Publication - Progress report

Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scottish Waters - Sustainability Appraisal

Published: 25 Jul 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781782567622

This report provides the Sustainability Apraisal of Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scottish Waters Consultation Draft

4 Sustainability Appraisal: The Plan for Wave Energy

4.1 Introduction

4.1.1 The following section provides a summary of the results of the technical assessments for the draft wave energy plan. The SEA and HRA provide technical detail on the potential for effects environment and human health. The socio-economic assessment provides the potential social and economic consequences of effects on existing marine activities. Supporting technical assessment documents provide the detail of how conclusions have been made. The following sections provide a high level summary of these.

4.2 Environment

4.2.1 There are a range of potential interactions with the environment from the installation of wave devices in the marine environment. However, there is a degree of uncertainty regarding the precise level of effect in many cases. This is in part due to the often complex interactions in the marine environment, such as between the design of devices and mobile species, or the potential changes to marine hydrodynamics and patterns of sedimentation with costal processes. Gaps in the understanding of these effects are being filled through research and the assessment and monitoring of demonstrator projects and initial commercial scale projects.

4.2.2 The following sections highlight some of the potential effects and environmental risks associated with wave devices. This is followed by a regional summary of the headline risks from the Draft Plan Options. The level of risk to environmental features is based on the potential effects of the technology and the sensitivity of the receiving environment.

Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna

4.2.3 There is potential for effects on marine fauna and fauna as a result of development of wave energy as detailed below. Some effects could also be exacerbated, as a result of bird aggregation utilising above water elements of some devices, if located in foraging waters. Furthermore, the significance of effects is yet to be fully established for technologies that are still under development and for which limited commercial deployment and monitoring information is available.

4.2.4 Potential collision and entanglement with devices could result in injury and mortality to marine fauna, particularly where devices have moving parts and multiple mooring lines. However, this will be largely dependent on the size, location and design of the device, and the response of the marine fauna involved. Avoidance of devices is a likely response for many species, in particular some species of fish, but if collision were to occur, impacts could be fatal in some instances, especially with larger species such as seals, cetaceans, and elasmobranchs. Whilst there is potential for collision risk for diving birds with wave devices with below surface components, it is considered to be of lower significance for those devices that are placed on the water surface. The ongoing HRA has looked at physical damage to species including Bottlenose dolphins and Harbour porpoise, Grey and Harbour seals, Atlantic salmon, Lamprey, Shad, seabirds and diving birds. The appraisal indicates further work at the project level will be required.

4.2.5 Noise and vibration during construction and operation could also lead to disturbance and displacement in marine fauna. Research demonstrates that there is a significant amount of uncertainty regarding the level of disturbance likely to occur to all species as effects will be site-specific, and will depend on the noise levels generated by the devices. Displacement can also result from the placement of devices in areas used by species for foraging activities, courtship behaviour and breeding sites. The HRA considers noise and vibration effects for species including Bottlenose dolphins, Harbour porpoise, Grey and Harbour seals, Atlantic salmon, Lamprey and Shad. It is considered that in some cases construction outside of breeding or migratory seasons might minimise effects.

4.2.6 Potential impacts on the behaviour of seals and otters can be particularly associated with near shore devices. Where devices are placed near to shoreline habitats they might restrict movements for birds to migratory routes or foraging areas. Cetaceans and elasmobranchs might be particularly affected by offshore devices as can the foraging grounds of some bird species. Barriers to movement and effects on species including Bottlenose dolphins, Harbour porpoise, Grey and Harbour seals, Atlantic salmon, Lamprey and Shad are also considered within the ongoing HRA. Furthermore the HRA will consider visual disturbance to surface feeding and diving birds.

4.2.7 Species health could also be impacted by the effects of electromagnetic fields ( EMF) from cabling, in particular elasmobranchs and fish. Although research on effects is ongoing the indication is that the effects could be minimal. Again these types of effects are also considered within the HRA.

4.2.8 Some wave technologies have the potential for impacts arising from shock waves or pressure waves which occur when large waves hit the side of surface-piercing structures which have high profiles above the water surface. The magnitude of any impacts (to seals, cetaceans, otter and elasmobranchs) is not conclusively known.

4.2.9 There will be direct impacts to the seabed as a result of installation, which may vary between the types of device used ( e.g. floating devices or devices placed on the seabed in near shore locations) and the receiving habitat. The presence and type of mooring used for devices and the presence of structures on the seabed are the main impacts to benthic habitats. Impacts include loss of benthic habitat, sediment dispersion and deposition, changes to water hydrology and turbidity, and potential release of contaminated materials. The HRA also considers direct and indirect physical damage to habitats and contamination resulting from elevated turbidity. These types of effect could impact to on marine ecosystems in the locality of devices and will form part of project level assessment.

4.2.10 The assessment does identify the potential for the creation of artificial habitats for marine organisms as a result of new structures in the water. This may be aided by potential reductions in other marine use in areas where wave technology is located.

Water and the Marine Environment

4.2.11 Wave devices have the potential to result in local changes to hydrodynamics, tidal flows and fluxes, water turbidity and water turbulence, vibration, dissipation of wave energy and impact on wave period. Water turbidity and vibration might, in particular, be associated with the construction and installation phase. Furthermore, there may be additional contamination risks from leakage from vessels or equipment associated with the construction and maintenance of devices.

4.2.12 Furthermore there is potential for impacts to the ability of fish species to spawn, respire and feed, and on shellfish growing waters in the vicinity of wave farm sites, particularly near shore devices. The significance of these effects will depend on the proximity of devices to these waters.

4.2.13 Effects can be mitigated largely through applying environmental controls during construction and from hydrodynamic modelling and design to reduce impacts such as turbidity.

Climatic Factors

4.2.14 Wave energy is considered to contribute to the decarbonisation of electricity generation over the long-term which will be beneficial for climatic factors.

4.2.15 Some coasts and coastal processes are already impacted by climate change and projects level assessment should consider how new devices may interact with this existing pattern of change.

Marine Geology and Coastal Processes

4.2.16 Impacts on the seabed and geology may result from changes to turbidity, wave dissipation and tidal fluxes, sediment disturbance, loss and abrasion of geology, release of contaminated materials bonded to sediments. These can result from the installation of mooring systems and subsea cabling and the interplay of these effects may also interact with coastal processes.

4.2.17 Changes to hydrodynamics and water flows may have an interaction with coastal processes. Impacts would be of greatest significance where important coastal geological features including geological SSSI and GCRs are located. Project level assessment will need to consider impacts on geology and coastal features based on the location of individual projects.

Historic Environment

4.2.18 Effects on designated and non-designated submerged archaeology, including wrecks, have been identified. Impacts can be associated with direct damage during construction but also from scouring, siltation and deposition around assets located in the vicinity of devices or arrays. Careful location of devices in regards of historic assets can mitigate potential effects.

4.2.19 Wave devices, in particular elements of wave devices that sit above the water surface, could impact on the setting of features of the historic environment. The magnitude of visual effects depends on visibility and positioning of devices in regards to onshore features. Effects and appropriate mitigation can be applied through appropriate project design and location within Draft Plan Options.

Landscape and Seascape

4.2.20 Landscape, seascape and visual effects may vary between technologies depending on the presence of surface-piercing structures, marker buoys and lights for navigation, particularly if located near-shore and in large numbers. Submerged and oscillating devices may have fewer impacts than devices which sit on top of the water, but this will depend on location and the quality of the receiving environment. Near shore devices tend to have a greater amount of infrastructure below water and would have reduced visibility, although part of the device infrastructure may be above the surface. Project level assessment is required to determine the significance of effects within the Draft Plan Options. Development that will affect NSAs should avoid adverse effects on the integrity of the area or the qualities for which it has been designated.

Regional Environmental Issues

4.2.21 The environmental issues identified above are relevant for Draft Plan Options within all of the regions. The following sections highlight regions where the receiving environment may be particularly sensitive to potential effects and hence a higher risk of significance.

West Region

4.2.22 Given the presence of many important breeding and roosting sites for birds in the region there is a level of risk of collision and disturbance to birds during both construction and operation, in particular diving birds (for devices with underwater components) and birds that fly across the surface of the water. These risks also extend to the many important mobile marine species found in the region, including amongst others Basking shark, Harbour porpoise, Minke whales and seal species. Devices acting as barriers to movement may also interrupt migratory routes and courtship behaviours for some species.

4.2.23 The timing of construction activity may be one particular means to avoid the greatest impacts and should be based around the life cycles of species potentially impacted. Project level EIAs will need to determine the significance of effects and establish such mitigation measures. Ongoing research can help to provide more information to assist in this determination of significance.

4.2.24 Draft Plan Options WW2 and WW3 overlap with the Skye to Mull MPA search area (proposed for Basking shark and Minke whale interest features). Project level EIAs will need to demonstrate that development is compatible with the conservation objectives of any proposed MPAs.

4.2.25 The potential for effects on coastal habitats should be considered at the project level in relation to any impacts on the seabed, patterns of sedimentation and changes to hydrodynamics including changes to wave period and water turbidity and turbulence.

4.2.26 Landscape and seascape character and quality are considered high across the region that includes South Uist Machair and Loch Na Keal NSAs, and several areas considered to be wild land. Whilst any installed devices will result in a level of change, the significance of effects may reduce for devices with submerged elements even in near shore locations. However, effects associated with night time lighting may remain. Whilst above surface devices will remain visible they may still be located some distance from the shore. Detailed impact assessments will need to form part of project assessment in order to determine the significance of impacts on landscape, local communities and also the setting of historic features. Development that will affect NSAs should avoid adverse effects on the integrity of the area or the qualities for which it has been designated.

North West Region

4.2.27 The region is known to be frequented by many mobile marine species including White beaked dolphin, Risso Dolphin, Grey seal, Sand Eels, whales, sharks and many important bird species. There is a level of risk of collision and noise disturbance to birds during both construction and operation, in particular diving birds (for devices with underwater components) and birds that fly across the surface of the water. Collision, displacement and barriers to movement for all mobile marine species remains a risk, although this may vary between the type of wave device installed within a Draft Plan Option. The significance of risk to protected species will need to be established as part of EIA and HRA during the development planning and licencing process. The timing of construction activity may be one particular means to avoid the greatest impacts and should be based around the life cycles of species potentially impacted. Furthermore, ongoing research can help to provide more information to assist in this determination of significance.

4.2.28 Draft Plan Option WNW1 overlaps with existing and proposed designations as follows:

  • Flannan Isles SPA - project level HRA should demonstrate that development does not adversely affect the integrity of the designation alongside any other SPA/ SAC scoped into an assessment.
  • Eye Peninsula and Butt of Lewis proposed MPA (Rissos dolphin, White-beaked dolphin and Sand eel whale interest features) - project level EIA will need to demonstrate that development is compatible with the conservation objectives of the proposed MPA.

4.2.29 The potential loss of seabed and benthic habitat can be limited through site level survey. Avoidance of important habitat and project level assessment of changes to patterns of sedimentation and hydrodynamics may also provide mitigation of potential effects.

4.2.30 Landscape and seascape character and quality are considered high across the regions coastline, with several areas considered to be wild land. Whilst any installed devices will result in a level of change, the significance of effects may reduce for devices with submerged elements even in near shore locations. However, effects associated with night time lighting may remain. Whilst above surface devices will remain visible they may still be located some distance from the shore. Detailed impact assessment will need to form part of project assessment in order to determine the significance of impacts on landscape, local communities, including valued features such as the regions National Scenic Areas ( NSA), and also the setting of historic features, in particular the St Kilda WHS. Development that will affect NSA should avoid adverse effects on the integrity of the area or the qualities for which it has been designated and avoid impacts on the outstanding unique value of the WHS.

North Region

4.2.31 The region is known to be frequented by many mobile marine species including seabirds, fish (including Atlantic salmon and Sand eel), Common and Grey seals, whales, dolphins and elasmobranchs (including Basking Shark). There is a level of risk of collision and noise disturbance to birds during both construction and operation, in particular diving birds (for devices with underwater components) and birds that fly across the surface of the water. Collision, displacement and barriers to movement for all mobile marine species remains a risk, although this may vary between the type of wave device installed within a Draft Plan Option.

4.2.32 The significance of risk to protected species will need to be established as part of EIA and HRA during the development planning and licencing process. The timing of construction activity may be one particular means to avoid the greatest impacts and should be based around the life cycles of species potentially impacted. Furthermore, ongoing research can help to provide more information to assist in this determination of significance.

4.2.33 Several Draft Plan Options overlap with European sites. WN1 overlaps with Strathy Point SAC; WN2 overlaps with the Marwick SPA Stromness Heath and Coast SPA and the Hoy SPA; and WN3 overlaps with the Sumburgh Head SPA. Project level HRAs should demonstrate that development does not adversely affect the integrity of the designation alongside any other SPA and SAC scoped into an assessment.

4.2.34 Draft Plan Option WN2 overlaps with the North West Orkney MPA (proposed with Sand eel interest features). Project level EIAs will need to demonstrate that development is compatible with the conservation objectives of the proposed MPA.

4.2.35 The potential loss of seabed and benthic habitat can be limited through site level survey. Avoidance of important habitat and project level assessment of changes to patterns of sedimentation and hydrodynamics may also provide mitigation of potential effects.

4.2.36 Landscape and seascape character and quality are considered high across the regions coastline, with several areas considered to be wild land. Devices within the Draft Plan Options may be visible from the Shetland NSA and Hoy and West Mainland NSA. Whilst any installed devices will result in a level of change, the significance of effects may reduce for devices with submerged elements even in near shore locations. However, effects associated with night time lighting may remain. Whilst above surface devices will remain visible they may still be located some distance from the shore. Detailed impact assessment will need to form part of project assessment in order to determine the significance of impacts on landscape, local communities, including valued features such as the regions NSAs, and also the setting of historic features, in particular the Heart of Neolithic Orkney WHS. Development that will affect NSAs should avoid adverse effects on the integrity of the area or the qualities for which it has been designated and avoid impacts on the outstanding unique value of the WHS.

4.3 Economy and other marine users

4.3.1 This section summarises the findings of the socio-economic assessment relating to the economic impacts of Draft Plan Options for wave energy on other marine activities. These impacts are reported at 'planning region' level, rather than at the level of specific Draft Plan Options. More detail on this analysis can be found in Chapters 5.2, 6.2, 7.2 and Appendix C of the socio-economic assessment.

West Region

4.3.2 The socio-economic assessment indicated that, based on a pro-rata share of the indicative scale of development shown in Table 4.1, the following proportions of Draft Plan Option areas WW1, WW2, WW3 and WW4 could be developed.

Table 4.1: Potential Portions of Draft Plan Options Developed in the West Region (% of Spatial Area)

Scenario

WW1

WW2

WW3

WW4

Low

0.20

0.50

0.59

0.17

Medium

0.47

0.50

0.59

0.47

High

0.95

0.95

0.95

0.95

4.3.3 Such development could have the potential to interact with commercial fisheries, energy generation, military interests, recreational boating, and water sports.

Quantified Impacts

4.3.4 The study was able to quantify aspects of the impacts on commercial fisheries. These estimated costs are set out in Table 4.2 below.

Table 4.2: Present value ( PV) costs for Offshore Wind in the South West Region, £m (costs discounted over assessment period, 2012 prices, values rounded to nearest £0.01m)

Activity

Description of Measurement

Scenarios

Low

Central

High

Commercial Fisheries

Value of potentially lost GVA (derived from landed values)

0.01

0.01

0.03

Total PV costs

0.01

0.01

0.03

Non-Quantified Impacts

4.3.5 The study identified several other sources of cost that could arise to marine activities from development in Draft Plan Option areas WW1, WW2, WW3 and WW4. However, it was not possible to monetise these costs, so these have been assessed qualitatively in Table 4.3:

Table 4.3: Non Quantified Impacts on Other Marine Activities for Wave Energy in the West Region

Marine Activity

Non-Quantified Impact

Commercial Fisheries

Some overlap with moderate concentrations of steaming pings, indicating overlap with fishing navigation routes. Careful location of devices is expected to be able to avoid impacts for this wave area.

Energy Generation

There is a significant degree of overlap between Draft Plan Option areas WW1, OWW1 and OWW3 which could result in competition for space between the different technologies. Energy generation from differing forms of technology may also lead to competition for transmission capacity.

Military Interests

Potential overlap between all Draft Plan Option areas and with all cable routes and military practice and exercise areas. Potential to interfere with underwater communications.

Recreational Boating

Potential for deterring sailing through areas, owing to increased difficulties for navigation arising from development.

Water Sports

Sea kayaking activities overlap with all wave Draft Plan Option areas in the West Region. In addition scuba diving overlaps with area WW2 and with the potential cable routes of all three Draft Plan Option areas. While recreational angling is an important activity within the West Region, no significant cost impacts have been identified. The cost to water sports activities associated with wave developments within the Draft Plan Option areas is assessed as negligible.

North West Region

4.3.6 The socio-economic assessment indicated that, based on a pro-rata share of the indicative scale of development shown in Table 4.4, the following proportions of Draft Plan Option area WNW1 could be developed.

Table 4.4: Potential Portions of Draft Plan Options Developed in the North West Region (% of Spatial Area)

Scenario

WNW1

Low

0.17

Medium

0.47

High

0.95

4.3.7 The study found that such development could have the potential to interact with commercial fisheries, energy generation, military interests, ports and harbours, recreational boating, and water sports.

Quantified Impacts

4.3.8 The study was able to quantify aspects of the impacts on commercial fisheries. These estimated costs are set out in Table 4.5 below.

Table 4.5: Present value ( PV) costs for Offshore Wind in the North West Region, £m (costs discounted over assessment period, 2012 prices, values rounded to nearest £0.01m)

Activity

Description of Measurement

Scenarios

Low

Central

High

Commercial Fisheries

Value of potentially lost GVA (derived from landed values)

0.03

0.09

0.18

Total PV costs

0.03

0.09

0.18

Non-Quantified Impacts

4.3.9 The study identified several other sources of cost that could arise to marine activities from development in Draft Plan Option areas WNW1. However, it was not possible to monetise these costs, so these have been assessed qualitatively in Table 4.6.

Table 4.6: Non Quantified Impacts on Other Marine Activities for Wave Energy in the North West Region

Marine Activity

Non-Quantified Impact

Commercial Fisheries

WNW1 overlaps with the navigation routes heading east from the northern coast of the Isle of Lewis. Careful location of devices is expected to be able to avoid impacts for this wave area.

Energy Generation

Energy generation from differing forms of technology may lead to competition for transmission capacity.

Military Interests

Potential overlap between all Draft Plan Option areas and with all cable routes and military practice and exercise areas. Potential to interfere with underwater communications.

Ports and Harbours

Increase in marine risk, specifically the temporary collision risk while cable laying or maintenance is being carried out. Careful planning is expected to be able to avoid impacts for this wave area.

Recreational Boating

Potential for deterring sailing through areas, owing to increased difficulties for navigation arising from development.

Water Sports

Surfing, windsurfing and scuba diving occur within the area of WNW1. Windsurfing, surfing and scuba diving are also undertaken within the potential cable route areas between the Draft Plan Option areas and landfall. Sea kayaking is undertaken in all wave Draft Plan Option areas. The cost to water sports activities associated with wave developments is assessed as negligible.

North Region

4.3.10 The socio-economic assessment indicated that, based on a pro-rata share of the indicative scale of development shown in Table 4.7, the following proportions of Draft Plan Option areas WN1, WN2 AND WN3 could be developed.

Table 4.7: Potential Portions of Draft Plan Options Developed in the North Region (% of Spatial Area)

Scenario

WN1

WN2

WN3

Low

0.35

0.17

0.17

Medium

0.47

0.47

0.47

High

0.95

0.95

0.95

4.3.11 The study found that such development could have the potential to interact with commercial fisheries, energy generation, military interests, ports and harbours, recreational boating, and water sports.

Quantified Impacts

4.3.12 The study was able to quantify aspects of the impacts on commercial fisheries and water sports (in the form of recreational angling). These estimated costs are set out in Table 4.8.

Table 4.8: Present value ( PV) costs for Wave energy in the North Region, £m (costs discounted over assessment period, 2012 prices, values rounded to nearest £0.01m)

Activity

Description of Measurement

Scenarios

Low

Central

High

Commercial Fisheries

Value of potentially lost GVA (derived from landed values)

0.03

0.09

0.18

Water sports - Sea Angling

Reduction in expenditure

-

-

0.10

Total PV costs

0.03

0.08

0.27

Non-Quantified Impacts

4.3.13 The study identified several other sources of cost that could arise to marine activities from development in Draft Plan Option areas WN1, WN2 and WN3. However, it was not possible to monetise these costs, so these have been assessed qualitatively in Table 4.9.

Table 4.9: Non Quantified Impacts on Other Marine Activities for Wave Energy in the North Region

Marine Activity

Non-Quantified Impact

Commercial Fisheries

Wave area WN1 overlaps with the navigation route along the north coast of Scotland. Careful location of devices is expected to be able to avoid impacts for this wave area.

Energy Generation

There is a significant degree of overlap between Draft Plan Option areas WN2 and OWN1 which could result in competition for space between the different technologies. Energy generation from differing forms of technology may also lead to competition for transmission capacity.

Military Interests

Potential overlap between all Draft Plan Option areas and with all cable routes and military practice and exercise areas. Potential to interfere with underwater communications.

Ports and Harbours

Increase in marine risk, specifically the temporary collision risk while cable laying or maintenance is being carried out. Careful planning is expected to be able to avoid impacts for this wave area.

Recreational Boating

Potential for deterring sailing through areas, owing to increased difficulties for navigation arising from development.

Water Sports

Sea kayaking is undertaken in all wave Ares of Search while scuba diving is known to take place at WN2. Windsurfing and surfing and scuba diving are also undertaken within the potential cable route areas between the Draft Plan Option areas and landfall. The cost to water sports activities associated with wave developments within the Draft Plan Option areas is assessed as negligible.

4.4 People and Health

4.4.1 This section summarises the findings of the socio-economic assessment relating to the potential social impacts of Draft Plan Options for wave energy that could arise from impacts on other marine activities. These impacts are reported at 'planning region' level, rather than at the level of specific Draft Plan Options. More detail on this analysis can be found in Chapters 5.2, 6.2, 7.2, and Appendix C of the socio-economic assessment, and within the population and human health section of the Environmental Report.

Population and Human Health

4.4.2 Potential conflicts with commercial, fishing and recreational ship movement in terms of collision risk have been identified through the SEA. Measures including exclusion zones, lighting and marker buoys can mitigate for some accident risk. Collision risk could increase for smaller recreational craft particularly where sea conditions could make devices that sit on the surface of the sea difficult to see from a distance.

4.4.3 Displacement of recreational activities could be particularly acute if devices are placed in near shore areas where recreational use can be more concentrated. Some wave devices that sit within the water column would be located in these areas. The displacement of shipping, both commercial and recreational, from wave sites as a result of restricting access, could increase the potential risk of collision by limiting the space for vessels. Shallow water devices may in particular reduce the space available for some recreational boating. Collision and displacement risks are also considered to be reversible and would reduce upon decommissioning.

Regional Issues

4.4.4 The following sections highlight regional social issues.

West Region

4.4.5 The socio-economic assessment found that social impacts within the region might arise through interactions between development and the following sectors: commercial fisheries and water sports. The main impacts are likely to be on employment (as a result of the impact of increased costs or reductions in turnover). Other impacts, such as on access to services, health, and culture and heritage could largely be mitigated.

4.4.6 The SEA identifies the region is popular for recreational boating, water sports and cruising with several popular routes between islands and the mainland. There is potential for some increased collision risk or displacement of activities particularly if devices in near shore areas narrow navigation channels. Consultation with the recreation sector during project planning is recommended to reduce the likelihood of impacts.

Quantified Impacts

4.4.7 None of the social impacts within the West Region are quantified as being significant.

Non Quantified Impacts

4.4.8 Tables 4.10 and 4.11 summarise the results of the distributional analysis, showing where impacts are likely to be greater for a particular social group, equal, or lower than the overall impact. For example, impacts may be greater on sea kayakers as they could be directly affected however even here the impacts are unlikely to be significant. The only noticeable impacts are likely to be on commercial fisheries.

Table 4.10: Distributional analysis for Wave Energy in the West Region (location, age and gender)

Sector

Impact

Location

Age

Gender

Urban

Rural

Settlement

Children

Working age

Pensionable age

Male

Female

Commercial fisheries

Value of potentially lost landings

0

x

x

Oban, Mallaig, Stornoway

x

x

x

xx

Fishermen more likely to be male

x

Consequential impacts to fish processors

x

x

x

Oban, Mallaig, Stornoway

x

x

x

x

xx

Processors more likely to be female

Water sports

Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sport activity (sea kayaking)

0

x

No specific settlements affected

x

x

x

x

x

Impacts:
x x x : significant negative effect;
x x : possible negative effects;
x: minimal negative effect, if any;
0: no noticeable effect expected

Table 4.11: Distributional analysis for Wave Energy in the West Region (income and social groups)

Sector

Impact

Income

Social groups

10% most deprived

Middle 80%

10% most affluent

Crofters

Ethnic minorities

With disability or long-term sick

Special interest groups

Other

Commercial fisheries

Value of potentially lost landings

x

x

x

x

Where fishing provides additional income

x

0

Unlikely to be employed in fisheries

x

Potters

x

Nephrops trawlers

Consequential impacts to fish processors

x

x

x

x

x

0

x

x

Water sports

Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sport activity (sea kayaking)

x

x

x

x

x

x

xx

Sea kayakers could have to change routes or look for alternatives

No other specific group identified

Impacts:
x x x : significant negative effect;
x x : possible negative effects;
x: minimal negative effect, if any;
0: no noticeable effect expected

North West Region

4.4.9 The socio-economic assessment found that social impacts within the region might arise through interactions between development and the following sectors: commercial fisheries and recreational boating. The main impacts are likely to be on employment (as a result of the impact of increased costs or reductions in turnover). Other impacts such as on health could largely be mitigated, such that there are unlikely to be any noticeable impacts. The only exception may be during construction for surfers and windsurfers, but this would be minimal and only for a short-time.

4.4.10 The area is popular for recreational boating and also commercial shipping routes and there is potential for displacement of activities. There is potential for some increased collision risk or displacement of activities particularly if devices in near shore areas narrow navigation channels. Consultation with the recreation sector during project planning is recommended to reduce the likelihood of impacts.

Quantified Impacts

4.4.11 None of the social impacts within the West Region are quantified as being significant.

Non Quantified Impacts

4.4.12 Tables 4.12 and 4.13 summarise the results of the distributional analysis, showing where impacts are likely to be greater for a particular social group, equal, or lower than the overall impact. The pelagic sector and herring vessels within commercial fisheries in Kinlochbervie, Lochinver and Ullapool may possibly be impacted due to potential lost landings and loss of traditional fishing grounds. The only noticeable impacts are likely to be on commercial fisheries.

Table 4.12: Distributional analysis for Wave Energy in the North West Region (location, age and gender)

Sector

Impact

Location

Age

Gender

Urban

Rural

Settlement

Children

Working age

Pensionable age

Male

Female

Commercial fisheries

Value of potentially lost landings

0

xx

xx

Kinlochbervie, Lochinver, Ullapool

x

xx

x

xx

Fishermen more likely to be male

x

Consequential impacts to fish processors

x

x

x

Kinlochbervie, Lochinver, Ullapool

x

xx

x

x

xx

Processors more likely to be female

Recreational boating

Increased deterrent to access in sites that are already challenging to navigate

0

x

x

Pontoon facilities, e.g. at Kinlochbervie could be affected if number of boaters reduces (but others could benefit)

0

x

x

x

x

Impacts:
x x x : significant negative effect;
x x : possible negative effects;
x: minimal negative effect, if any;
0: no noticeable effect expected

Table 4.13: Distributional analysis for Wave Energy in the North West Region (income and social groups)

Sector

Impact

Income

Social groups

10% most deprived

Middle 80%

10% most affluent

Crofters

Ethnic minorities

With disability or long-term sick

Special interest groups

Other

Commercial fisheries

Loss of traditional fishing grounds

x

x

x

xx

Where fishing provides additional income

xx

0

Unlikely to be employed in fisheries

xx

Pelagic sector

x

Potters, demersal trawls

xx

Vessels >15m mackerel)

x

Vessels <15m

Consequential impacts to fish processors

x

x

x

x

x

0

x

x

Recreational boating

Increased deterrent to access in sites that are already challenging to navigate

x

x

x

xx

May be more likely to have smaller boats

x

x

xx

Could mean they need to relocate to maintain level of access for recreational boating

xx

Potentially greater impact on less affluent sailors with smaller, less powerful boats without electronic aids. They may be more likely to reduce activity if navigation risks increase

Impacts:
x x x : significant negative effect;
x x : possible negative effects;
x: minimal negative effect, if any;
0: no noticeable effect expected

North Region

4.4.13 The study found that social impacts within the region might arise through interactions between development and the following sectors: carbon capture and storage, commercial fisheries, recreational boating and water sports. The main impacts are likely to be on employment (as a result of the impact of increased costs or reductions in turnover) and the environment (mainly due to increased emissions or changes in environmental quality). There may also be impacts on education (specifically research and development) if opportunities for carbon, capture and storage are minimised (although it is likely that investment would move elsewhere if competition for space was a deciding factor). Other impacts, such as on access to services, health, and culture and heritage could largely be mitigated, although there may be some noticeable impacts, such as on sea anglers, sea kayakers and recreational boaters.

4.4.14 The SEA identifies that the region is popular for recreational boating, water sports and cruising with several popular routes between islands and the mainland. Furthermore there are commercial shipping routes. There is potential for some increased collision risk or displacement of activities particularly if devices in near shore areas narrow navigation channels. Consultation with the recreation sector during project planning is recommended to reduce the likelihood of impacts.

Quantified Impacts

4.4.15 None of the social impacts within the North Region are quantified as being significant.

Non Quantified Impacts

4.4.16 Tables 4.14 and 4.15 summarise the results of the distributional analysis, showing where impacts are likely to be greater for a particular social group, equal, or lower than the overall impact. For example, impacts on sea anglers could fall disproportionately onto males (although this will depend on the local make-up of sea anglers). Sea kayakers may also be impacted, although this will depend on sea kayaking routes and the level of overlap between those routes and the location of devices. For carbon capture and storage, there could be larger effects for local businesses and people of working age if investment were to go elsewhere due to competition for space. However, these are likely to be similar businesses and employees involved in renewable energy, so the impacts may be negligible. The pelagic and demersal sector within commercial fisheries in Orkney, Scrabster and Shetland may possibly be impacted due to potential lost landings and consequential impacts to fish processors. For most groups, though, the impacts are likely to be minimal.

Table 4.14: Distributional analysis for Wave Energy in the North Region (location, age and gender)

Sector

Impact

Location

Age

Gender

Urban

Rural

Settlement

Children

Working age

Pensionable age

Male

Female

Carbon capture and storage

Competition for space: Draft Plan Option areas and/or cable corridors overlap or lie inshore of potential storage areas

0

x

Could have impact on rural economy if investment goes elsewhere

0

Unlikely to affect specific locations

0

x

Could have impact on employment opportunities if investment goes elsewhere

0

x

x

Commercial fisheries

Value of potentially lost landing

0

xx

xx

Orkney, Scrabster, Shetland

x

xx

x

xx

Fishermen more likely to be male

x

Consequential impacts to fish processors

x

xx

xx

Orkney, Scrabster, Shetland

x

xx

x

x

xx

Processors more likely to be female

Recreational boating

Increased deterrent to access in sites that are already challenging to navigate

0

x

x

0

x

x

x

Increased deterrent to access in sites that are already challenging to navigate

Water sports - Sea Angling

Reduction in expenditure

xx

xx

xx

xx

xx

xx

xx

xx

Water sports

Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sport activity (sea kayaking)

0

x

No specific settlements affected

x

x

x

x

x

Impacts:
x x x : significant negative effect;
x x : possible negative effects;
x: minimal negative effect, if any;
0: no noticeable effect expected

Table 4.15: Distributional analysis for Wave Energy in the North Region (income and social groups)

Sector

Impact

Income

Social groups

10% most deprived

Middle 80%

10% most affluent

Crofters

Ethnic minorities

With disability or long-term sick

Special interest groups

Other

Carbon capture and storage

Competition for space: Draft Plan Option areas and/or cable corridors overlap or lie inshore of potential storage areas

xx

economic impacts could affect this group more than others

x

x

x

Unlikely to be employed in this industry (but may be for extra income)

x

0

Unlikely to be affected, economic impacts likely to be small

0

None likely to be affected

xx

Local businesses that might otherwise have been involved

Commercial fisheries

Value of potentially lost landing

xx

xx

xx

xx

Where fishing provides additional income

xx

0

Unlikely to be employed in fisheries

xx

Demersal, pelagic sector

x

Shellfish

xx

Vessels <10m

xx

Vessels <15m

Consequential impacts to fish processors

xx

xx

x

x

x

0

x

x

Recreational boating

Increased deterrent to access in sites that are already challenging to navigate

x

x

x

xx

May be more likely to have smaller boats

x

x

xx

Could mean they need to relocate to maintain level of access for recreational boating

xx

Potentially greater impact on less affluent sailors with smaller, less powerful boats without electronic aids. They may be more likely to reduce activity if navigation risks increase

Water sports - Sea Angling

Reduction in expenditure

xx

xx

xx

xx

xx

x

Level of sea angling activity may be lower for sick

xxx

Sea anglers will be most affected

No other specific group identified

Water sports

Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas and water sports activity (sea angling)

x

x

x

x

x

x

xx

Sea kayakers could have to change routes or look for alternatives

No other specific group identified

Impacts:
x x x : significant negative effect;
x x : possible negative effects;
x: minimal negative effect, if any;
0: no noticeable effect expected

4.5 Summary of Effects

4.5.1 The SEA cannot predict with certainty the precise significance of effects on the environment as opportunities to mitigate and minimise effects exist at the project level, primarily through project design and location. Furthermore the significance of predicted effects may only be fully understood as initial projects are monitored. The headline environmental effects of the draft plan for wave energy are summarised in the bullets below:

  • Potential effects on biodiversity as a result of collision with devices, particularly those with underwater components, barriers to movement of mobile species. Noise impacts on sensitive species from the construction of devices. The SEA considers potential effects on diving birds, cetaceans, seals, elasmobranchs and fish species. Additionally there may be direct loss of seabed habitat from the installation of devices and effects associated with potential changes to patterns of tidal and sediment movement on marine habitats.
  • Scope for impacts on water quality from contamination as a result of changes to turbidity and turbulence, and seabed disturbance in areas of existing contamination. The significance of effects will depend on the proximity of devices to sensitive areas, such as those for fish spawning and feeding and shellfish growing waters.
  • Positive effects for climate change mitigation through moving to decarbonisation of energy supply.
  • Changes to turbidity, sediment disturbance, and loss of geology in placing devices may have secondary impacts on coastal processes. The significance of effects will depend on the proximity of devices to more sensitive coastlines such as those with geological SSSI and GCRs.
  • Potential direct effects on submerged archaeology during construction and in some cases, particularly those devices that sit above the water surface potential for effects on the setting of features of the historic environment.
  • Potential for visual impacts on landscape and seascape character as a result of the presence of surface-piercing structures, and potentially marker buoys and lights for navigation, particularly if located near-shore and in large numbers. Submerged and oscillating devices may have fewer impacts than devices which sit on top of the water, but this will depend on location and the quality of the receiving environment. The magnitude of visual effects depends in general on visibility and positioning of devices in regards to onshore features. Visual effects for other sea users, such as recreation vessels, may increase if constructed in popular recreational locations. Effects from lighting at night time are possible and potentially of greater significance for near shore areas.
  • In some locations new structures could increase collision risk for some vessels, particularly for small vessels in conditions where waves might make it difficult to locate devices from a distance. Collision risk may increase if channels of vessel movements are reduced due to potential exclusion zones. The likelihood of effects are considered to be of lower significance and able to be mitigated. Furthermore there may be some potential for displacement of recreational activity in some near shore locations.

4.5.2 Table 4.16 sets out the quantified economic impacts of Draft Plan Options for wave energy on other marine activities at a national level. These figures are aggregated from the regional level analyses presented above

Table 4.16: Present value ( PV) costs for Wave Energy at a national level, £m (costs discounted over assessment period, 2012 prices, values rounded to nearest £0.01m)

Activity

Description of Measurement

Scenarios

Low

Central

High

Commercial Fisheries

Value of potentially lost GVA (derived from landed values)

0.07

0.18

0.38

Water sports - Sea Angling

Reduction in expenditure

0.00

0.00

0.10

Total PV costs

0.07

0.18

0.48

4.5.3 The majority of quantified impacts from the Draft Plan for Wave fall upon the commercial fishing industry, although these remain relatively minor. In addition to the above, there are a number of non-quantified impacts. They impact on the following marine activities: commercial fisheries, energy generation, military interests, ports and harbours, recreational boating and water sports. The nature of these does not lend itself to them being aggregated at a national level, but the relevant information is presented within the regional sections above.

4.5.4 There will also be a number of social impacts, as discussed in the previous section. These will fall almost entirely at a regional (or sub-regional) level, but may include national impacts on coastal communities, the 10% most income deprived decile and some specific social groups.

4.5.5 Nonetheless, most of the social impacts are likely to be felt at a very local level. The real significance of the local impacts could only be fully explored through a specific, local assessment, which is beyond the scope of this appraisal. For example, it has not been possible to explore whether a local area might become increasingly deprived if there were impacts on jobs, partly because the impacts are generally small but also because the specific locations of the impacts cannot be clearly identified. In addition, the 5% threshold for assessing quantitative impacts may under-estimate effects on certain businesses that may be disproportionately affected as impacts are unlikely to be evenly distributed across a sector.

4.5.6 Social impacts have generally been assessed as knock-on impacts from the direct effects on activities. This means that areas such as employment, environment and health have been included to a greater extent than the much more indirect effects on crime or education. Again, these indirect effects may become more evident in a specific, local assessment.


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