Publication - Publication

Offshore wind energy - draft sectoral marine plan: sustainability appraisal

Published: 18 Dec 2019
Directorate:
Marine Scotland Directorate
Part of:
Energy, Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781839603785

The sustainability appraisal considers the potential environmental, social and economic effects of the sectoral marine plan, including potential development scenarios and alternatives to them, drawing on information contained in the SEA, HRA and SEIA.

118 page PDF

2.6 MB

118 page PDF

2.6 MB

Contents
Offshore wind energy - draft sectoral marine plan: sustainability appraisal
4 Results of the Sustainability Appraisal

118 page PDF

2.6 MB

4 Results of the Sustainability Appraisal

4.1 Environment

4.1.1 Assessment of the potentially significant environmental effects arising from development under the plan has been undertaken through the preparation of a SEA, the detailed results of which are summarised below, and a HRA to determine the potential for adverse effects on Natura 2000 sites.

4.1.2 The results of the HRA conclude that, assuming appropriate plan and project level mitigation is implemented, there is potential for development under the plan to take place which would avoid adverse effects on Natura 2000 sites. Mitigation measures identified within the HRA are presented in detail within Appendix J of the HRA report, and included within the Mitigation section below.

Potential Environmental Effects of Development within the DPOs

4.1.3 An assessment of the potentially significant environmental effects of development within each DPO has been undertaken, based on the indicative realistic maximum scales of development. When assessed individually, there is the potential for significant adverse effects within each of the DPOs. Each DPO has therefore been assessed against the baseline for each of the SEA topics, and the potentially moderate or major effects identified are defined in Table 6, alongside potential mitigation (actions to reduce/offset adverse effect).

4.1.4 The full results of this assessment are presented in Appendix C of the SEA and summarised against each topic by DPO in Table 7.

4.1.5 The assessment is technology neutral, in that no distinction has been made at individual sites to prejudge the likely technology. Therefore, for the purposes of the assessment, the worst-case scenario has been determined, noting where there are differences between technologies or array design that have the potential to reduce the severity of effects. Where this is the case, and the level of mitigation likely to be applied at a certain site is uncertain, a range of effect classification (e.g. negligible to minor negative) has been used to highlight this uncertainty.

4.1.6 It is recognised that this assessment is therefore likely to be precautionary, and that in some cases project level design and mitigation strategies have the potential to further reduce effects below those identified in Appendix C of the SEA.

4.1.7 Table 7, presents the overarching results of the assessment against the identified pathways:

1. Loss of and/or damage to marine and coastal habitats, including benthic and intertidal habitats (for example, due to smothering of benthic habitats and substratum loss).

2. Effects on key mobile receptors and prey species, including disturbance, noise effects, EMF exposure, collision risk, habitat exclusion, and barriers to wildlife movement.

3. Effects arising from habitat modification, such as the creation of artificial reefs, new roosting structures and exclusion of habitat damaging activity.

4. Effects of pollution releases on species and habitats.

5. Effects from introduction and spread of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS).

6. Effects arising from noise, vibration, light, dust and shadow flicker effects from all phases of development.

7. Effects on residential amenity stemming from construction/installation/ operational activities.

8. Issues of navigational safety, aviation and collision risk.

9. Effects on marine and coastal recreation and access

10. Development of a secure energy supply.

11. Effects on subsea geology, sediments, and coastal processes arising from changes in hydrodynamics and the existing wave regime.

12. Effects on ecological status.

13. Effects on water quality (for example, due to increases in suspended sediment loads and turbidity as well as an increase in pollution incidents).

14. Effects of the presence of structures on local currents, wave regimes, and water column mixing, as well as secondary effects on sedimentation and erosion beyond the sites.

15. Contribution to supporting a diverse and decarbonised energy sector.

16. Coastal facilities may be at risk from climate change.

17. Loss of and/or damage to historic environment features and their settings, including coastal and marine archaeology and historic MPAs.

18. Both temporary and longer-term effects on landscape and coastal character and visual receptors arising from the presence of structures including any ancillary infrastructure.

4.1.8 Across all DPOs, there is potential for significant effects from installation of export cables. However, these cannot be assessed in detail at plan level, and any potential effects should be managed through spatial planning of the cable route and further mitigation at a project level.

4.1.9 Within all DPOs the development of offshore wind also has the potential to lead to significant (major) beneficial (positive) effects from the de-carbonisation of the energy sector and development of a secure energy supply.

Table 6 Summary of potential significant adverse effects per DPO

DPO

Potential Significant Adverse Effects

SW1

There is potential for significant adverse effects on birds, navigational safety, sediment transport and coastal processes, and visual effects.

All these effect pathways have the potential to be mitigated at a project level, either through spatial planning or turbine design. In addition potential adverse effects and mitigation on harbour porpoise from the North Channel SAC should be considered. However, due to the proximity of the DPO to land, visual effects have the potential to be a constraining factor.

W1

There is potential for significant adverse effects on seabed habitats, marine mammals, fish, sediment transport and coastal processes, and visual effects.

All of these pathways have the potential to be mitigated at a project level, either through spatial planning, array design or through turbine design.

N1

There is potential for significant adverse effects on bird populations from the Sule Skerry and Sule Stack SPA and on navigational safety.

Both effect pathways have the potential to be mitigated through spatial planning within the DPO as the degree of effect varies considerably across the area.

N2

N2 has no significant adverse effects identified.

N3

There is potential for a significant adverse effect on bird species foraging in the DPO, including from colonies in the North Rona and Sula Sgeir SPA.

This potential effect has the potential to be mitigated at a project level through appropriate monitoring and subsequent spatial planning to avoid areas of high risk.

N4

There is potential for significant effects on population (noise effects), navigational safety and visual effects.

There is some potential for mitigation of the above pathways through foundation and turbine design at the project level. However, any development in N4 may increase risk to commercial ships using the recommended deep water route in storm conditions.

NE1

There is potential for significant effects on seabed habitat, spawning fish, marine mammals and sediment transport and coastal processes.

These pathways could be managed at a project level, particularly by avoidance of the eastern boundary of the DPO which borders the Pobie Bank SAC designated for benthic habitats. Further mitigation may include avoiding piling activities at key fish spawning times.

NE2

There is potential for significant effects on bird species, for which previous wind farm consultations have raised significant concerns. The conclusion of these consultations based on potential risk to bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Gannet and Guillemot is that currently there may be very limited capacity for further development on the east coast of Scotland.

It is, however, recognised that there is uncertainty in this conclusion, which has the potential to be addressed once sufficient evidence is available. At a plan level, there is therefore proposed mitigation (discussed further below) that no development should be consented until sufficient evidence is available to demonstrate that such development will not cause a significant effect.

In addition, within NE2 there is potential for a significant effect on spawning fish, which has the potential to be mitigated through avoidance of piling activities during key spawning periods.

NE3

There is potential for significant effects on bird species, for which previous wind farm consultations have raised significant concerns. The conclusion of these consultations based on potential risk to bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Gannet and Guillemot is that currently there may be very limited capacity for further development on the east coast of Scotland. It is, however, recognised that there is uncertainty in this conclusion, which has the potential to be addressed once sufficient evidence is available. At a plan level, there is therefore proposed mitigation (discussed further below) that no development should be consented until sufficient evidence is available to demonstrate that such development will not cause a significant effect. In addition, within NE3 there is potential for a significant effect on spawning fish, which has the potential to be mitigated through avoidance of piling activities during key spawning periods.

NE4

There is potential for significant effects on bird species, for which previous wind farm consultations have raised significant concerns. The conclusion of these consultations based on potential risk to bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Gannet and Guillemot is that currently there may be very limited capacity for further development on the east coast of Scotland.

It is, however, recognised that there is uncertainty in this conclusion, which has the potential to be addressed once sufficient evidence is available. At a plan level, there is therefore proposed mitigation (discussed further below) that no development should be consented until sufficient evidence is available to demonstrate that such development will not cause a significant effect.

Furthermore, NE4 has the potential to significantly affect navigational safety, as it overlaps almost entirely with the key route around Scotland. There is limited potential to mitigate this within the DPO, and therefore development within NE4 would likely necessitate a diversion of that route.

NE5

There is potential for significant effects on bird species, for which previous wind farm consultations have raised significant concerns. The conclusion of these consultations based on potential risk to bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Gannet and Guillemot is that currently there may be very limited capacity for further development on the east coast of Scotland.

It is, however, recognised that there is uncertainty in this conclusion, which has the potential to be addressed once sufficient evidence is available. At a plan level, there is therefore proposed mitigation (discussed further below) that no development should be consented until sufficient evidence is available to demonstrate that such development will not cause a significant effect.

Furthermore, NE5 has the potential to significantly affect navigational safety, as it overlaps with some routes crossing the Moray Firth. There is potential to mitigate this within the DPO at project level through spatial planning to allow for safe transit through the arrays.

NE6

There is potential for significant effects on bird species, for which previous wind farm consultations have raised significant concerns. The conclusion of these consultations based on potential risk to bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Gannet and Guillemot is that currently there may be very limited capacity for further development on the east coast of Scotland.

It is, however, recognised that there is uncertainty in this conclusion, which has the potential to be addressed once sufficient evidence is available. At a plan level, there is therefore proposed mitigation (discussed further below) that no development should be consented until sufficient evidence is available to demonstrate that such development will not cause a significant effect.

Furthermore, NE6 has the potential to significantly affect navigational safety, as it overlaps with multiple key routes around Scotland, including lifeline ferry routes linking the mainland to the Shetland Islands. There is limited potential to mitigate this within the DPO, and therefore development within NE6 would likely necessitate a diversion of some or all of these routes, or a concentration of traffic into a smaller area.

NE7

There is potential for significant effects on birds within NE7, which may migrate through the DPO or use the area for foraging. Further research and consideration of mitigation may be used at a project level to determine and subsequently avoid areas of higher risk.

NE8

There is potential for significant effects on birds within NE8, which may migrate through the DPO or use the area for foraging. Further research and consideration of mitigation may be used at a project level to determine and subsequently avoid areas of higher risk.

E1

There is potential for development in E1 to have an effect on bird species, for which previous wind farm consultations have raised significant concerns. The conclusion of these consultations based on potential risk to bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Gannet and Guillemot is that currently there may be very limited capacity for further development on the east coast of Scotland, although these concerns are recognised to be more applicable to the inshore sites and risks are reduced in this case by the distance of E1 offshore.

In addition, within E1 there is potential for a significant effect on spawning fish, which has the potential to be mitigated through avoidance of piling activities during key spawning periods.

E2

There is potential for significant effects on bird species, for which previous wind farm consultations have raised significant concerns. The conclusion of these consultations based on potential risk to bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Gannet and Guillemot is that currently there may be very limited capacity for further development on the east coast of Scotland, although these concerns are recognised to be more applicable to the inshore sites and risks are reduced in this case by the distance of E1 offshore.

In addition, within E2 there is potential for a significant effect on spawning fish and navigational safety. Effects on spawning fish have the potential to be mitigated through avoidance of piling activities during key spawning periods, whilst effects on navigational safety can be managed through appropriate spatial planning within the DPO.

E3

There is potential for significant effects on bird species, for which previous wind farm consultations have raised significant concerns. The conclusion of these consultations based on potential risk to bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Gannet and Guillemot is that currently there may be very limited capacity for further development on the east coast of Scotland.

It is, however, recognised that there is uncertainty in this conclusion, which has the potential to be addressed once sufficient evidence is available. At a plan level, there is therefore proposed mitigation (discussed further below) that no development should be consented until sufficient evidence is available to demonstrate that such development will not cause a significant effect.

In addition, within E3 there is potential for a significant effect on spawning fish and navigational safety. Effects on spawning fish have the potential to be mitigated through avoidance of piling activities during key spawning periods, whilst effects on navigational safety can be managed through appropriate spatial planning within the DPO.

Table 7 Summary of the results of the assessment against DPOs (see key table below for explanation of symbology)

Topic Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna Population and Human Health Soil Water Climatic Factors Cultural Heritage Landscape, Seascape and Visual Amenity
Pathway 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
SW1 -/-- -/-- ~ ~ - N/E N/A -/--- N/A ++/+++ -/-- ~/- - -/-- ++/+++ N/E ~/- --/---
W1 -/-- -/-- ~ ~ - - N/A - N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- ~/---
N1 - -/-- ~ ~ - N/E N/A -/--- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- ~/-
N2 ~/- ~/- ~ ~ - N/E N/A ~/- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- ~/-
N3 ~/- ~/-- ~ ~ - N/E N/A ~/- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- ~/-
N4 - ~/- ~ ~ - -/--- N/A -/-- N/A ++/+++ ~/-- ~/- - ~/-- ++/+++ N/E ~/- --/---
NE1 -- -/-- ~ ~ - N/E N/A ~/- N/A ++/+++ ~/-- ~/- - ~/-- ++/+++ N/E ~/-- ~/-
NE2 ~/- -/--- ~ ~ - N/E N/A ~/- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- ~/-
NE3 ~/- -/--- ~ ~ - N/E N/A -/-- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- ~/-
NE4 ~/- -/--- ~ ~ - N/E N/A --/--- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- ~/-
NE5 ~/- -/--- ~ ~ - N/E N/A -/-- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- -/--
NE6 - -/--- ~ ~ - N/E N/A --/--- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- ~
NE7 - -/-- ~ ~ - N/E N/A ~/- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- N/E
NE8 - -/-- ~ ~ - N/E N/A ~/- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- N/E
E1 - -/-- ~ ~ - N/E N/A ~/- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- N/E
E2 - -/-- ~ ~ - N/E N/A -/-- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- N/E
E3 - --/--- ~ ~ - N/E N/A -/--- N/A ++/+++ ~/- ~/- - ~/- ++/+++ N/E ~/- ~/-

Term / Description

+++ : Major Positive
++ : Moderate Positive
+ : Minor Positive
~ : Negligible Effect
- : Minor Negative
-- : Moderate Negative
--- : Major Negative
N/E : No Effect - There is no effect pathway from source to receptor
N/A : Not Assessed - Effect pathway cannot be assessed due to uncertainties regarding cable landfalls or is assessed in the SEIA and / or within another pathway, for further details see the SEA.
Note: See 4.1.7 for explanation of pathway numbers

Cumulative Effects Within the Plan

4.1.10 Cumulatively within the plan (i.e. not incorporating planned, consented or constructed offshore wind) the SEA has considered effects at both a regional and a national level. The regional cumulative effects are summarised in Table NTS4. Regional cumulative effects include potential for significant adverse effects on bird populations, cetaceans, visual effects and navigational risk.

4.1.11 Nationally, the DPOs are spatially distinct between regions, and therefore there is limited potential for cumulative adverse effects, however, those that are present predominantly relate to bird collision risk where migration routes may transit through multiple regions, generally grouped by east or west coast. At a national scale the potential cumulative positive effect is most significant, with a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of the energy sector in Scotland and the establishment of a secure energy supply.

Table 8 Summary of cumulative effects per region within the plan

Region

Key Potential Cumulative Effects

South West

There is only one DPO within the South West region, therefore there is no potential for cumulative effects on a regional scale with other DPOs within this plan.

West

There is only one DPO within the West region, therefore there is no potential for cumulative effects on a regional scale with other DPOs within this plan.

North

There are four key cumulative effects in the North region. Firstly, there is potential for significant adverse cumulative effects on mobile species, including birds and cetaceans. Bird species have migration pathways or foraging areas which intersect DPOs within the North region. Development of areas across all DPOs therefore has the potential to cause a greater barrier effect to the migration routes, or displace birds from key foraging grounds, leading to increased collision risk or increased energetic requirements for bird species to divert around developments. Furthermore, there is the potential for significant effects on marine mammals. Cetaceans are primarily affected during construction activities, therefore concurrent construction within the DPOs in the North region has the potential to either cause physical injury or more likely displace species from these areas, which could cause a barrier effect preventing movement of cetaceans. There is also significant potential for cumulative effects on visual, seascape and landscape receptors, particularly regarding development within N3 and N4, both of which may be visible from land around North East Lewis.

North East

There are six key cumulative effects in the North East region. Firstly, there is potential for significant adverse cumulative effects on mobile species, principally on bird species. Within the North East region one pathway of concern is regarding effects on bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Razorbill and Guillemot, through collision risk and displacement from foraging areas. Furthermore, development of areas across multiple DPOs has the potential to form a barrier to species movement, leading to increased collision risk or increased energetic requirements for bird species to divert around developments. Concurrent construction within the DPO's could cause physical damage or displace marine mammals and spawning fish from the area. There is also potential for cumulative effects on benthic receptors from sediment transport. There are many key navigational routes throughout the region and cumulative effects could cause traffic to divert or concentrate traffic into smaller areas, increasing navigational risk. Finally, there is potential for cumulative visual effects, although the effect will be dependent on turbine size and spatial planning.

East

There are three key cumulative effects in the East region. Firstly, there is potential for significant adverse cumulative effects on mobile species, principally on bird species. Within the East region the pathway of greatest concern is regarding effects on bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Razorbill and Guillemot, through collision risk and displacement from foraging areas. Furthermore, development of areas across multiple DPOs has the potential to form a barrier to species movement, leading to increased collision risk or increased energetic requirements for bird species to divert around developments. There are also many key navigational routes throughout the region and cumulative effects could cause traffic to divert or concentrate traffic into smaller areas, increasing navigational risk.

Cumulative Environmental Effects with Projects Outwith the Plan

4.1.12 Development of offshore wind within the DPOs, and installation of export cables and cable landfall infrastructure, identified within this plan has the potential to combine with projects currently being undertaken or being considered for future development. This includes other offshore wind developments, particularly in the North East and East regions, offshore wave draft plan option areas, tidal stream energy developments, marine and coastal construction projects, and oil and gas exploration, operation and decommissioning.

4.1.13 There is considerable uncertainty regarding the likelihood of development for many of the projects with potential for cumulative effects. It is therefore not possible to undertake a detailed assessment. However, as discussed above, the potential cumulative effect on east coast bird colonies within the plan and with other projects is currently likely to impose a constraint on development inshore on the east coast (incorporating the North East and East regions).

4.1.14 Section 5.3 (Table 11) of the SEA presents a summary of currently known projects outwith the plan which would require further assessment at a project level.

Summary of Overarching Plan Environmental Effects

4.1.15 At the scales of potential development under the plan as a whole (Section 3.2) a very small proportion of the total area encompassed by the DPOs will be developed in either the low, medium or high scenarios. The effects of this level of development vary significantly depending on the DPOs and regions in which development might occur.

4.1.16 Areas of key concern, and the topics most likely to constrain development from an environmental viewpoint are bird collision and displacement risk, and navigational risk. Bird collision risk is particularly likely to constrain development in the East and North East regions, where concerns over bird populations, specifically Kittiwake, Gannet and Guillemot, have been raised against current development projects. Significant effects are also likely on landscapes and seascapes for developments located inshore.

4.1.17 It is recognised that there remains uncertainty in the baseline for bird and marine mammal distributions foraging within or migrating through Scottish waters and therefore, whilst this assessment considers currently available data, it is expected that project level survey will be required to establish a robust baseline against which an assessment can be made.

4.1.18 Against all of the pathways there is potential for mitigation through spatial planning at a national level, with areas of lower risk in the North region, and in areas of the West region DPO. In addition, DPOs located further offshore in the North East and East regions are likely to be constrained to a lesser degree than those further inshore in areas of higher bird density.

4.1.19 It is recognised that the implementation of the plan will have a significant environmental benefit in supporting the decarbonisation of the energy sector and the establishment of a secure energy supply in the UK.

4.1.20 A review of the plan has been undertaken against the SEA objectives, the results of which are contained within Table 9 below.

Table 9 Review of the plan against SEA objectives

Topic

SEA Objective

Assessment of the Plan Against SEA Objective

Biodiversity, Flora, and Fauna

To safeguard marine and coastal ecosystems, including species, habitats, and their interactions

Development within the DPOs and along the export cable routes will have some direct and indirect effects on species and habitats. These effects can be minimised through careful site and route selection and implementation of appropriate mitigation. The increase in renewable energy capacity will, in the long-term, contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy generation and thus help to limit the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems.

To avoid adverse effects on both designated and non-designated habitats and species (note links with HRA)

None of the DPOs overlap with designated sites, however the HRA identifies potential for interaction between offshore wind development in the DPOs and the foraging ranges of bird species from SPA. The proposed plan-level mitigation measures will help to avoid/minimise effects to designated features. Where potential cable routes might intersect designated sites, adverse effects can be avoided or minimised through careful route selection and installation methods.

No significant effects are identified regarding potential impacts on migratory (diadromous) fish (see the SEA for full assessment on these species). Risks to non-designated habitats and species can be avoided or minimised through careful project design and adoption of appropriate mitigation measures.

To avoid the introduction and spread of INNS.

Risks associated with vessels can be minimised through the implementation of biosecurity plans for construction, operation and decommissioning of offshore wind farms. The presence of offshore wind farms will provide new substrate which could be colonized by INNS. However, experience to date does not indicate that this is a significant risk pathway for the spread of INNS.

Population and Human Health

To maintain the accessibility of natural areas for recreation

Within the DPOs themselves, recreational activity is limited to yachting activity and angling. There is potential for displacement of this activity, however spatial planning within the DPOs can be used to avoid areas of key effect and mitigate any deterioration against this objective. There are some areas inshore of the DPOs where recreational activity may be affected by export cable installation. However, effects from cable installation are considered to be temporary, and planning of the cable route to avoid key areas can mitigate deterioration against the objective.

To minimise or prevent the discharge of pollutants into the natural environment

The implementation of the plan will not directly support achievement of this objective; however, it is not considered likely that implementation of the plan will lead to a deterioration against this objective. At a project level, pollution management plans will be produced to mitigate against the effects.

To avoid adverse effects on human health and safety

The implementation of the plan has the potential to cause deterioration of the environment against this objective due to adverse effects on navigational safety.

There is potential for effects on navigational safety, particularly in NE4 and NE6. In addition, where DPOs overlap at a lesser scale with navigational routes, spatial planning can be used at a project level to allow for safe transit through the DPOs, in part through the application of MCA guidance in MGN 543.

At a plan level, it is considered that there will be a residual deterioration against this objective.

Soil (Marine Geology and Coastal Processes)

To avoid exacerbating coastal erosion and maintain the integrity of coastal processes

There are several areas where the development of a DPO and associated export cable installation has the potential to affect coastal processes. At the plan level it is not possible to determine the extent of these effects, therefore at a project level it is possible that hydrodynamic and sediment modelling may be required to determine if a development will affect coastal processes.

To maintain and protect the character and integrity of the seabed, including avoiding the pollution of seabed strata/bottom sediments

The installation of turbines and subsea cables will affect the seabed within their physical footprint, and immediate vicinity. The development of offshore wind within the DPOs and associated export cable installation will therefore cause deterioration against this objective. The degree of effect will, however, vary significantly dependent on the technology employed, the level of scour protection required, and the seabed type.

To avoid significant adverse physical damage to coastal geodiversity sites from coastal infrastructure

There is considerable uncertainty regarding potential cable landfall locations, therefore the effect on coastal geodiversity sites cannot be assessed at a plan level. Assessment against this pathway will be undertaken at a project level, however it is expected that cable routes will be planned to avoid geodiversity sites.

Water Quality

To avoid pollution of the coastal and marine water environment

The implementation of the plan will not directly support achievement of this objective; however, it is not considered likely that implementation of the plan will lead to a deterioration against this objective. At a project level, pollution management plans will be produced to mitigate against the effects.

To maintain or work towards achieving good ecological status

The implementation of the plan has the potential to cause deterioration of the environment against this objective. Where potential for effects on the ecological baseline are identified above, recommendations have been raised to mitigate this at a plan level. At a project level, spatial planning can generally be used to avoid areas of high effect within an individual DPO and associated cable routes, and the WFD regulations place requirements on developers to avoid significant effects on the ecological status of coastal or transitional water bodies.

Climatic Factors

To contribute to a diverse and decarbonised energy sector

The development of offshore wind in line with the plan has the potential to significantly contribute to the achievement of this objective.

To ensure that adaptation to predicted climate change impacts are taken into account (for example, through consideration of resilience and changing environmental sensitivity)

The plan cannot be assessed against this objective, however individual developments will be required to take account of and ensure that designs incorporate resilience against potential climate change effects. In addition, any changes to the baseline as a result of climate change will be incorporated into the plan as part of the iterative plan review process.

To preserve marine carbon stocks and carbon sequestration potential (note: this objective is closely linked to the SEA topic of 'Biodiversity, Flora, and Fauna')

There is potential for marine carbon stocks to be present within DPOs or within export cable corridors, and to be affected by development of offshore wind. At a project level spatial planning will be required to avoid areas of sensitive marine carbon, however there is potential for disturbance of seabed sediments, which form a significant carbon sink. The disturbance of seabed sediments is dependent on the technology selected, however it is considered unlikely that effects will cause deterioration against this objective at a national level.

Cultural Heritage

To protect and, where appropriate, enhance, the historic marine environment

There are no designated historic areas within the DPOs. However, there are known shipwrecks within the DPOs and at a project level surveys will be required to identify areas of potential historic significance, effects on which can subsequently be avoided. At a project level this will be managed through the application of a Marine Archaeology Reporting Plan (MARP). The process of developing within the DPOs therefore has the potential to identify additional heritage assets and therefore support the achievement of this objective.

To avoid damage to known and unknown coastal and marine archaeology

There are no designated historic areas within the DPOs. However, there are known shipwrecks within the DPOs and at a project level surveys will be required to identify areas of potential historic significance, effects on which can subsequently be avoided. The process of developing within the DPOs therefore has the potential to identify additional heritage assets and therefore support the achievement of this objective.

There is considerable uncertainty regarding potential cable routes and landfall locations, therefore the effect on coastal heritage sites cannot be assessed at a plan level. Assessment against this pathway will be undertaken at a project level through the application of a MARP, and any sensitive heritage assets avoided through appropriate route selection.

To avoid adverse effects on the character and setting of historic sites and buildings

There is considerable uncertainty regarding potential cable routes and landfall locations, therefore the effect on coastal or inland heritage sites cannot be assessed at a plan level. Assessment against this pathway will be undertaken at a project level, associated with the terrestrial planning permission process.

Landscape/ Seascape

To avoid or minimise adverse effects on landscape, seascape, and visual amenity, including designated sites;

There are significant areas identified within the DPOs within which developments will affect the landscape, seascape and visual amenity of the coastal region in high and low light conditions. Potential mitigations have been identified for consideration at a project level, specifically the spatial planning to avoid areas closest to land or, where this is not possible, selection of smaller turbines in areas closer to land, to minimise adverse effects. This assessment can therefore support the implementation of the plan whilst achieving against this objective.

To promote the protection of seascape and coastal landscapes;

Assessment within the plan has identified potential risks to seascape and coastal landscapes, and proposed mitigation measures to reduce or remove effects. The plan therefore may support achievement of the objectives by identifying areas of lower risk for development.

To avoid or minimise adverse visual effects.

There are significant areas identified within the DPOs within which developments will affect the landscape, seascape and visual amenity of the coastal region. Potential mitigations have been identified for consideration at a project level, specifically the spatial planning to avoid areas closest to land or, where this is not possible, selection of smaller turbines in areas closer to land, in order to reduce the visual effects. This assessment can therefore support the implementation of the plan whilst achieving against this objective.

4.2 Economy and Other Marine Users

Introduction

4.2.1 This section summarises the estimated potential negative impacts on other marine sectors and activities associated with the development of Offshore Wind within Scottish seas based on the findings of the SEIA. Quantified impact estimates are presented in tables for each sector. Where potential impacts are expected to affect a sector's output, the impact on GVA and employment is also provided. Potential impacts for which impact estimates were not possible, are described qualitatively.

4.2.2 Potential impacts are presented initially for the potential development within any one individual DPO under a realistic maximum development scenario. The assessment subsequently factors back these potential impacts to regional and national scale to account for the reality that only a fraction of the area identified in the DPOs will ultimately be developed.

Aviation

4.2.3 There are no quantified potential negative impacts associated with the aviation sector that can be presented within this report. However, there are potential impacts to helicopter main routes and aviation radar associated with the locations of the DPOs.

4.2.4 Specifically, NE1, NE6, NE7, NE8 and E2 are all intersected by helicopter main routes (HMRs). Current Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) advice (CAP764) indicates that development may be restricted within 2 km of a HMR, which if applied has the potential to significantly reduce the available area within these DPOs.

4.2.5 Any potential cost attributed to the mitigation of impacts on aviation radar has been assumed to be met by the developer, where required, therefore there is no impact to the aviation sector.

Carbon Capture and Storage

4.2.6 There are no quantified potential negative impacts associated with the CCS sector that can be presented within this report. There is one proposed CCS project which has been reviewed in this assessment (ACT Acorn). This project proposes to use existing infrastructure, which will not be impacted by the development of offshore wind, and there is therefore no additional impact to the sector.

4.2.7 Should further CCS projects come forwards during the lifetime of the plan, there is the potential for opportunity costs, if areas of seabed are sterilised by offshore wind development, and potential impacts on pipeline diversions or cable crossings if new pipelines are to be installed which could interact with offshore wind export cables.

Commercial Fisheries

4.2.8 Potential quantified impacts to direct GVA of the commercial fisheries sector are summarised in Table 10 at a DPO level under the maximum development scenario and Table 11 scaled at regional and national levels. The value of landings affected in any one year for commercial fisheries (on which the direct GVA impact is based) is summarised in Table 12, and the direct GVA impact on an annual average basis is provided in Table 10. These potential negative impacts are based on the worst-case scenario that all fishing activity ceases within arrays.

Table 10 Potential direct GVA impacts to commercial fisheries (present value of direct GVA over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s, 2019 prices)

DPO Maximum Development Scenario
(GW)
Direct GVA impact Direct GVA impact per GW installed
SW1 1 432 432
W1 2 1,482 741
N1 2 1,392 696
N2 2 823 411
N3 2 1,991 995
N4 1 675 675
NE1 2 1,378 689
NE2 1 399 399
NE3 1 600 600
NE4 1 808 808
NE5 1 803 803
NE6 2 345 173
NE7 2 2,967 1,483
NE8 1 1,786 1,786
E1 3 326 109
E2 2 659 330
E3 1 74 74

Table 11 Potential direct GVA impacts for commercial fisheries at regional and national levels (present value over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s, 2019 prices)

Region Lower Scenario
(GW)
Lower Scenario Medium Scenario
(GW)
Medium Scenario Upper Scenario
(GW)
Upper Scenario
South West 0.3 130 0.6 228 1.0 380
West 0.5 371 1 741 2 1,304
North 1 614 2 1,227 3 1,617
North East 1 1,000 3 1,756 4.5 2,634
East 1 177 2 311 3 409
National 3 1,353 5 2,125 10 4,284

Table 12 Potential annual average value of landings affected for commercial fisheries (annual average value, £000s)

DPO Maximum Development Scenario
(GW)
Annual average value of landings Annual average landings value impact per GW installed
SW1 1 61 61
W1 2 203 102
N1 2 212 106
N2 2 129 65
N3 2 278 139
N4 1 91 91
NE1 2 227 113
NE2 1 66 66
NE3 1 87 87
NE4 1 131 131
NE5 1 132 132
NE6 2 55 28
NE7 2 395 198
NE8 1 211 211
E1 3 57 19
E2 2 115 57
E3 1 12 12

4.2.9 All DPOs have the potential to give rise to impacts on commercial fisheries. The magnitude of impact will depend on the level of development in individual DPOs, and the direct GVA impacts calculated are scaled according to assumptions of the maximum development scenario in each DPO.

4.2.10 DPOs with the highest potential impacts under the maximum development scenario are NE7 (mainly on over-12m pelagic and demersal trawlers), N3 (mainly on over-12m pelagic and demersal trawlers, and potters) and NE8 (mainly on over-12m pelagic trawlers). The DPOs with the greatest potential impact per GW installed are the same as the DPOs with the highest impact under the maximum development scenario.

4.2.11 Under the medium scenario, the North East region has the greatest potential impact on commercial fisheries. This is a result of it being the region with the highest number of DPOs, and containing DPOs with some of the greatest impacts per GW installed (see previous paragraphs). The region with the lowest potential impact under all scenarios is the South West region (Table 11).

4.2.12 At a national level, the potential impact on direct GVA of the commercial fisheries sector ranges from £1.4 million (present value over assessment period, lower scenario) to £4.3 million (present value over assessment period, upper scenario). This equates to annual impacts on GVA of £127,000 to £425,000. These impacts are relatively small in the context of landings of the Scottish catching sector in 2017 of £560 million, generating a GVA of £296 million. However, if several DPOs are developed in close proximity to each other and in the vicinity of important fishing grounds, they have the potential to have a more significant impact on particular segments of the fleet. This is particularly the case for the over-12m demersal trawl and seine segments of the fleet in the North East region.

4.2.13 The relative impact on each fleet segment is shown in context in Table 13. This shows the potential impact on GVA per fleet segment per region, compared to the total GVA of each fleet segment derived from each region. Note that this will over-estimate the proportional impact where a fleet segment derives landings from beyond the region (from other regions, or from further offshore), as the total GVA is calculated for each fleet segment based on its landings deriving only from the region. On the contrary, it will under-estimate the relative impact, where individual vessels' activity is concentrated in only part of a region. This is particularly the case for the North East region, which covers a large area, and fleets (particularly smaller vessels) will not necessarily fish across the whole region.

4.2.14 The potential impact on GVA of all fleet segments under all regional scenarios is less than 1% of the regional direct GVA of each fleet segment, with the exception of over-12m creelers in the West region, for which 1.9% of regional direct GVA is affected under the high scenario, and 0.9% under the medium scenario. Fleet segments with over 0.5% of regional direct GVA impacted are under-12m dredgers in the West region (high scenario) and over-12m creelers in the South West region (high scenario)

Table 13 Direct GVA affected per fleet segment, per region, compared to regional GVA (annual average, 2019 prices)

Region and fleet segment Regional Direct GVA
(£)
Direct GVA affected
(£, annual average)
Direct GVA affected as % of regional GVA
Low Medium High Low Medium High
East
Over 12m
Demersal trawls 12,803,750 9,037 18,074 27,111 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
Demersal seines & pelagic trawls 4,475,438 1,589 3,177 4,766 0.0% 0.1% 0.1%
Dredges 8,838,393 1,939 3,877 5,816 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Under 12m
Demersal trawls 4,863,330 2 4 6 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Lines 223,493 3 7 10 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Creels 22,701,453 68 135 203 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
North East
Over 12m
Demersal trawls 80,276,710 23,317 46,635 69,952 0.0% 0.1% 0.1%
Demersal seines 17,856,592 11,075 22,150 33,225 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
Dredges 11,225,932 9,749 19,499 29,248 0.1% 0.2% 0.3%
Pelagic trawls 204,984,517 36,107 72,214 108,320 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Creels, lines 2,972,704 124 249 373 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Under 12m
Demersal trawls 2,005,040 320 639 959 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Dredges 2,639,221 573 1,146 1,719 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Lines 935,660 56 112 168 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Creels 15,057,483 782 1,565 2,347 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Misc, nets, pelagic trawls 1,177,650 0 1 1 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
North
Over 12m
Demersal trawls and seines 38,839,058 19,611 39,222 58,833 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
Dredges 3,661,332 1,547 3,094 4,641 0.0% 0.1% 0.1%
Pelagic trawls 118,739,754 12,323 24,646 36,970 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Creels, lines and misc 16,256,873 13,503 27,006 40,509 0.1% 0.2% 0.2%
Under 12m
Demersal trawls 1,405,828 12 23 35 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Dredges 169,240 106 212 318 0.1% 0.1% 0.2%
Creels 22,609,163 3,056 6,112 9,168 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Nets, lines 180,729 2 4 7 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Miscellaneous 922,516 172 343 515 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
West
Over 12m
Demersal trawls 26,098,498 5 10 20 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Demersal seines 34,206 3 6 13 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Dredges 9,751,348 126 252 503 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Creels 3,490,573 16,507 33,015 66,030 0.5% 0.9% 1.9%
Under 12m
Demersal trawls 6,648,328 181 362 724 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Dredges 1,362,007 2,004 4,009 8,018 0.1% 0.3% 0.6%
Creels 33,432,187 7,594 15,188 30,376 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Lines and Miscellaneous 2,644,476 366 731 1,462 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
South West
Over 12m
Demersal trawls 31,286,616 25 50 84 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Dredges 19,462,608 2,207 4,415 7,358 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pelagic trawls 5,894,831 767 1,534 2,556 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Creels 3,587,373 5,130 10,259 17,099 0.1% 0.3% 0.5%
Under 12m
Demersal trawls 2,573,824 4 8 13 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Lines 220,139 0 0 0 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Dredges 3,624,221 28 56 93 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Miscellaneous 2,268,313 558 1,117 1,862 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Creels 12,003,953 647 1,294 2,157 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Nets 35,267 7 14 24 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%

* In some cases, the impacts on some fleet segments have to be presented together, combined, to avoid disclosure of information that relates to fewer than five vessels.

4.2.15 There are also potential impacts on non-UK fishing vessels that are fishing within UK waters. These have not been quantified, but the nationalities potentially affected are noted in the tables for each DPO in Appendix F of the SEIA. In addition, it has not been possible to assess the positive or negative impacts associated with the potential changes for fishing that may emerge when/if the UK leaves Europe/becomes a coastal state.

4.2.16 The assessment of the impact on commercial fisheries may be overly precautionary, due to the use of the worst-case scenario which assumes that all fishing activity will cease within arrays and vessels are not displaced to other location(s).

4.2.17 This assessment, therefore, does not account for the potential for fishing to return to a development area once construction is complete, nor for fishers to displace to other location(s). It is likely that displacement would take place and it may be possible, under certain circumstances, for activity to resume post-construction, however, this is difficult to predict given the uncertainties surrounding the technology to be utilised at a project-level and, therefore, such impacts have not been quantified. In addition, it is possible that the worst-case impact on the fisheries sector can be mitigated to some extent for some gear types by planning to ensure that, where possible, fishing activity can continue within the arrays, and siting of arrays within DPOs seeks to avoid key fishing grounds. If vessels switch gear types to enable them to continue fishing within arrays, there are impacts associated with changing gears. As the assessment has assumed that all fishing activity ceases within arrays, such impacts have not been quantified.

4.2.18 The knock-on effects of changes in landings and change in direct Gross Value Added (GVA) are estimated using the GVA multiplier (applied to change in present value GVA). Table 14 presents the impacts on GVA per region by scenario for both the Type I (direct and indirect) and Type II (direct, indirect and induced effects). The GVA multipliers used are for fishing (SIC 03.1) and are 0.6 for the Type I effects and 0.7 for the Type II effects.

4.2.19 Table 14 shows that the impacts are greatest in the North East, where they range from £1.6 million (low scenario, Type I) to £4.7 million (high scenario, Type II). The smallest impacts are in the South West, where these range from £207,000 (low scenario, Type I) to £685,000 (high scenario, Type II). These are discounted present values across the whole assessment timeframe (40 years).

Table 14 Present value GVA impacts from changes in landings (£000s, 2019 prices)

Scenario impacts East North East North West South West National
Low, Type I (direct + indirect) £282 £1,599 £982 £593 £207 £2,166
Low, Type II (direct, indirect + induced) £318 £1,799 £1,105 £667 £233 £2,436
Medium, Type I (direct + indirect) £497 £2,809 £1,964 £1,186 £365 £3,400
Medium, Type II (direct, indirect + induced) £559 £3,160 £2,210 £1,334 £411 £3,825
High, Type I (direct + indirect) £655 £4,214 £2,587 £2,087 £609 £6,854
High, Type II (direct, indirect + induced) £737 £4,741 £2,911 £2,348 £685 £7,711

4.2.20 The potential employment impacts are assessed using the employment effect applied to the change in the value of landings, which is assumed to be equal to a change in output from the fisheries sector. The employment effects used are for fishing (SIC 03.1) and are 9.7 for the Type I employment effect and 10.9 for the Type II employment effect. The potential impacts on jobs (as full-time equivalents, FTEs) from the annual impacts on fishing are shown in Table 15.

4.2.21 The largest impacts are in the North East region, with potential loss of 2 jobs (low scenario, Type I effects) to 5 jobs (high scenario, Type II effects). The difference between the Type I and Type II effects is generally small, up to a maximum of one FTE job in the North East. This suggests that the main impacts will be direct (i.e. on fishermen) or indirect (i.e. on processing, ports, etc.), rather than induced from loss of spending from those directly or indirectly affected.

Table 15 Employment effects (FTEs lost) as a result of changes in landings

Scenario impacts East North East North West South West National
Low, Type I 0.3 1.6 1.0 0.5 0.2 2.5
Low, Type II 0.3 1.8 1.1 0.6 0.2 2.8
Medium, Type I 0.6 3.2 2.0 1.0 0.4 4.1
Medium, Type II 0.7 3.6 2.2 1.1 0.4 4.6
High, Type I 0.9 4.7 2.9 2.0 0.6 8.3
High, Type II 1.0 5.3 3.3 2.2 0.7 9.3

4.2.22 The employment effects can also be explored in terms of the impacts on under-12m and over-12m vessels. Most of the impacts in terms of jobs are expected on the over-12m vessels, as shown in Table 16. Impacts on under-12m vessels in the West are proportionally much higher than on under-12m vessels in other regions (due to the importance of the W1 DPO area for creeling by under-12m vessels), with up to 37% of the jobs that are affected being on under-12m vessels. This compares with up to 10% of jobs affected being associated with under-12m vessels across the other regions or nationally.

Table 16 Employment effects (FTEs lost) as a result of changes in landings divided into impacts on under-12m and over-12m vessels

Scenario impacts East North East North
Under-12 Over-12 Under-12 Over-12 Under-12 Over-12
Low, Type I 0.001 0.3 0.03 1.5 0.06 0.9
Low, Type II 0.002 0.3 0.04 1.7 0.07 1.0
Medium, Type I 0.003 0.6 0.07 3.1 0.12 1.8
Medium, Type II 0.003 0.7 0.08 3.5 0.13 2.1
High, Type I 0.004 0.9 0.10 4.6 0.17 2.8
High, Type II 0.005 1.0 0.12 5.2 0.20 3.1
Scenario impacts West South West National
Under-12 Over-12 Under-12 Over-12 Under-12 Over-12
Low, Type I 0.18 0.3 0.02 0.2 0.21 2.3
Low, Type II 0.21 0.3 0.03 0.2 0.24 2.5
Medium, Type I 0.37 0.6 0.05 0.3 0.35 3.8
Medium, Type II 0.41 0.7 0.05 0.3 0.39 4.2
High, Type I 0.73 1.2 0.08 0.5 0.81 7.4
High, Type II 0.82 1.4 0.09 0.6 0.91 8.4

4.2.23 The impacts can also be considered in terms of gear type affected, with potential impacts in the West on under-12m vessels being largely associated with pots and traps. This accounts for 70% of the potential job losses under the low, medium and high scenarios. However, the overall impacts on pots and traps on under-12m vessels in the West region is still less than 1 FTE per year.

4.2.24 The largest potential impacts in North East region are for over-12m vessels with the greatest percentage of impacts associated with midwater trawls (33%) and demersal trawls (36%) under the low, medium and high scenarios. This indicates that between 0.5 and 1.7 FTE jobs could be lost on over-12m vessels involved with midwater trawls and between 0.6 and 1.9 FTEs on over-12m vessels involved with demersal trawls (Type I impacts only). Over-12m midwater trawls are also identified as suffering in the North (20%) and over-12m demersal trawls in the East (77%). Impacts in the South West affect over-12m dredges (28%) and over-12m creelers (61%), although in all cases these specific impacts result in the loss of less than 1 FTE, with the exception of midwater trawls in the North under the high scenario where impacts could result in reduction of 0.5 (low) to 1.6 (high) FTEs (Type I only).

4.2.25 The effect of changing GVA and jobs on local areas within each of the regions is based on the home port of the vessels affected (fishermen, local supply chain such as boat maintenance). The effect of a reduction in landings on the processing sector is assessed through the landings port of the vessels affected (impact on processing, ports). These aspects are discussed further in the social impact assessment (Section 4.4).

Energy Generation

4.2.26 There are no quantified potential negative impacts to the energy generation sector that can be presented within this report. There are areas where development of offshore wind within a DPO has the potential to introduce competition either for sea area (for example, SW1 overlaps with tidal stream energy DPOs, and W1 and N4 overlap with wave energy DPOs) or competition for transmission capacity, particularly with other marine renewable (tidal stream or wave energy) or island wind developments. This competition has the potential to introduce an opportunity cost to the sector, however this cannot be quantified.

Military Activities

4.2.27 There are no quantified negative economic impacts to the military sector that can be presented within this report. DPOs, specifically W1, NE2, NE3, NE4 and NE5, overlap with or are entirely within a number of exercise and danger areas identified by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) as being used for a variety of purposes, including live firing, naval exercises and RAF fast jet exercises. The development of these areas has the potential to displace MOD activity. However, this is unlikely to constitute a significant impact to the sector as the area involved is a very small proportion of the overall area available, and should the activity be considered important within this region, it may present a constraint on development in these regions.

4.2.28 In addition a number of DPOs may have the potential to interact with military radar installations. Where this is the case mitigation measures may be required to be implemented by the developer to avoid potential impacts.

Oil and Gas

4.2.29 There are no quantified potential negative economic impacts to the oil and gas sector that can be presented within this report. There is some overlap between the DPOs and oil and gas activities, specifically 30th and 31st round awards, licence blocks and small areas of hydrocarbon fields. Additionally, the 32nd round blocks on offer (announced 10 July 2019) overlap parts of the East and North East regions, however there is uncertainty over which blocks may be taken forward in the future.

4.2.30 Development of offshore wind overlapping these areas in NE3, NE4, NE5, NE6, NE7, NE8, E1 and E2, should opportunities for hydrocarbon extraction be subsequently identified, could be considered an opportunity cost for the oil and gas sector. It is not, however, possible to quantify this potential impact.

4.2.31 In addition, there is potential for oil and gas development in the future, and the installation of new pipelines to be required to divert around offshore wind arrays or to install cable crossings. Both of these would potentially incur an additional, currently unquantifiable, potential impact to the oil and gas industry. However, the oil and gas industry in the North Sea is well developed, and therefore future development is likely to tie into existing pipeline infrastructure, reducing the likelihood of additional impacts.

Power Interconnectors and Transmission Lines

1.1.1 Potential quantified negative economic impacts to power interconnector and transmission line developers are summarised in Table 17 at a DPO level under the maximum development scenario and in Table 18

4.2.32 Table 18 scaled to regional and national levels. These impacts are associated with a potential requirement to divert planned cable routes around the DPOs in NE2 (Shetland interconnector), E1 and E3 (Eastern HVDC).

Table 17 Potential negative economic impacts to power interconnector and transmission line developers (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s)

DPO Maximum Development Scenario
(GW)
Impact
(£000s)
Impact per GW installed
(£000s)
NE2 1 5,386 5,386
E1 3 401 134
E3 1 2,327 2,327

Table 18 Potential negative economic impacts to power interconnector and transmission line developers (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s, scaled to regional and national scenarios)

Region Lower Scenario
(GW)
Lower Scenario
(£000s)
Medium Scenario
(GW)
Medium Scenario
(£000s)
Upper Scenario
(GW)
Upper Scenario
(£000s)
South West 0.3 0 0.6 0 1 0
West 0.5 0 1 0 2 0
North 1 0 2 0 3 0
North East 1.5 673 3 1,346 4.5 2,020
East 1 455 2 909 3 1,364
National 3 787 5 1,311 10 2,506

4.2.33 The potential impacts to the sector are high, particularly when considered per cable installation with a potential negative economic impact in NE2 of £5.4m for the diversion of a single cable, the Shetland interconnector. However, it is recognised that these are worst-case impacts which do not take account for the potential for consultation with the sector and appropriate spatial planning within DPOs to mitigate these potential impacts, by reducing or removing the requirement for cable diversions.

4.2.34 Where there are existing operational cables within the DPOs (NE4 and NE5), it has been assumed that this will incur a constraint on offshore wind development without impact to the sector.

Recreational Boating

4.2.35 Potential quantified negative economic impacts to the recreational boating sector are summarised in Table 19 at a DPO level under the maximum development scenario and Table 20 scaled at regional and national levels. These potential impacts are associated with the diversion of recreational boating vessels using RYA informal offshore cruising routes around the DPOs.

4.2.36 Should recreational boating activities be displaced from a region due to the development of offshore wind it is also recognised that there could be a secondary impact on the earnings of marinas, and therefore on future investment in marina facilities. These impacts cannot, however, be quantified.

Table 19 Potential negative economic impacts to recreational boating (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s)

DPO Maximum Development Scenario
(GW)
Impact
(£000s)
Impact per GW installed
(£000s)
SW1 1 11.5 11.5
W1 2 5.3 2.6
N1 2 7.3 3.7
NE1 2 15.9 8.0
NE2 1 0.9 0.9
NE3 1 0.1 0.1
NE5 1 3.1 3.1
NE6 2 6.4 3.2
E3 1 0.3 0.3

Table 20 Potential negative economic impacts to recreational boating (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s, scaled to regional and national scenarios)

Region Lower Scenario
(GW)
Lower Scenario
(£000s)
Medium Scenario
(GW)
Medium Scenario
(£000s)
Upper Scenario
(GW)
Upper Scenario
(£000s)
South West 0.3 3.4 0.6 6.1 1 10.1
West 0.5 1.3 1 2.6 2 4.6
North 1 0.9 2 1.8 3 2.4
North East 1.5 3.0 3 5.1 4.5 7.7
East 1 0.1 2 0.1 3 0.1
National 3 4.9 5 7.8 10 16.1

4.2.37 Whilst there are impacts associated with a number of DPOs, the impacts themselves are low (maximum per DPO of £15.9k present value over the full assessment period), with the highest values in NE1 and SW1 both of which are shallower water sites closer to shore, intersected by multiple offshore cruising routes. It is, however, recognised that current evidence suggests that the majority of recreational vessels can transit safely through fixed-bottom wind farm arrays (which are likely to be located closer inshore), and hence the diversion impacts presented above may be overestimates.

4.2.38 The limited scale of impact on recreational boating cruising routes suggests that secondary impacts on marinas will also be very minor.

Commercial Shipping

4.2.39 Potential quantified negative economic impacts to the commercial shipping sector are summarised in Table 21 at a DPO level under the maximum development scenario and Table 22 scaled to regional and national levels. These potential impacts are associated with additional fuel impacts based on requirements for commercial ships to divert around the DPOs.

Table 21 Potential negative economic impacts to commercial shipping (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s)

DPO Maximum Development Scenario
(GW)
Impact
(£000s)
Impact per GW installed
(£000s)
SW1 1 12,319 12,319
W1 2 1,587 793
N1 2 8,889 4,444
N2 2 418 209
N3 2 318 159
N4 1 359 359
NE1 2 2,257 1,129
NE2 1 3,867 3,867
NE3 1 2,048 2,048
NE4 1 2,639 2,639
NE5 1 6,432 6,432
NE6 2 19,706 9,853
NE7 2 3,082 1,541
NE8 1 777 777
E1 3 1,516 505
E2 2 786 393
E3 1 3,128 3,128

Table 22 Potential negative economic impacts to commercial shipping (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s, scaled to regional and national scenarios)

Region Lower Scenario
(GW)
Lower Scenario
(£000s)
Medium Scenario
(GW)
Medium Scenario
(£000s)
Upper Scenario
(GW)
Upper Scenario
(£000s)
South West 0.3 3,696 0.6 6,506 1 10,844
West 0.5 397 1 793 2 1,397
North 1 1,255 2 2,511 3 3,307
North East 1.5 4,694 3 7,886 4.5 11,830
East 1 905 2 1,593 3 2,098
National 3 6,215 5 9,758 10 19,526

4.2.40 The potential negative economic impacts to commercial shipping are significant and have the potential to cause difficulties in managing and consenting offshore wind developments within certain sites, particularly SW1 and NE6 where potential impacts are potentially greater than £10 million (present value over the assessment period). This is in context of the estimated contribution that shipping made to the Scottish economy in 2015, of £3,600 million GVA[110].

4.2.41 In the case of SW1, this is due to significant diversion of a high intensity route, which could be avoided through appropriate spatial planning of the site, using guidance in MGN 543 (MCA guidance on the Safety of Navigation: Offshore Renewable installations) to create safe shipping lanes through arrays.

4.2.42 In the case of NE6, however, the potential for spatial planning is limited, and therefore impacts within this DPO may not be avoidable. In addition, although the overall potential impact is lower due to the smaller diversion, there is potentially a significant impact on commercial shipping from development within NE4, due to the overlap encompassing the main shipping route around Scotland, which again is unlikely to be mitigated by spatial planning within the DPO.

4.2.43 Any significant impacts on particular shipping routes have the potential to alter the economic case for trade into or out of certain ports. The impact of this has not been quantified as uncertainties are high, as no analysis of the source or destination of shipping transiting the DPO has been undertaken, and the potential for appropriate spatial planning within the DPOs could reduce impacts significantly.

Telecommunication Cables

4.2.44 There are no quantified potential negative economic impacts to the telecommunications sector that can be presented within this report. There is some overlap between NE4 and NE5 and a telecom cable, however it is assumed that this will constrain development to avoid interaction with the cable and leave an appropriate corridor such that no diversions are required when the cable is replaced.

4.2.45 There is significant uncertainty regarding the future development and routes of cables, therefore no assessment can be made regarding impacts on potential future telecommunication cable routes.

Tourism

4.2.46 Potential quantified negative economic impacts to the tourism sector are summarised in Table 23 at a DPO level under the maximum development scenario and Table 24 scaled to regional and national levels. These potential impacts are associated with the potential reduction in tourism expenditure due to tourists being deterred by the visual impacts of offshore wind turbines.

Table 23 Potential negative economic impacts to tourism (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s)

DPO Maximum Development Scenario
(GW)
Impact
(£000s)
Impact per GW installed
(£000s)
SW1 1 124.0 124.0
W1 2 292.4 146.2
N4 1 1,891.0 1,891.0
NE2 1 15.7 15.7

Table 24 Potential negative economic impacts to tourism (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s, scaled to regional and national scenarios)

Region Lower Scenario
(GW)
Lower Scenario
(£000s)
Medium Scenario
(GW)
Medium Scenario
(£000s)
Upper Scenario
(GW)
Upper Scenario
(£000s)
South West 0.3 39 0.6 65 1 109
West 0.5 100 1 190 2 334
North 1 238 2 475 3 626
North East 1.5 2 3 3 4.5 5
East 1 0 2 0 3 0
National 3 218 5 342 10 711

4.2.47 Due to the nature of the impact due to the visibility of the turbines from areas of land, the assessment has considered that impacts will only occur on land areas within 18 km of DPOs. The most significant potential effects are from N4 with an impact of reduced spend of £1.9 million (present value over the assessment period), due to the close proximity of the DPO to land, and the importance of tourism to the Outer Hebrides. This is a minor reduction in the total value of tourism in the Outer Hebrides (annual turnover). At a national scale, the impact in the high scenario of £711,000 over the assessment period is not considered to be significant to the tourism industry when considered in the context of the annual marine tourism turnover of £1,031 million (2016) in Scotland.

Water Sports

4.2.48 Potential quantified negative economic impacts to the watersports sector are summarised in Table 25 at a DPO level under the maximum development scenario and in Table 26 scaled to regional and national levels. These potential impacts are associated with the loss of sea area for recreational angling and relate to total spend by recreational anglers.

Table 25 Potential negative economic impacts to watersports (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s)

DPO Maximum Development Scenario
(GW)
Impact
(£000s)
Impact per GW installed
(£000s)
SW1 1 5,187 5,187
W1 2 3,159 1,579
N4 1 1,908 1,908

Table 26 Potential negative economic impacts to watersports (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s, scaled to regional and national scenarios)

Region Lower Scenario
(GW)
Lower Scenario
(£000s)
Medium Scenario
(GW)
Medium Scenario
(£000s)
Upper Scenario
(GW)
Upper Scenario
(£000s)
South West 0.3 1,556 0.6 2,740 1 4,566
West 0.5 790 1 1,580 2 2,781
North 1 240 2 480 3 632
National 3 1,412 5 2,217 10 4,943

4.2.49 The majority of recreational angling is undertaken within 6 NM of land, therefore significant impacts are only assessed where a DPO is within this distance. Any potential impacts are therefore only likely to be seen at SW1, W1 and N4. The most significant impacts are estimated to be in SW1 with a potential negative economic impact of £5.2 million (present value over the assessment period), driven by the large area within 6 NM combined with high spend in the South West region on recreational boat angling.

4.2.50 In a worst-case scenario that 100% of the area within 6 NM in SW1 is developed, the impact of £547k per annum is approximately 1.7% of the total annual value of recreational angling in the region. Similarly, in W1 2.2% of the value of angling in the region could be impacted. It is unlikely that all of this would be lost, as some is likely to be displaced, or in reality may continue to occur within the DPO as the sea area is unlikely to be sterilised for sea angling by the development of an offshore wind array. Assuming recreational angling can continue within arrays once construction is completed, the impact is considered unlikely to be significant to the recreational angling sector in the region.

4.2.51 When considered nationally the significance is further reduced, as there are large areas within Scotland which would remain accessible for recreational sea angling. Therefore, even if displacement from a region is considered, this may not be lost to the national sector as a whole.

4.2.52 The potential impact on other watersports cannot be quantified, as there is little information available to determine the value of these watersports or the potential impact of offshore wind development. It is, however, recognised that areas inshore of the DPOs are known to be used for a variety of recreational activities including surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing. These activities have the potential to be affected by development within the DPOs either directly through displacement from areas or through changes to wind or wave regimes inshore of the DPOs, as well as by changes to the environment during or following the construction of cable routes and landfalls. However, none of these impacts are likely to be economically significant either locally, regionally or nationally.

4.3 Potential Positive Economic Impacts

Introduction

4.3.1 The methodology for assessing the positive economic impacts derived from the level of spend in wind farms is described in Section 2 of the SEIA. This section provides the results from application of this method at the regional and national scales. The discussion follows the six steps of the assessment approach with full details of the calculations undertaken in each step set out in Appendix C of the SEIA.

4.3.2 The positive economic impacts resulting from investment retained in the Scottish supply chain are estimated based on three scenarios involving different levels of development. The total GVA impacts (in Present Value for 2020-2059) are presented in Table 27 covering total potential investment at the regional level, and then re-scaled at the national level. The Table shows that the biggest GVA impacts are seen in the North East region, followed by East, then North with West and South West having similar levels of impact. The difference between the Type I impacts (direct and indirect impacts) and Type II impacts (direct, indirect and induced impacts) gives an indication of the level of GVA impacts that are derived from the amount of increased income that is re-spent on final goods and services.

Table 27 GVA impacts in Present Value (discounted) terms by region and nationally (Direct, Type I (direct, indirect) and Type II (direct, indirect, induced)) (£ millions)

Scenario East North East North West South West National
Low, Direct £235 £429 £88 £30 £18 £328
Low, Type I £389 £645 £139 £49 £30 £515
Low, Type II £497 £760 £170 £61 £38 £631
Medium, Direct £486 £852 £177 £60 £45 £560
Medium, Type I £790 £1,280 £278 £98 £72 £874
Medium, Type II £997 £1,506 £339 £123 £89 £1,069
High, Direct £683 £1,277 £269 £149 £74 £1,120
High, Type I £1,103 £1,921 £420 £239 £121 £1,748
High, Type II £1,386 £2,259 £497 £288 £149 £2,137

4.3.3 Employment impacts associated with the retained GVA are presented as maxima in any one year. It is not appropriate to sum the number of jobs over the appraisal timeframe as many jobs will last for more than one year so the same job would be counted numerous times. Table 28 presents the estimated maximum number of jobs in any one year for each region, and then re-scaled at the national level. The table shows that the North East would see creation of the largest number of jobs, with this ranging from 1,255 (low scenario, Type I) to 4,443 (high scenario, Type II). This is the maximum number of jobs that would be created in any one year. Overall economic impacts will depend on access to jobs, through training for example, and whether the jobs are short or long-term and are skilled or unskilled. These could affect who is beneficially impacted (local versus relocated) as well as the duration of the positive economic effects. There may also be some negative impacts on other industries, if employees leave those sectors to take up employment in the wind industry.

Table 28 Maximum employment impacts in any one year by region and nationally (Type I and Type II) (FTEs)

Scenario East North East North West South West National
Low, Direct 247 938 296 41 31 696
Low, Type I 282 1,255 373 51 38 864
Low, Type II 444 1,684 521 71 53 1,229
Medium, Direct 832 1,588 593 82 147 1,075
Medium, Type I 1,020 2,066 745 103 180 1,357
Medium, Type II 1,468 2,834 1,042 143 256 1,911
High, Direct 1,044 2,382 639 463 245 2,151
High, Type I 1,262 3,099 798 568 300 2,714
High, Type II 1,849 4,250 1,126 808 426 3,821

4.3.4 The pattern of job creation is generally a small number of jobs from 2020 to 2025 when development and project management activities dominate. The number of jobs increase as construction work begins in 2027 (balance of plant, and installation and commissioning), then increases again when wind turbine supply begins (2028). Depending on the scenario and the number of activities that are running concurrently, the maximum number of jobs typically occurs in 2033 and 2034 when all five activities may be running concurrently, i.e. when construction works are on-going in some DPOs while others have moved to operation, maintenance and service. Thus the maximum job estimates relate to the following years for each region:

  • East: 2033 and 2034 (also 2038 and 2039 for high scenario)
  • North East: 2032 and 2033 (also 2036 and 2037 for mid and high scenarios)
  • North: 2033 and 2034 (also 2038 and 2039 for high scenario)
  • West: 2033 and 2034 (high scenario only)
  • South West: 2033 and 2034 (for mid and high scenarios only)
  • National: 2033 and 2034 and 2038 and 2039 (or 2031 and 2032, 2034 and 2035, 2037 and 2038 and 2040 and 2041 for mid and high scenarios)

4.4 Social Impacts on Individuals, Communities and Society

4.4.1 The social impacts are presented in the SEIA against the following clusters:

  • Individual:
  • family, family life and inter-generation issues;
  • jobs, career, employment;
  • money, cost of living;
  • community:
  • local jobs, local industry, community sustainability;
  • transport connections, technology connections;
  • education;
  • shops, housing;
  • socialising, recreation, parks, leisure;
  • friends, being involved, supporting others;
  • local identity, cultural heritage, Gaelic;
  • healthcare;
  • connection to nature, landscape;
  • local political and decision-making systems;
  • wider political and environmental context:
  • landscape, seascape, wildlife, environmental change; and
  • national and EU level political and decision-making systems.

4.4.2 The impacts described are based on the changes that could occur due to economic impacts from the supply chain (positive in terms of jobs but also negative in terms of increased demand on services and changes to communities), and from negative economic impacts on other marine sectors. Impacts on the fishing industry in particular are identified since these have been estimated to potentially result in negative effects on GVA and jobs. Impacts on other sectors are also captured where these are reported in Section 3 (and Appendix D) even if these do not result in quantifiable economic impacts.

4.4.3 The main social impacts for the Individuals are as follows:

  • increased employment (864 to 3,821 new jobs under different scenarios with upper bound including induced effects), with potential for knock-on positive impacts for family life and disposable income, with positive impacts for child wellbeing; and
  • increase in potential for people to develop careers locally in skilled occupations (e.g. in engineering and construction sectors) and in a range of locations.
  • The majority of impacts will potentially be felt more in the East and North East, with rural and coastal areas likely to see positive impacts due to the location of offshore wind developments. Against this, losses could be expected in the fishing community and support industries, currently concentrated in the North East. It is important to consider the risk of losing the critical mass needed to support the fishing industry, should the reduction in output and demand for services be significant. The figures provided in this report (e.g. impacts on outputs and employment) can assist with this discussion, but this is beyond the scope of this SEIA.

4.4.4 Negative individual impacts range from minor (- -) to moderate (- - -), although almost all impacts across all regions are rated minor. Only the North East sees moderate negative impacts with these associated with impacts on fishing communities specifically. These impacts are likely to be sufficient for concerns to be raised by members of the fishing community, but most other groups within the community will not see any significant noticeable individual impacts. Nationally, the impacts are expected to be minor (- -). Overall the impacts are expected to be slightly significant due to effects on fishing communities.

4.4.5 Greater income for individuals leads to more spend in communities with knock-on impacts in terms of income from those working in supply chain and services. The main social impacts for the community are:

  • Potential for business growth from spend with Present Value GVA impacts over the appraisal timeframe of £515 million (low, Type I) to £2,137 (high, Type II);
  • Positive effects from spend in renewable energy, high growth and clean growth businesses; and
  • Opportunities to diversify into new business areas could help innovative businesses to grow and develop.

4.4.6 Minor impacts are expected in transport connections and education. However, impacts are likely to be greater where there is a concentration of jobs which could result in hubs providing high skilled jobs. These are likely to be around the ports that can offer the facilities needed by wind farm developments, in the East and the North East.

4.4.7 The main impacts at national level are related to Scotland's reputation as a leader in renewable energy. This could in turn bring future spending linked to growth of the supply chain and increasing supply chain capacity. The impacts to landscape, seascape and the environment will vary across regions. The largest impacts are expected in the East, the North East and the North regions although mitigation measures are expected to reduce the significance of such impacts.

4.5 Combined and Cumulative Socio-economic Impacts

Negative Economic Impacts

4.5.1 At regional and national scales it is recognised that not all DPOs will be developed, and not all to their realistic maximum development capacity under the plan. Therefore, it is appropriate to scale the potential impacts identified above against individual DPOs when combining them at a regional and national scale. Table 29 summarises the total present value potential negative economic impacts for all sectors combined (excluding commercial fishing which is included within Table 30 as direct GVA impacts) and scaled as per the regional and national scenarios discussed in Section 3.2.

4.5.2 Figure 6 subsequently breaks these down into potential impacts per sector against the regions, whilst Figure 7 presents the national breakdowns. Figure 8 and Figure 9 separately present the direct GVA impacts, which in this assessment covers only commercial fisheries.

Table 29 Potential negative economic impacts to all sectors (excluding fisheries) (present value of total impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s, scaled to regional and national scenarios)

Region Low Scenario
(GW)
Low Scenario
(£000s)
Medium Scenario
(GW)
Medium Scenario
(£000s)
High Scenario
(GW)
High Scenario
(£000s)
South West 0.3 5,295 0.6 9,317 1 15,529
West 0.5 1,288 1 2,565 2 4,516
North 1 1,734 2 3,468 3 4,569
North East 1.5 5,372 3 9,241 4.5 13,861
East 1 1,360 2 2,502 3 3,463
National 3 8,638 5 13,636 10 27,704

Table 30 Potential direct GVA impacts (commercial fisheries) (GVA impacts over assessment period 2020-2059, £000s, scaled to regional and national scenarios)

Region Low Scenario
(GW)
Low Scenario
(£000s)
Medium Scenario
(GW)
Medium Scenario
(£000s)
High Scenario
(GW)
High Scenario
(£000s)
South West 0.3 130 0.6 228 1 380
West 0.5 371 1 741 2 1,304
North 1 614 2 1,227 3 1,617
North East 1.5 1,000 3 1,756 4.5 2,634
East 1 177 2 311 3 409
National 3 1,353 5 2,125 10 4,284

4.5.3 The highest negative economic impacts for activities (excluding commercial fishing) are in the South West and North East regions (Table 29). As per the individual DPO analysis the majority of quantified potential impacts are driven by commercial shipping both at regional and national scales, whilst watersports (recreational boat angling), power interconnectors and tourism have a smaller contribution to overall potential impacts.

4.5.4 For commercial fishing, the North East region has the highest quantified impacts (Table 30). This is a result of the high number of DPOs in the region, and therefore the higher presumed level of development in GW in that region under the scenarios assessed.

4.5.5 Whilst the North East region has high overall potential quantified impacts, this is based on a higher presumed level of development (4.5 GW under the upper scenario) compared to the other regions. In contrast, the relatively high level of impact in South West is driven by a much lower level of presumed development, and therefore the impacts per GW are highest in the South West, predominantly due to impacts on shipping.

4.5.6 For commercial fishing, the North East region has the highest quantified potential impacts per GW developed, with the South West, West and North regions relatively similar to each other, and the lowest impacts per GW in the East region.

4.5.7 It is recognised that both regionally and nationally the high commercial shipping potential impacts tend to be driven by development in a small number of DPOs, and therefore at a regional and national scale the potential impacts may vary significantly depending on which DPOs become the focus for development.

Figure 6 Regionally-scaled sector potential negative economic impacts (present value over assessment period (£000s)

Figure 6 Regionally-scaled sector potential negative economic impacts (present value over assessment period (£000s)

Figure 7 Nationally scaled sector potential negative economic impacts (present value over assessment period (£000s)

Figure 7 Nationally scaled sector potential negative economic impacts (present value over assessment period (£000s)

Figure 8 Regionally-scaled direct GVA impacts on commercial fisheries (GVA impact over assessment period (£000s)

Figure 8 Regionally-scaled direct GVA impacts on commercial fisheries (GVA impact over assessment period (£000s)

Figure 9 Nationally-scaled direct GVA impacts on commercial fisheries (GVA impact over assessment period (£000s)

Figure 9 Nationally-scaled direct GVA impacts on commercial fisheries (GVA impact over assessment period (£000s)

Potential Combined Negative Economic Impacts

4.5.8 There is potential for combined socio-economic impacts to occur should multiple DPOs within a similar geographic region be developed.

4.5.9 Within the East region, the development of both E1 and E3 has the potential for additive in-combination effects requiring multiple diversions of the Eastern HVDC. Similarly, the development of multiple DPOs in the North East region (particularly NE6, NE8 and NE4) has the potential to require commercial shipping to undertake a much larger diversion around multiple arrays than currently assessed within an individual site assessment.

4.5.10 Development of DPOs across different regions is not expected to result in cumulative impacts on commercial shipping, as the DPOs in different regions tend to affect different shipping routes.

4.5.11 Development of multiple DPOs in any region has the potential to have cumulative impacts on commercial fisheries, particularly in the North East and North regions.

4.5.12 There are also a number of factors external to the plan that could also have in-combination impacts. For example, fisheries restrictions around designated sites (such as those in the MPA network) or currently consented renewables developments, particularly in the North East region around the Moray Firth, have the potential to displace fishing activities in combination with developments within the DPOs. This could lead to a greater combined impact on commercial fisheries landings and the associated economic impacts on Scottish communities.

Potential Positive Economic Impacts

4.5.13 The positive economic impacts resulting from the level of spend retained in the Scottish supply chain are estimated based on three scenarios involving different level of development. The total GVA impacts (in Present Value for 2020-2059) are presented in Table 31 covering total spend at the regional level, and then re-scaled at the national level. The Table shows that the biggest GVA impacts are seen in the North East region, followed by East, then North with West and South West having similar level of impacts. The difference between the Type I (direct and indirect impacts) and Type II (direct, indirect and induced impacts) gives an indication of the level of GVA impacts that are derived from the amount of increased income that is re-spent on final goods and services.

Table 31 GVA impacts in Present Value (discounted) terms by region and nationally (Type I and Type II) (£ millions)

Scenario East North East North West South West National
Low, Type I £389 £645 £139 £49 £30 £515
Low, Type II £497 £760 £170 £61 £38 £631
Medium, Type I £790 £1,280 £278 £98 £72 £874
Medium, Type II £997 £1,506 £339 £123 £89 £1,069
High, Type I £1,103 £1,921 £420 £239 £121 £1,748
High, Type II £1,386 £2,259 £497 £288 £149 £2,137

4.5.14 Employment impacts associated with the retained GVA are presented as maxima in any one year. It is not appropriate to sum the number of jobs over the appraisal timeframe as many jobs will last for more than one year so the same job would be counted numerous times. Table 32 presents the maximum number of jobs in any one year for each region, and then re-scaled at the national level. The table shows that the North East would see creation of the largest number of jobs, with this ranging from 1,255 (low scenario, Type I) to 4,250 (high scenario, Type II). Many of these jobs are associated with construction so may be more temporary in nature than operational jobs (although construction in the North East is projected to last for 12 years). This is the maximum number of jobs that would be created in any one year. Overall economic impacts will depend on access to jobs, through training for example, and whether the jobs are short or long-term and are skilled or unskilled. These could affect who is impacted (local versus relocated) as well as the duration of the positive economic effects. There may also be some negative impacts on other industries, if employees leave those sectors to take up employment in the wind industry.

Table 32 Maximum employment impacts in any one year by region and nationally (Type I and Type II) (FTEs)

Scenario impacts East North East North West South West National
Low, Direct 247 938 296 41 31 696
Low, Type I 282 1,255 373 51 38 864
Low, Type II 444 1,684 521 71 53 1,229
Medium, Direct 832 1,588 593 82 147 1,075
Medium, Type I 1,020 2,066 745 103 180 1,357
Medium, Type II 1,468 2,834 1,042 143 256 1,911
High, Direct 1,044 2,382 639 463 245 2,151
High, Type I 1,262 3,099 798 568 300 2,714
High, Type II 1,849 4,250 1,126 808 426 3,821

4.6 Social Impacts on Individuals, Communities and Society

4.6.1 The social impact assessment identifies the positive and negative impacts across 15 different clusters. The combined impacts are assessed by considering what the overall impacts might be across all clusters. In undertaking this combined impact assessment, there is an implied equal weighting of all clusters. Clusters are aggregated for the individual, community and wider political and environmental context impacts.

4.6.2 Overall the combined social impacts are expected to be slightly significant nationally and in the East and North East, and not very significant for the North, West and South West.

4.6.3 Positive community impacts range from negligible (+) to moderate (+ + +). Again, there is a regional split with communities in the North, West and South West generally seeing negligible to minor positive effects. The largest positive impacts are seen in the East and North East in terms of local industries, community sustainability and education. An influx of new people to take up jobs in the North East could also help support services such as shops, again helping to improve community sustainability. Overall, impacts in the North East and to some extent the East and nationally will see expansion of some services helping to positively affect local communities. Overall, the impacts are expected to be not very significant in the North, West and South West and slightly significant in the East and North East. The impacts may be affected by the transition from construction to operational phase if there is a significant reduction in number of workers.

4.6.4 Negative community impacts range from negligible (-) to moderate (- - -). Moderate negative impacts occur in the North East due to potential impacts on ferry services and possible congestion due to large numbers of people moving into the area to take up jobs. The peak number of jobs are associated with construction so these may be more temporary in nature (than operational jobs) and so may result in additional social problems through increases in demands for housing and services. Expansion of such services may positively impact on the community where jobs have a reasonable duration. Although most negative impacts in the North, West and South West are minor (i.e. noticed by the community but accepted by the majority), there may be some local unease over changes to landscapes and seascapes, and perceived impacts on recreational opportunities that may have some distributional effects on specific groups within local communities. Nationally, the overall negative impacts are expected to be negligible (-) to minor (- -). Overall, the impacts are expected to be slightly significant in the North East and not very significant in the East, North, West, South West and nationally. Some groups within the North, West and South West who are particularly sensitive to changes in seascapes or who are involved in recreational boating that may be displaced may see slightly significant impacts.

4.6.5 Taking the wider political and environmental context, there is significant potential for positive impacts associated with uptake of renewable energy and concerns about climate change and the environment on a more national and international scale. The impacts are projected to be minor (+ +) to major (+ + + +), with overall impacts nationally rated as moderate (+ + +). Impacts vary across the regions depending on the scale of development, from minor in West and South West, to major in the North East. Other factors may also affect the actual social impacts, including cross-regional concerns that may enable those in regions other than North East to also be impacted positively to a greater extent due to the knowledge that Scotland is taking a leading role in renewable energy. Overall impacts for those with a specific interest or concern for the environment, such as members of environmental organisations, may be significant. For the majority of the population the impacts may be slightly significant. Impacts on local decision-making may depend on how the projects are managed, including the extent to which engagement and consultation help to empower local communities. This could, if managed well, lead to knock-on impacts for wider engagement with local politics.

4.6.6 Negative impacts in the wider political and environmental context range from no impacts to minor (- -). Impacts at the landscape scale are considered in detail at the community cluster level, with no significant effects expected at the wider scale due to the actual area of sea that would be developed as a proportion of total sea area. In addition, mitigation measures will be required to minimise impacts on wildlife. Impacts on political decision-making may be linked to the extent to which concerns about proposed developments are seen to influence which areas are taken forwards, especially in relation to impacts on commercial fishing which are expected to be the most significant. Overall impacts are expected to be not very significant, nationally and regionally.

4.6.7 Consideration has also been given to specific groups, communities and locations that may be affected from supply chain development and that may incur impacts due to effects on other sectors and social impacts. Ports seeing potential positive impacts from development in each region have been identified, as have ports, harbours and marinas that may be negatively impacted by changes to fish landings, commercial shipping routes, tourism, recreational boating, sea angling and water sports. It is important to assess the impacts against the critical mass for service provision. Similarly, the impacts on smaller and micro-enterprises may be larger in specific sectors, such as fishing and small tourism services providers, with impacts on specific groups and communities at specific location. These are described in turn.

4.6.8 In the East, positive economic impacts are expected to be concentrated in ports such as Aberdeen, Dundee, Eyemouth, Grangemouth, Leith, Methil, Montrose and Rosyth[111]. Negative impacts on fishing[112] are expected to be concentrated in Aberdeen and Eyemouth, although neither is affected by more than 1% of total impacts. Therefore, although there may be loss of jobs associated with the fishing industry these could be replaced by wind farm jobs, e.g. in Aberdeen. The communities positively affected by economic impacts may also see some negative impacts from increased demand for services as people move into the area to take up new jobs. However, most of these locations are already reasonably sized and may be better able to cope with additional people than in other regions. As a result, overall positive impacts on these ports may be slightly significant and negative impacts are likely to be not very significant.

4.6.9 In the North East, positive economic impacts are expected to be concentrated in ports such as Buckie, Cromarty Firth, Fraserburgh, Inverness, Kirkwall and Hatston, Macduff, Nigg and Wick. Negative impacts on fishing are expected to be concentrated in Buckie, Fraserburgh, Kirkwall, Lerwick, and Peterhead. However, those ports that may see a small loss of fishing jobs are also most likely to see additional wind farm jobs. The North East also sees the largest number of jobs likely to be taken up by people relocating to the region (permanently or temporarily) which may result in increased pressure on housing, education services, and healthcare services. Overall positive impacts are expected to be slightly significant while overall negative impacts are expected to be significant in those locations since pressures on housing and services may disproportionately affect more vulnerable groups.

4.6.10 In the North, positive economic impacts are expected to be concentrated in ports such as Kishorn, Lerwick, Lyness, Scrabster, Stornoway and Sullom Voe. Impacts on fishing in the North in terms of home ports may be seen at Kinlochbervie, Scrabster, Stornoway and Ullapool; impacts on landings also affect these ports plus Stromness. Some of these ports may be positively affected by wind farm jobs, but not all. The number of people moving into the North region to take up wind farm jobs is not expected to be significantly high (up to 1,739 people under the high scenario) such that social impacts on services and housing may be limited. As a result, overall positive impacts for these ports may be slightly significant and negative impacts are likely to be slightly significant since any effects on housing or services are likely to disproportionately affect vulnerable groups within what are reasonably small communities.

4.6.11 In the West, positive economic impacts are expected to be concentrated in ports such as Ardrishaig, Ardrossan, Campbeltown, Corpach, Fairlie, Greenock, Hunterston and Oban. Impacts on fish landings are small at home ports except in Oban, but reductions in landings at ports such as Islay, Fionnphort and Port Ellen could be noticeable. These ports are also less likely to be positively affected by wind farm development. Communities on Islay and Jura may be the most likely to be affected by impacts on seascapes but they may not be positively impacted from people moving into the area to bring additional support to services, or conversely, to put additional demand onto services. Ports like Oban may see the largest increase in population (permanently or temporarily) and may also be impacted by changes in recreational boating demand if these activities are displaced. As a result, overall positive impacts are expected to be slightly significant with overall negative impacts being slightly significant, which specific effects on some local communities.

4.6.12 In the South West, positive economic impacts are expected to be concentrated in Ayr. Impacts on fish landings are also expected to be greatest at Ayr, although the overall effects in terms of loss of jobs is low (0.5 FTE low scenario, Type I to 2.2 FTE high scenario, Type II). People moving into the area to take up jobs are also likely to migrate in and around Ayr with potential impacts due to increased demand for housing and other services, but also potential positive effects from the increased population helping to support local shops. Negative impacts from changes to seascapes or displacement of tourism and recreational activities may be seen along the southern coast of Dumfries and Galloway, so these communities may feel that they incur many of the negative impacts without experiencing any direct economic positive effects from the level of spend. Overall positive impacts are expected to the slightly significant while overall negative impacts are expected to be slightly significant. Some specific groups associated with recreational boating or having specific concerns about seascapes may be significantly affected, but these groups should be reasonably small in number

4.7 Plan and Project Level Mitigation

4.7.1 Within each of the three assessment documents (SEA, SEIA and HRA), potential plan and project level mitigations are identified to reduce the environmental or economic effects arising under the plan.

SEA

Project level mitigation

4.7.2 At an individual project level an EIA may be required as part of the licensing and consenting process. This should identify specific mitigation (or potential enhancements) to reduce adverse effects or maximise positive effects based on the local environment and project characteristics. The SEA assessment identifies potential mitigation measures, including:

  • Appropriate consultation with national and local statutory and public stakeholders;
  • Spatial planning within the DPO areas to avoid areas of higher environmental risk;
  • Surveys to develop comprehensive baselines for marine mammals in relevant regions, to inform assessment of potential risk and any project level mitigation required;
  • Application of measures to mitigate the risk of physiological damage from noise from piling activities, including consideration of sequential or concurrent piling depending on the individual site characteristics;
  • Implementation of noise abatement measures at source to reduce the input of anthropogenic noise into the environment;
  • Seasonal restrictions on specific construction activities, depending on particular sensitivities of species at a project level;
  • Developing a robust baseline and subsequent post construction monitoring for bird species present within or transiting through the development footprint, including potential surveys, tagging and radar studies;
  • Development of pollution management plans, to mitigate the effects of any pollution releases;
  • Development of biosecurity management plans to minimise the risk of introduction of INNS;
  • Survey of potential cable pathways and landfall areas to determine route of least environmental effect, including habitat and ecological surveys and Cultural heritage surveys;
  • Sediment testing and water quality monitoring to manage potential effects on water quality;
  • Development of a navigational risk assessment;
  • Coastal process assessments to confirm and validate effects on sediment dispersion and transport, wave and current regimes;
  • Management of cultural heritage through the development and application of a MARP and consideration of impacts on the setting of historical assets within project level assessment;
  • Assessment and management of night-time lighting effects through the application of SNH guidance[113];
  • Development of, and adherence to Vessel Management Plans;
  • Cable burial or, where this is not possible, suitable cable protection measures to minimise safety risk to fishing vessels; and
  • Project specific array or turbine design.

Plan level mitigation

4.7.3 Primarily, it is recognised that the process for the development of the DPOs assessed within this SEA represents an embedded mitigation measure, to exclude areas of higher constraint. Within each individual DPO and within the overarching plan assessment, mitigation is focused on the use of spatial planning to avoid areas of higher effect. At a plan level, there are a number of measures which can be implemented to either reduce the effect associated with development under the plan or offset any significant effects. Proposed plan level mitigations identified through the SEA process are summarised below:

  • Limiting the scale of development under the plan to a maximum of 10 GW nationally;
  • Limiting the total scale of operational development within each DPO to the maximum realistic development scenario set out in the SEA;
  • Requiring spatial planning of DPOs to reduce, so far as is reasonably practicable, effects on environmental receptors;
  • Classification of DPOs NE2, NE3, NE4, NE5, NE6 and E3 as being subject to 'high levels of ornithological constraint' and the requirement that further scientific evidence demonstrating that there will be no adverse effect on site integrity of any European marine site or European site be made available before consent/licences can be granted for development at these DPOs;
  • Iterative Plan Review /adaptive management of the sectoral plan, in order to allow for changes in the evidence base and outcomes of research or monitoring programmes;
  • Project level EIA, the development of which will identify areas of concern with regard to specific projects, and identify mitigation required at a project level;
  • Collaboration between governmental bodies, non-governmental Organisations and industry on research issues to determine a consistent and comprehensive evidence baseline;
  • Requiring appropriate temporal planning so that appropriate consideration is given to the desirability of developing sites within the same region at the same time in order to effectively manage the potential for cumulative effects associated with construction activities;
  • Potential for consideration of environmental enhancement schemes at a plan level. A strategic view of large scale or multi-stage potentially significant enhancements, supported by developers, may deliver more significant positive effects than the undertaking of multiple small discrete projects designed to offset any significant effects at individual development level. Such interventions might include predator control at (island) bird colonies, or measures to enhance abundance of prey stocks (e.g. sandeel, sprat, herring). However, the location and scale of development under the plan is currently considered to be too uncertain to be able to meaningfully define such enhancement measures.

HRA

4.7.4 Given the inherent uncertainties associated with the Draft Plan (see above), plan-level mitigation measures are required to ensure there is no AEOI. Two mitigation measures were initially identified as integral to the Draft Plan:

  • The legal requirement for individual projects to undergo HRA. All future developments that are undertaken as part of the individual Sectoral Offshore Wind Plan will be required to undergo an HRA and, wherever the possibility of a LSE on a European/Ramsar site cannot be excluded, a project-level AA will need to be completed.
  • The implementation of the Plan hrough an iterative management process. In the future, the project-level assessments and the associated monitoring review work will be linked to (and will inform) regular reviews of the Plan as part of an (IPR) process.

4.7.5 In addition, the HRA identifies that there is significant uncertainty as to the potential effects on seabird species on the east coast (incorporating the North East and East regions), and therefore the potential for Likely Significant Effects (LSE) arising from development within foraging ranges of key species cannot be discounted. As a result the HRA identifies that DPOs NE2 to NE6 and E3 should be classified as being 'subject to higher levels of ornithological constraint'. It is proposed, therefore, that development will only be able to progress at DPOs E3 and NE2-6 where sufficient scientific evidence can be provided to reduce the risk to an acceptable level (unless it can be determined that there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest that require development to proceed).

4.7.6 The HRA report advises that, for respect of DPOs E1 and E2, it cannot currently be concluded with certainty that the cumulative impacts of development on key seabird species would not have an adverse effect on site integrity. This is due to;

  • Uncertainty regarding the potential scale of cumulative impacts in this region on seabird species (resulting from collision, displacement and barrier effects); and
  • A lack of information regarding seabird densities and behaviours in the offshore region during the non-breeding season.

4.7.7 Further regional-level survey work and assessment is therefore required in order to identify and assess the potential impacts of construction, operational and decommissioning activities in DPOs E1 and E2. This regional survey work should cover the region(s) which will be likely impacted by the development and should not solely be limited to the DPO area or the offshore region in which the DPO is located.

4.7.8 Such regional level survey and assessment work may incorporate elements such as strategic studies (to identify foraging areas for key seabird species, SPA populations and at-sea densities), aerial surveys or seabird tagging work at key colonies. It is expected that developers will discuss the parameters of this work with the members of the Advisory Group before proceeding.

4.7.9 It is important to confirm that the plan-level HRA will not be a substitute for project-level HRAs, where these are required for individual projects. Such project-level HRA processes will still be required in accordance with the legislation. Accordingly, the requirement for a project-level AA, wherever there is possibility of a LSE, is an important mitigation measure for the plan-level HRA to ensure there is no adverse effect on integrity of designated sites once there is the required level of certainty about development location(s) and design.

4.7.10 For individual windfarm projects a range of mitigation measures are applied to help reduce or offset ecological effects where needed. The HRA compiles an overall list of project mitigation measures and provides a central 'project-level mitigation options' data table in Appendix J of the HRA.

SEIA

4.7.11 Under the SEIA potential mitigation measures that may require consideration at a project level are identified. It is identified that the distribution of activity under all sectors is not equal between or within DPOs, therefore the application of spatial planning at national, regional and DPO level has the potential to mitigate potential socio-economic impacts such as those to the commercial fishing sector. Specific examples include the application of guidance on spatial planning of windfarms to avoid key shipping routes, (MGN 543). Environmentally sensitive project design, including turbine tower height, array layout and foundation design will also be important in reducing and minimising potential socio-economic impacts. In addition, the SEIA identifies potential mitigation requirements to reduce the impacts on aviation receptors (radar mitigation measures), and identifies the requirement for sector specific consultations at a project level.


Contact

Email: drew.milne@gov.scot