Marine licensing and consenting: safety zones

Overview of declaring safety zones for the construction, operation, maintenance, extension or decommissioning of a renewable energy installation.

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Safety zones can be declared under s.95 of the Energy Act 2004 for securing the safety of individuals, vessels or installations during the construction, operation and maintenance, extension or decommissioning of a renewable energy installation, either on an application by any person or on the initiative of the Scottish Ministers.

Marine Scotland – Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT), on behalf of Scottish Ministers, administers applications for the declaration of safety zones to apply around offshore renewable energy installations in line with Schedule 16 of the Energy Act 2004 and under The Electricity (Offshore Generating Stations) (Safety Zones) (Application Procedures and Control of Access) Regulations 2007.

Safety zone applications can be made at same time as the section 36 consent or independently.

The usual safety zone is 500 metres for construction and 50 metres for the operational phase, but this may be subject to other constraints on navigable routes or access for other users and may therefore be restricted. This is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The request for safety zones can be dealt with in one application with different safety zone requirements for the different phases. It should be noted that for applications made under section 36 where there is an intention to apply for a safety zone as part of construction or aspects of the operation and maintenance phases, this should be detailed in the EIA report. Failure to do so may mean that it is unlikely that safety zones could be approved.

Any request for ‘rolling’ safety zones' to allow safe working conditions whilst minimising impacts on other stakeholders must include a clear plan.

The safety zone plan submitted for consultation through public advertisement and an eight-week stakeholder consultation should contain a clear communication strategy on how the details of the safety zones will be communicated and to whom. Details of contacts (fisheries liaison officers) and very high frequency (“VHF”) channel to be used should be given along with contacts in the Marine and Coastgard Agency (MCA) and local harbours. The developer will be responsible for providing guard ships to encourage compliance with safety zones.

Safety zones are not declared for cables (either inter-array or export).

Relevant publications


See MS-LOT's contact details.

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