Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scottish Waters: Socio - Economic Assesment

The study reported here provides a high level socio-economic appraisal of the potential costs and benefits to activities that may arise as a result of offshore wind, wave or tidal development within the Draft Plan Options as part of possible future Scotti

Combined Assessment

The combined assessment has taken account of the impacts of potential offshore wind, wave and tidal development within Draft Plan Option areas both at regional and national level. The starting point for each assessment has been to sum the estimated impacts for offshore wind, wave and tidal development (as appropriate) and then to discuss the extent to which combined impacts may be more or less than the summed estimates.

Table S4 presents a summary of discounted costs for offshore wind, wave and tidal Draft Plan Option areas in all SORERs for those activities for which quantified cost estimates have been made.

Table S4. Discounted PV costs ( GVA for fisheries) in £millions for all technologies (numbers rounded to nearest £0.01m)

Activity Description of Measurement Scenarios
Low Central High
Carbon Capture and Storage Costs of additional cable crossings 1.85 4.32 9.27
Commercial Fisheries Loss of GVA associated with possible reduction in fish landings 1.37 3.26 6.99
Recreational boating Additional fuel costs 0.05 0.72 0.97
Shipping Additional fuel costs 4.87 66.02 141.87
Tourism Reduction in expenditure - 0.26 1.00
Water Sports - Sea Angling Reduction in expenditure - - 0.92
Total PV Costs 6.77 71.32 154.03
Total GVA Impacts (Commercial Fisheries) 1.37 3.26 6.99

While there are uncertainties surrounding the cost estimates for tourism, recreational boating and sea angling and not all potential impacts to these sectors have been quantified, the scale of impacts identified in this study does not suggest that there will be significant regional or national impacts associated with combined offshore wind, wave or tidal development within the Draft Plan Option areas. There is concern within the recreational boating sector that multiple developments along the east and west coasts of Scotland have the potential to deter recreational sailors travelling along these routes. This could affect expenditure in recreational boating supply chains in affected areas and could deter some future investments in marina capacity should the potential impacts be realised.

At a national level, the combined impact of the commercial fisheries sector in terms of impacts to annual GVA as a result of potential reductions in landings is estimated to be less than 1% of total annual GVA from the commercial fisheries sector and thus insignificant in a national context. At a regional scale, it is estimated that the greatest potential impacts will occur in the North Region. No significant impacts for the fish processing sector have been identified either regionally or nationally, given the relatively small scale of potential impact to fish landings. Impacts may also occur to the commercial fisheries sector as a result of disruption to steaming routes to fishing grounds as a result of the location of offshore renewables arrays but it has not been possible to quantify these impacts. It is possible that export cable routes may also affect fishing opportunities in some locations, but it has not been possible to quantify these impacts.

The combined cost impacts to shipping interests are potentially significant both in absolute terms (maximum annual cost impact of around £13.0m) and relative terms, although no specific figure is available for the value of shipping to the Scottish economy. For the tidal and wave sites, spatial planning should largely avoid significant impacts on commercial shipping and ferry routes, however reduced sea area availability for navigation will increase the density of traffic in other areas. This will have an increase in the potential encounter rate, and therefore an increase in marine risk. Given that many commercial vessels may be on passage around the coast of Scotland, there is potential for combined impact from multiple Draft Plan Option areas to be more significant than the sum of the impacts for individual technologies/Regions.

A number of potential impacts have been identified for competing offshore renewables technologies, both in relation to competition for space and cable land falls. The combined impact of these interactions is uncertain. It is possible that more commercially viable technologies such as offshore wind could out-compete wave and tidal developments and reduce opportunities for these technologies, although offshore renewables developers will be encouraged to co-operate on issues such as cable landfall.

The social impacts are not expected to be noticeable at the national level. The potential impacts on employment, access to services, health, culture and heritage and the environment could be locally noticeable, with the largest impacts likely to be associated with commercial fisheries, and on marinas if boat users choose to visit other areas of the coast or move their boats to marinas away from the search areas. In most cases, these impacts are also expected to be small and very localised and relate mainly to the knock-on effects of changes to jobs (either number or quality of employment). There are no significant impacts expected in terms of access to services, crime or education. Impacts on culture and heritage, environment and health are limited to loss of traditional fishing grounds, emissions to the environment (most of which will be offshore) and worry associated with increased costs or increased navigation risks.


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