of contaminants associated with disturbance of sediments Arrays (construction) Reduced business profitability and income through reduction in water quality, subsequent deterioration of growing conditions (especially shellfish) and/or contaminant uptake by shellfish species Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction) Reduced business profitability and income through reduction in water quality, subsequent deterioration of growing conditions (especially shellfish) and/or contaminant uptake by shellfish species Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Aviation Height obstruction of commercial helicopter navigation routes Arrays (construction and operation) Additional track miles for helicopters owing to height obstruction in inclement weather, resulting in additional costs HMRs intersect with DPO areas on the east coast (E2, NE7, NE8, NE6) and east of Shetland (NE1).
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Height obstruction of commercial aircraft navigation routes Arrays (construction and operation) Loss of trade at airports Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Interference with radar systems Arrays(operation) The need to provide radar mitigation for strategic en-route and low level radar interference. Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Carbon capture and storage Competition for space (sterilisation of seabed potential storage areas/obstruction of potential pipeline routes) Arrays (construction and operation) Development constrained through increased costs and a deterrent to investment.
Reduction in future employment opportunities
Mains and Captain saline aquifers are located in the region of DPO (NE7, NE8, NE4, NE5, NE6). Further consideration is required to determine whether development of the DPO would compromise use of the aquifers. DPO lie inshore of saline aquifers, therefore detailed assessment should consider whether there may be significant impacts on pipeline routes.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Export cables (operation) Increased costs associated with any required ‘crossing’ of CCS pipeline/infrastructure with any export cables linking the DPO areas to land Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Coastal Protection and Flood Defence Potential for increased erosion, depending on location and design of array Array (construction and operation) Damage to property, infrastructure or economically important land The cumulative impact of offshore wind development, including floating wind arrays, on coastal processes at the coast is a current knowledge gap. Applying broad assumptions and criteria at a Sectoral level is likely to provide inaccurate results. Instead it is recommended that the economic consequences are discussed at project-level. This should be based on the output of wave modelling studies and in consultation with relevant stakeholders as part of the EIA scoping and consultation process.
Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Overlap between export cable landfall and coast protection and flood defence infrastructure Export cables (construction) Damage to property, infrastructure or economically important land due to reduced protection/defence of the coastline from erosion and flooding Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Energy generation Competition for space (offshore) within DPO areas All arrays Reduced renewable energy capacity Three DPO (W1, N3, N4) overlap with existing wave Draft Plan Option (DPO) areas and one DPO (SW2) overlaps with an existing tidal DPO.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Competition for transmission capacity All arrays, export cables Increased economic, social and environmental costs associated with less optimal landfalls and onshore grid connections Potential significant interactions may occur where there is competition for export cable corridors from arrays for suitable landing locations that meet all the technical and environmental criteria for connection to a substation with available capacity. A shortage of suitable locations could lead to cables being brought onshore away from preferred landfalls and connection points, thus significantly increasing the scope, costs and consenting risks of the onshore transmission works being developed. However, at this point in the development of the Plan it is generally not possible to identify where landfalls or grid connections might be as it is likely that grid reinforcement and extension will occur to meet future connection requirements.
Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Increased difficulty of access at cable crossing points with existing/planned export cables Export cables Increased maintenance costs for cable owners; loss of revenue for asset owners; loss of revenue for dependent businesses/customers Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Cable crossings with potential future export cables Export cables Increased maintenance costs for cable owners; loss of revenue for asset owners; loss of revenue for dependent businesses/customers Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Fisheries (Commercial) Complete loss or restricted access to traditional fishing grounds Arrays (construction and operation) Reduction in landings and income, possible impact on viability of fishing businesses. Could impact on GVA of sector and employment. Any significant impacts would be expected where DPO areas overlap with commercial fishing grounds. Given the widespread nature of important fishing grounds in Scottish waters (for both demersal and pelagic fishing gears) and the socio-economic importance of the commercial fishing sector in Scotland, it has been assumed that avoidance of significant fishing areas may not be achieved through spatial planning alone and that the impact of this interaction will need to be assessed.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Export cables (operation) Reduction in landings and income, increase in fishing costs (if vessels need to haul and reset gear to avoid cables), possible impact on viability of fishing businesses. Could impact on GVA of sector and employment. Export cable routes are uncertain. Any significant impacts would be expected where export cable corridors intersect with important commercial fishing grounds for fisheries which use mobile demersal gear.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Changes in fishing patterns, including gears used and species targeted (arising from displacement of fishing vessels as a result of loss of traditional fishing grounds; see above interaction) Arrays (operation) Change in costs and earnings profile of vessels. May lead to increased conflict over diminishing fishing grounds, and additional environmental impacts if fishing is displaced to different areas. Any significant impacts would be an indirect effect arising from complete loss of or restricted access to traditional fishing grounds.
This impact will be assessed based on the level of impact from complete loss or restricted access to traditional fishing grounds.
Export cables (operation) Change in costs and earnings profile of vessels. May lead to increased conflict over diminishing fishing grounds, and additional environmental impacts if fishing is displaced to different areas. Export cable routes are uncertain. Any significant impacts would be an indirect effect arising from displacement of vessels from traditional fishing grounds.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Obstruction of fishing vessel navigation routes Arrays (construction and operation) Increased steaming times for vessels, increased fuel cost and reduced time available for fishing for vessels with limited at-sea time (e.g. day boats). Fishing vessels are not included in the shipping assessment. Visual inspection of the location of DPO overlain on fishing vessels’ ‘steaming’ pings from vessel monitoring system (VMS) data (speed over 6 knots) indicates that potential impacts on navigation routes should be assessed.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction) Increased steaming times for vessels, increased fuel cost and reduced time available for fishing for vessels with limited at-sea time (e.g. day boats). Export cable routes are uncertain. However, it can be noted that any potential impact will only occur during the construction phase (export cable laying) and hence will be temporary (see loss or restricted access to fishing grounds interaction above for impacts during operation).
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Disruption to/obstruction of fishing activity Export cables (construction) Change in costs and earnings profile of vessels. Export cable routes are uncertain. However, it can be noted that any potential impact will only occur during the construction phase (export cable laying) and hence will be temporary.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Fouling of fishing gear on cables or seabed infrastructure Export cables (operation)
(assumes no fishing within operational arrays)
Loss of fishing gear, increase in gear costs, loss of fishing time and revenue. Safety issues for fishing vessels. Export cable routes are uncertain.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Disturbance of commercially-exploited fish and shellfish populations including disruption or damage to habitats, nursery and spawning grounds Arrays (construction) Reduction in Catch per Unit Effort (CPUE), landings and income. Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction) Reduction in Catch per Unit Effort (CPUE), landings and income. Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Array cables and export cables (operation) Electromagnetic effects on fish and shellfish populations resulting in changes to CPUE, landings and income Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Consequential impacts to seafood processors Arrays (construction and operation)
Export cables (construction and operation)
Loss of profit for fish processors. Impacts will be a function of the loss of landings supplying the processing sector, and therefore will be a function of the impact ‘complete loss or restricted access to traditional fishing grounds’, taking into account any displacement effects.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required at regional level.
Disruption to salmon and sea trout fisheries Arrays (construction and operation) Loss of landings. Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction) Loss of landings. Export cable routes are uncertain.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Military activities Competition for space Array (construction and operation) Displacement/exclusion of activity leading to increased costs to sector DPO overlap with various PEXA, including danger areas (N1, N3, NE2, NE3, NE4, NE5) and exercise areas (W1).
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Export cable corridors (construction and operation) Any potential significant impacts would only be expected where export cable corridors intersected with PEXA or military installations on the coast (i.e. at landfall sites).
Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of AoS will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Interference with radar systems Array (operation) Displacement of activity leading to increased costs Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Interference with underwater communications Array – construction and operation Displacement of activity leading to increased costs Any potential significant impacts would only be expected where the location of DPO areas were located close enough to PEXA to interfere with underwater communications. W1 overlaps with the West of Hebrides naval exercise area.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Oil and gas Competition for marine space - restricted access to seafloor Arrays (construction and operation) Increased cost as a result of restrictions on platform construction leading to a decrease in profitability and a lack of investment in sector DPO areas overlap with, or lie inshore of, areas where oil discovered but awaiting development.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Competition for marine space- restriction on exploration activities Arrays (construction and operation) Decrease in new oil and gas discoveries DPO areas overlap with, or lie inshore of, areas where oil can be expected to be found but has not yet been explored.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Competition for marine space - obstruction of pipeline routes Array and export cables (construction and operation) Increased cost associated with new development activities as a result of re-routing pipelines or cable/pipeline crossings leading to a decrease in profitability and/or investment DPO areas overlap with, or lie inshore of, existing hydrocarbon fields.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Competition for marine space - increased difficulty of access at crossing points Export cables (construction and operation) Increased maintenance costs for pipeline owners; loss of revenue for asset owners; loss of revenue for dependent businesses/customers Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Ports and harbours Obstruction of maintained navigation channel(s) (interference with vessel routes to port) Arrays (construction and operation) Increase in route steaming times for vessels, increased fuel cost. Potential loss of customers and revenue; increased costs associated with maintaining alternative routes. Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction only) Temporary increase in route steaming times for vessels, increased fuel cost. Potential loss of port customers and revenue (short term and/or seasonal trade). Could impact on GVA of sector and employment. Loss of customers and revenue; increased costs associated with maintaining alternative routes. Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Power interconnectors Competition for space with potential future interconnectors (DPO areas intersect proposed interconnector routes) Arrays (operation) Increased costs associated with new cable laying operations and cable crossings Any potential significant impacts would only be expected to occur where AoS areas overlap/intersect with future planned or proposed power interconnector routes that are likely to be constructed after agreements to lease have been issued in relation to DPO areas.
There is potential for interaction with future interconnectors in the North East and East regions.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Export cables (operation) Increased costs associated with new cable laying operations Any potential significant impacts would only be expected to occur where export cables intersect with future planned or proposed power interconnector routes that are likely to be constructed after licence applications for array export cable routes have been submitted.
Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of AoS will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Cable crossings with existing interconnectors Export cables (construction) Additional costs to construct cable crossings. Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Increased difficulty of access at cable crossing points with existing/planned interconnectors Export cables (operation) Increased maintenance costs for interconnector owners; loss of revenue for asset owners; loss of revenue for dependent businesses/customers Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Recreational boating Alterations to informal cruising routes Arrays (construction and operation) Increased fuel costs for motorised vessels; possible relocation of vessels leading to loss of revenues for supply chain Any potential significant impacts would only be expected where DPO areas overlap with areas of medium to high intensity recreational boating use, sailing or racing areas.
Recreational boating occurs extensively around the coast of Scotland. DPO areas overlap with specific cruising routes in numerous locations, including SW1, W1, N1, N3, N4, NE4, NE5.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Deterrent to investment in marinas/supply chain Arrays – construction and operation Reduced investment in marina development, for example, where altered cruising routes affect the use of a marina or where the location of arrays may be perceived as increasing difficulty of access to marinas/anchorages and hence its usage. Any potential significant impacts are likely to relate to the proximity of the array to existing marinas, and disruption of cruising routes related to the marinas. The DPO areas are located offshore, and are unlikely to have a direct impact on marine investment. The assessment should consider the potential for a direct deterrent to investment from DPO areas and the potential for alterations to informal cruising routes to act as a deterrent to investment.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Increase marine risk Arrays (radar interference during operation) and export cables (increased vessel traffic during construction only) Increased collision risk Any potential significant impacts would only be expected where DPO areas or export cable corridors overlap with areas of medium to high intensity recreational boating use.
DPO areas overlap with specific cruising routes in numerous locations, including SW1, W1, N1, N3, N4, NE4, NE5.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Shipping (Commercial) Obstruction of transiting vessel and/or ferry routes; increased steaming distances and time Arrays (construction and operation) Increased costs, effect on regular route (ferry) competitiveness, potential for increased insurance costs. Any significant impacts would be expected where DPO areas overlap with commercial shipping or ferry routes.
The location of the DPOS overlap with numerous significant shipping routes, particularly in SW1, W1, N1, N3, NE4, NE6. Given the critical
importance of commercial shipping and ferry routes, avoidance of significant impacts may not be achieved through spatial planning alone and that the impact of this interaction will need to be assessed.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction only) Increased costs Any significant impacts would be expected where export cable corridors intersect commercial shipping or ferry routes.
Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG. However, it can be noted that any potential impact will only occur during the construction phase (export cable laying) and hence will be temporary.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Displacement of formal (commercial) anchorage areas Arrays (construction and operation) Increased costs through increased steaming distance from the port to the relocated anchorage, plus the associated cost with lifting and laying ship mooring buoys (should these be part of the displaced anchorage). Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction and operation) Increased costs through increased steaming distance from the port to the relocated anchorage, plus the associated cost with lifting and laying ship mooring buoys (should these be part of the displaced anchorage). Any significant impacts would be expected where export cables corridors intersect with formal (commercial) anchorages.
Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Increased marine risk Arrays (construction and operation) Increased marine risk (e.g. risk of collision between vessels or vessels and infrastructure) relating to radar interference from offshore wind installations, with implications for costs to sector Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction) Temporary increased marine risk (e.g. risk of collision between vessels) along cable corridors whilst cabling is being laid, with implications for costs to sector Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Telecom cables Competition for space with potential future telecom cables (AoS areas intersect proposed subsea telecommunication routes) Arrays (operation) Increased costs associated with new cable laying operations and cable crossings Any potential significant impacts would only be expected to occur where DPO overlap/intersect with future planned or proposed telecom cables (including replacement of existing telecom cables) that are likely to be constructed after agreements to lease have been issued in relation to DPO areas. NE4 and NE5 overlap with existing telecom cables.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Export cables (operation) Increased costs associated with new cable laying operations Any potential significant impacts would only be expected to occur where export cables intersect with future planned or proposed telecom cables routes that are likely to be constructed after licence applications for array export cable routes have been submitted.
Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Cable crossings with existing interconnectors Export cables (construction) Additional costs to construct cable crossings. Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Increased difficulty of access at cable crossing points with existing/planned telecom cables Export cables (operation) Increased maintenance costs for telecom cable owners/operators; loss of revenue for asset owners; loss of revenue for dependent businesses/customers Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Tourism Impacts to landscape or seascape – long term Arrays (construction and operation) Reduction in tourism income and investment (through visitors being deterred by the physical presence of an OWF) There is the potential for significant impacts to landscapes, seascapes and viewpoints where offshore wind turbines are visible to receptors (i.e. people) and hence the potential for subsequent indirect impacts on tourism if this leads to avoidance of the area (i.e. arising from the perception that the recreational or visual amenity of an area is reduced).
The significance of any landscape and visual impacts of arrays will be assessed as part of the EIA process and will relate to numerous factors including the location of turbines, their visibility from shore and the sensitivity of the landscape and seascape to change. Any potentially significant impacts would be expected to be minimised through the application of mitigation measures as part of the licensing process (e.g. minimising impacts to sensitive areas of coastline, use of marine spatial planning within DPO areas etc.).
Although various studies have indicated that some people may avoid visiting an area where land-based or offshore arrays are visible, there is a lack of evidence that existing offshore windfarms (in the UK or globally), have had a negative impact on tourism numbers or expenditure through deterring visitors. Hence, it is considered unlikely that there will be any significant impact on tourism arising indirectly from any landscape and visual impacts associated with the offshore arrays.
However, as landscape and visual issues are often the most prominent reason for public objection to both land-based (DTI, 2005) and offshore wind farms, detailed assessment should be undertaken.
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required.
Impacts to landscape or seascape – temporary Export cables (construction in the intertidal/inshore area) Perceived reduction on amenity value, temporary reduction in tourism income Any potential significant impacts would only be expected in inshore areas/intertidal areas adjacent to where the export cables make landfall.
Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG. However, it can be noted that any potential impact will only occur during the construction phase (during cable laying) and hence will be temporary.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Disturbance or injury to coastal or marine wildlife Arrays (construction and operation) Reduction in income for ecotourism businesses Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Disturbance or damage to heritage assets Arrays and export cables (construction only) Reduction in visitor attraction income; reduction in wider tourism income Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Waste disposal (dredge material) Loss or reduced use of dredge material disposal sites Arrays (construction and operation) Increased costs of disposal (e.g. through requirement to use alternative disposal site) AoS areas do not overlap with open disposal sites.
Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction and operation) Increased costs of disposal Any potential significant impacts would only be expected where export cable routes overlap with open disposal sites.
Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Obstruction of access to dredge material disposal site Arrays Increased costs of disposal (through increased vessel steaming times) Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Water sports Displacement due to spatial overlap between array and water sport activity Array (construction and operation) Reduction in activity levels leading to loss of revenue for water sport business. Any potential significant impacts would only be expected where DPO areas overlapped with areas of watersport activity.
As AoS areas are located offshore, it is considered unlikely that DPO areas will impact on areas where watersports such as surfing, windsurfing, shore-based angling or kayaking are undertaken at high intensity, which is mainly inshore (although it is acknowledged that experienced kayakers may undertake the activity further offshore e.g. when crossing between a headland and an island). Scuba diving is generally undertaken at discreet diving sites such as wrecks or areas with interesting and rich marine life or seascapes. As such it is considered that any potential interaction with the above watersport activities are unlikely and could be avoided through the use of marine spatial planning.
There is the potential for DPO areas to overlap with recreational angling sites (the majority of which occur within 6 NM of the coast (Radford et al, 2009). Several DPO overlap within 6 NM including SW1, W1, N4. .
Scoped in - Detailed assessment required for recreational sea angling activities.
Decrease in recreational quality of the environment (e.g. arising indirectly from visual/noise disturbance) Array (construction and operation), Reduction in activity levels leading to loss of revenue for water sport business. Scoped out - No detailed assessment required.
Export cables (construction only, including in area of landfall) Temporary reduction in activity levels leading to loss of revenue for water sport business. Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG. However, it can be noted that any impact will be temporary.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Displacement due to spatial overlap between cable corridors and water sport activity Export cables (construction only) Temporary reduction in activity levels due to displacement during construction leading to loss of revenue for water sport business Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPO will be identified in the RLG. However, it can be noted that any impact will be temporary.
Cable route implications to be considered to the extent possible where there is clarity on their potential location.
Impacts to wave quality (surfing) Array (construction and operation) Reduction in surfing activity leading to loss of revenue for water sport business Scoped out - Detailed assessment not required.

Contact

Email: drew.milne@gov.scot