Publication - Progress report

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

Published: 25 Jul 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781782567509

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

Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scottish Waters: Socio - Economic Assesment
C15. Water Sports (Sea Angling, Surfing and Windsurfing, Sea Kayaking, Scuba Diving and Small Boat Activities)

C15. Water Sports (Sea Angling, Surfing and Windsurfing, Sea Kayaking, Scuba Diving and Small Boat Activities)

C15.1 Scoping Results

The results of the scoping assessment are presented in Table C15.1 (Offshore Wind), Table C15.2 (Wave) and Table C15.3 (Tidal) and indicate whether more detailed assessment is required (Y/N).

Table C15.1 Offshore Wind

North North-East South-West West North-West
OWN1 OWN2 OWNE1 OWNE2 OWSW1 OWSW2 OWW1 OWW2 OWW3 OWNW1
Impacts to seascape / setting Surfing and Windsurfing Y N N N N N N N N N
Sea kayaking N N N N N N N N N N
Small sail boat activities N N N N N N N N N N
Sea angling N N N N N N N N N N
Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sport activity Sea kayaking N N N N N N N N N N
Small sail boat activities N N N N N N N N N N
Scuba diving Y N N Y N N N N N N
Sea angling Y Y N N N N N N N N
Spatial overlap between cable routes and water sports activity Surfing and Windsurfing Y Y Y Y N N N N Y Y
Scuba diving Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Sea angling N N N N N N N N N N

Table C15.2 Wave

North West North-West
WN1 WN2 WN3 WW1 WW2 WW3 WNW1 WNW4
Impacts to seascape / setting Surfing and Windsurfing N N N N N N Y N
Sea kayaking N N N N N N N N
Small sail boat activities N N N N N N N N
Sea angling N N N N N N N N
Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sport activity Sea kayaking Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Small sail boat activities N N N N N N N N
Scuba diving N Y N N Y N Y N
Sea angling Y Y Y N N N N N
Spatial overlap between cable routes and water sports activity Surfing and Windsurfing Y Y Y N N N Y Y
Scuba diving Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Sea angling N N N N N N N N

Table C15.3 Tidal

North South-West West
TN1 TN2 TN3 TN4 TN5 TN6 TN7 TSW1 TW1 TW2
Impacts to seascape / setting Surfing and Windsurfing N N N N N N N N N N
Sea kayaking N N N N N Y N N N N
Small sail boat activities N N N N N N N N N N
Sea angling N N N N N N N N N N
Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sport activity Sea kayaking Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Small sail boat activities N N N N N N N N N N
Scuba diving N N Y N N N N Y N N
Sea angling Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N
Spatial overlap between cable routes and water sports activity Surfing and Windsurfing Y Y Y Y Y N N N N Y
Scuba diving Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Sea angling N N N N N N N N N N

C15.2 Assessment Results - Estimation of Costs and Benefits

C15.2.1 Surfing and Windsurfing

The impact of renewable energy developments on surfing wave resources is considered the primary issue of concern for surfers (through potential changes to the wave climate i.e. wave height, period and direction). As discussed in Section B15.2, given the current uncertainty surrounding the scale of impacts associated with future renewable developments the issue has not been considered further in this study. However, the issue should be considered in detail at project level based on the output of wave modelling studies and in consultation with relevant stakeholders as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment ( EIA) scoping and consultation process.

C15.2.1.1 Impacts to seascape / setting

A number of Draft Plan Option areas were identified in which impacts to seascape / setting could occur at surfing sites. Given the large distance offshore of Wind Draft Plan Option areas (most are more than 10km and the small height of many wave and tidal devices above sea level (often less than 10m), these structures are expected to only cause a minimal obstruction of the horizon for surfing and windsurfing participants. In addition, for many surfers wave quality will primarily drive use of the wave resource and often supersedes any other factor such as landscape, seascape or water quality (William Watson, Scottish Surfing Associations pers comm; SAS, 2009). The economic and social impacts associated with changes to seascape are therefore expected to be negligible.

C15.2.1.2 Spatial overlap between cable routes and water sports activity

The scoping phase also highlighted a number of sites in which spatial overlap between cable routes and surfing/windsurfing sites occurs. This kind of interaction could cause a restriction in access at surf spots that may be implemented for any duration throughout the installation period at the cable landfall site. In addition, any alteration of the seabed due to sediment transportation at a cable landfall site could have the potential to alter the wave regime.

SAS (2010) note that when 'valuing' the worth of a wave, the number of surfers that would be affected if the wave was destroyed or degraded needs to be considered. In general, the value of a wave increases as a function of the number of people that surf it, where a wave is probably worth more if it is in accessible part of the UK with a regular surfing population nearby compared to if it is in a less accessible area. However, many surfers are willing to travel large distances to undertake surfing at good quality spots (Lazorow, 2009). Therefore, high quality waves located in remote areas could bring economic benefits to a rural area through travel, accommodation and subsidence expenditure of visiting surfers.

The assessment has primarily been based on surfing data as limited windsurfing information was available from both the baseline and through further consultation. However, many popular surfing locations are also popular windsurfing destinations. Based on the information in Table C15.4 it is apparent that that most of the surfing sites identified in the scoping phase are only used by a small number of local and visiting surfers. However, Fraserburgh and the Isle of Lewis typically have a larger number of surfers which may be impacted. While these sites support some local business (particularly in the summer tourism months and when competitions are held), the overall economic contribution of surfing to these areas is very small. However, it is worth noting that many of these sites are still considered an important recreational resource for local surfers bringing social and health benefits to people living in remote areas (Andy Cummins, SAS pers. comm). Scottish Wave Riders Association considers the social benefits surrounding Scottish surfing would far outweigh its actual economic worth. For example, some Scottish surfers have chosen a lifestyle of lesser financial reward so they can benefit from a surf lifestyle. The sport has also offered a degree of stability and focus for many youths in the coastal towns of Scotland (such as Fraserburgh) which have struggled with drug and other social problems (William Watson, Scottish Surfing Associations pers comm.)

Table 15.4 Surfing sites overlapping with Draft Plan Option areas cable corridors

Draft Plan Option Areas Cable Corridor

Surfing Spots Which Potentially Overlap with Proposed Landfall of the Draft Plan Option Areas Cable Corridor

Overview of Surfing Activity in the Area

OWN1

Surf spots located in East Caithness around Dunnet Bay and Dunnet Head including Point of Ness and Murkle Point

Some of the UK's best surfing breaks are situated along the North coast of Scotland such as Thurso (which is considered world class and holds major international competitions). An estimated 40 local surfers regularly use the Caithness North Coast for surfing with a larger number of visiting and tourist surfers. The area has one surf shop and a dedicated surf school. However, the proposed cable corridor overlaps with spots which are generally rarely surfed due to being very remote and only suitable for experienced surfers (such as Murkle Point and Castehill). Dunnet Bay is however considered a good spot for beginners and is regularly used by the nearby local surf shop for lessons.

OWN2

Sites around east coast of Shetland and Bu Sands, Orkney

Orkney and Shetland have a small but dedicated number of local surfers (approximately 30 regular surfers) with occasional visiting and tourist surfers. No surf shops or surf schools are currently located on the Islands.

OWNE1, OWNE2

Sites from Cruden Bay to Pennan including Fraserburgh and Peterhead

The area has one of the most well established surfing communities within Scotland. Approximately 50 regular local surfers are found in Peterhead and Fraserburgh area with around 100 local surfers at nearby Aberdeen which could travel to use these breaks further North.

Fraserburgh is one of the few towns within Scotland where a consistent surfing beach is within short walking distance of the local schools. The area has an informal surf club known as The Broch Surf Club.' The setting and strength of the surf community pushed the standard of the sport with the area becoming known as the epi-centre of surfing performance for Scotland. Fraserburgh, regularly holds surf competitions and events such as the UK Surf Tour and Fraserburgh Surf Festival. A survey conducted by Event Scotland predicted the Fraserburgh Surf Festival competition would generate a £100,000 windfall for the town, with surfers and visitors making use of local hotels and restaurants**.

OWNW1

Sites located between Durness and Oldshoremore in North East of Sutherland

Remote area with a small number of regular local surfers in this area (less than 10) and occasional visiting surfers. No shops or surf schools.

WN1

Sites located between Strathy and the Kyle of Tongue, North Scotland

Remote area with a small number of regular local surfers in this area (less than 10) and occasional visiting surfers. No shops or surf schools.

WN2

Dunnet Bay, Castlehill to Murkle, Point of Ness, Murkle Point

Some of the UK's best surfing breaks are situated along the North coast of Scotland such as Thurso (which is considered world class and holds major international competitions). An estimated 40 local surfers regularly use the Caithness North Coast for surfing with a larger number of visiting and tourist surfers. The area has one surf shop and a dedicated surf school. However, the proposed cable corridor overlaps with spots which are generally rarely surfed due to being very remote and only suitable for experienced surfers (such as Murkle Point and Castehill). Dunnet Bay is however considered a good spot for beginners and is regularly used by the nearby local surf shop for lessons.

WN3

Sites around south coast of Shetland and Bu Sands, Orkney

Orkney and Shetland have a small but dedicated number of local surfers (approximately 30 regular surfers) with occasional visiting and tourist surfers. No surf shops or surf schools are currently located on the Islands.

WNW1:

Isle of Lewis including Mangersta Eoropie

There are a small number of surfers scattered across the Western Isles (approximately 25 local regular surfers) with the majority residing on the Isle of Lewis. Although access from the mainland is restricted via ferry, the Outer Hebrides have hosted international surf events in recent years such as the International Hebridean Surf Festival in 2001. One surf school is located on the Isle of Lewis and the Island receives some surf tourism over the summer months. The islands are also home to the 'Outer Hebrides Surf Association'.

TN1- TN5

Surf spots located in East Caithness around Dunnet Bay and Dunnet Head along with from Skirza to Sinclair's Bay.

Some of the UK's best surfing breaks are situated along the North coast of Scotland such as Thurso (which is considered world class and holds major international competitions). An estimated 40 local surfers regularly use the Caithness North Coast for surfing with a larger number of visiting and tourist surfers. The area has one surf shop and a dedicated surf school. However, the proposed cable corridor overlaps with spots which are generally rarely surfed due to being very remote and only suitable for experienced surfers (such as Murkle Point and Castehill). Dunnet Bay is however considered a good spot for beginners and is regularly used by the nearby local surf shop for lessons.

* Based on information from The Scottish Surfing Federation, 2013; SAS, 2009, www.magicseaweed.com and www.surf-forecast.com

** Source: The Press and Journal Website : http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1927287

Currently there is still uncertainty surrounding the precise routes which cables will be laid within the indicative corridors. Therefore, while surfing and windsurfing sites have been identified, overlap may not necessarily occur with these sites. While a restriction in access at a beach or reef during cable installation could prevent access for surfers or windsurfers, any restriction is likely to be temporary. It has also been assumed in areas where there is a risk of cables becoming exposed (such as at surfing beaches) developers will use Horizontal Directional Drilling ( HDD) at a depth suitable to avoid cable exposure [30] . This will reduce disturbance on the beach area and make any impact on coastal sediment processors (which might cause a change in wave quality) unlikely.

Given that predicted impacts are expected to be minor, the economic and social cost of a restriction in access or changes in wave quality due to cables is therefore likely to be negligible.

C15.2.2 Scuba Diving

The most popular locations for scuba diving around Scotland such as Scapa Flow (Orkney), the Voluntary Marine Reserve of St Abbs and Eyemouth off the Berwickshire coastline, Skye and Mull do not overlap with any Draft Plan Option areas or cable corridors. The majority of sites located on the East coast also do not overlap with any Draft Plan Option areas or cable corridors.

C15.2.2.1 Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sport activity

A small number of dive sites were identified as overlapping with a Draft Plan Option area. However, almost all these sites were wrecks (with the exception of one site in WN2 and also in OWN2). Turbines are unlikely to be placed on or in proximity to wrecks due to potential turbine damage or boat navigation risk. No overlap with these wreck sites is therefore anticipated. Given the remoteness of the dive sites in WN2 and OWN2 they are unlikely to be dived regularly by a large number of divers.

Based on these factors it is only anticipated that a very low number of scuba divers will be displaced due to overlap with a Draft Plan Option area and so economic and social impacts are expected to negligible.

C15.2.2.2 Spatial overlap between cable routes and water sports activity

Overlap between all the proposed Draft Plan Option areas cable corridors and one or more diving sites was identified during the scoping phase. Currently there is still uncertainty surrounding the precise routes which cables will be laid within the indicative corridors. Therefore, while scuba diving sites have been identified, overlap may not necessarily occur with these sites. In addition given that dive sites only cover small, discrete areas the chance of a large degree of overlap occurring between cable routes and dive sites id unlikely. In addition, many of the sites identified were also wreck sites. Wrecks require a 50m buffer around which cables cannot be laid (more if the wreck is protected) to reduce the risk of cable damage. Therefore, no overlap between cable routes and wreck sites will occur.

Based on these factors it is unlikely that scuba divers will be displaced due to overlap with a Draft Plan Option area and so economic and social impacts are expected to negligible.

C15.2.3 Sea Kayaking

C15.2.3.1 Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sport activity

Based on the scoping criteria, all tidal Draft Plan Option areas and several wave Draft Plan Option areas ( WN1 WN3, WW3 and WNW1) were identified in which overlap with sea kayaking is possible.

None of the Draft Plan Option areas identified were listed the top ten most popular kayaking identified by Canoe Scotland which includes the Inner Hebrides and nearby West Scotland coast (such as Skye and Knoydart), the Clyde and the Firth of Forth [31] . The majority of kayaking shops are also located in these areas.

In addition, kayaks are highly manoeuvrable and can successfully be navigated through very small spaces such as sea caves and small rock channels. Therefore, wave and tidal devices are unlikely to physically displace sea kayaking. Rotating tidal blades that could cause a collision with a kayak or capsized person are considered to be too deep to pose a threat. Moving parts on the surface are likely to be covered and not expected to cause damage. The exposed nature of wave sites and strong currents associated with tidal sites also prevents inexperienced kayakers from utilising these areas.

Based on these factors it is unlikely that sea kayakers will be displaced due to overlap with a Draft Plan Option area and so economic and social impacts are expected to negligible.

C15.2.4 Sea Angling

C15.2.4.1 Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sport activity

The only SORER for which a potential impact on sea angling was scoped in (based on a combined area of wind, wave and tidal development representing more than 1% of a SORER region), was the North SORER under a high scenario [32] .

Boat based sea angling was estimated to be worth about £9.7million (approximately £1000 per km 2) in the North SORER Region in 2009 (Radford et al. 2009; ABPmer, 2012). Total combined development is predicted at representing about 1.3% of the North SORER Region (121 km 2) based on the high scenario. Assuming it was not possible to fish within arrays developed with Draft Plan Option areas, a worse case loss in sea angler expenditure for the entire region is estimated to be £140,000 (at 2012 prices) (Table C15.5).

Table C15.5 Cost impacts to angling in the North SORER

Draft Plan Option Areas 2009 2012
OWN1 61,956 70,364
WN1 2,736 3,107
WN2 5,594 6,353
WN3 5,387 6,118
TN1 21,917 24,891
TN2 4,019 4,564
TN3 3,015 3,424
TN4 8,508 9,663
TN5 3,007 3,415
TN6 2,471 2,806
TN7 2,793 3,172
Total 121,403 137,877

In other SORER areas in which combined development under the high scenario were <1%, the predicted loss in sea angler expenditure was calculated as being much less for each region (under £1000).

For wave and tidal scenarios only a very small proportion of each Draft Plan Option areas will need to be developed to achieve the desired installed capacity even under the high scenario (1% and 5.1% respectively). For offshore wind the value is slightly higher (between 4.8% and 26.5%). However, most wind Draft Plan Option areas are located further offshore than 6nm with the majority of recreational angling occurring further inshore. It is therefore considered possible to avoid the most sensitive angling areas with appropriate spatial planning, even under the high scenarios.

For turbine foundations attached to the seabed (as used in all wind turbines and some wave/tidal turbines), it is possible that these structures could also provide positive impacts for Sea Angling. By acting as an artificial reef, additional food, shelter and nursery benefits for angling target species could be provided. Arrays will also be enclosed within enforced fisheries exclusion zones for both safety and protection and therefore may also act as de facto marine protected areas ( MPA) to most fisheries. Installations could therefore improve angling opportunities away from an array through beneficial 'spillover effects' such as increased fish abundance (Inger et al. 2009)

C15.2.5 Summary

The impact of renewable energy developments on surfing wave resources is considered the primary issue of concern for surfers (through potential changes to the wave climate). However, given the current uncertainty surrounding the scale of impacts associated with future renewable developments the issue is best considered in detail at project level based on the output of wave modelling studies and in consultation with relevant stakeholders as part of the EIA process.

Concerns have also been raised relating to the impact of EMF (electromagnetic fields) arising from cables on elasmobranch species, and in particular, whether EMF may alter the foraging behaviour and migration patterns of elasmobranch species and the subsequent impact on sea angling activity and economic input into local economies. However, the magnitude of environmental impacts of EMF is still uncertain. This issue should therefore be considered in detail as part of the EIA process for specific developments based on the findings of future research.

Predicted impacts to water sports from other interactions are generally expected to be minor with economic impacts negligible under all scenarios. However, direct spatial overlap between boat based angling and Draft Plan Option areas in the North SORER under the high scenario could cause a loss in sea angler expenditure (estimated at approximately £140,000 pro rata for 2012 for the entire region).

C15.3 References

ABPmer, 2003. Scarweather Sands Offshore Wind Farm: Further Investigation of Coastal Process Issues Raised by Countryside Council for Wales. Report for Hyder Consulting (for United Utilities Scarweather Sands Ltd). Report No. R.1029. May 2003.

ABPmer, 2012. Socio-economic Baseline Reviews for Offshore Renewables in Scottish Waters. Volume 1: Main Text. Report R.1905

ASR Ltd, 2007. Review of Wave Hub technical studies: Impacts on inshore surfing beaches. ASR Ltd, April 2007.

Baxter, J.M., Boyd, I.L., Cox, M., Donald, A.E., Malcolm, S.J., Miles, H., Miller, B., Moffat, C.F., (Editors), 2011. Scotland's Marine Atlas: Information for the national marine plan. Marine Scotland, Edinburgh.

BMF, MCA, RYA and Lifeboats, 2009. Water sports and Leisure Participation Survey 2009. Available online: http://www.britishmarine.co.uk/upload_pub/WatersportsandLeisureOmnibus2009finalpublic.pdf

Cefas, 2005. Assessment of the significance of changes to the inshore wave regime as a consequence of an offshore wind array. Contract AE1227. Research project final report. September 2005.

Depledge, M.H and Bird, W.J. 2009. The Blue Gym: Health and wellbeing from our coasts, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 58, Issue 7, July 2009, Pages 947-948.

Gill, A.B. & Bartlett, M. 2010. Literature review on the potential effects of electromagnetic fields and subsea noise from marine renewable energy developments on Atlantic salmon, sea trout and European eel. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.401

Halcrow, 2006. Wave Hub. Environmental statement. June 2006.

Inger, R., Attrill, M.J., Bearhop, S., Broderick, A.C., Grecian, W.J., Hodgson, D.J., Mills, C., Sheehan, E., Votier, S.C., Witt, M.J. & Godley, B.J. 2009. Marine renewable energy: potential benefits to biodiversity? An urgent call for research J. Appl. Ecol. 46: 1145-1153.

Normandeau, Exponent, T. Tricas, and A. Gill. 2011. Effects of EMFs from Undersea Power Cables on Elasmobranchs and Other Marine Species. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, Pacific OCS Region, Camarillo, CA. OCS Study BOEMRE 2011-09.

PMSS, 2007. Wave Dragon pre-commercial wave energy device. Environmental statement.

Radford, A., Riddington, G. and Gibson, H., 2009. Economic Impact of Recreational Sea Angling in Scotland. Prepared for the Scottish Government. July 2009. ISBN: 978-0-7559-8130-4

Riddington, G., Harrison, T., McArthur, D., Gibson, H., Millar, K. 2008. The economic impacts of wind farms on Scottish tourism. A report for the Scottish Government. March 2008.

RPS, 2005. London Array offshore windfarm. Environmental statement. Volume 1. Offshore works. January 2005.

SAS, 2009. Guidance on environmental impact assessment of offshore renewable energy development on surfing resources and recreation.

Scott, K.E., Anderson, C., Dunsford, H., Benson, J.F., MacFarlane, R., 2005. An assessment of the sensitivity and capacity of the Scottish seascape in relation to offshore wind farms. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.103 (ROAME No. F03AA06).

SeaScape, 2002. Burbo Offshore Wind Farms.

Surfers Against Sewage ( SAS), 2010. The WAR Report: Waves Are Resources. Available online: http://www.sas.org.uk/news/2010/08/04/sas-release-the-war-report-waves-are-resources/

The Scottish Surfing Federation, 2013. Scottish Marine Recreational Resources: Assessment of the Sport of Surfing within Scottish Waters.


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