Sectoral marine plan: appropriate assessment
Assessment of the implications of the sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy for designated special areas of conservation special protection areas, candidate special areas of conservation and proposed special protection areas in view of the sites' conservation objectives.
Appendix Two: In-Combination Assessment - Other Plans and Projects (Non Offshore Windfarms)
In addition to the offshore wind projects outlined above, a wide range of other plans and projects are potentially relevant to this Plan, including:
- Marine Renewables Infrastructure Plan
- National Renewables Infrastructure Plan ("N-RIP")
- The National Planning Framework for Scotland ("NPF3")
- The Crown Estate Scotland (ScotWind) Leasing Round (2020)
- The Crown Estate Offshore Wind Leasing - Round 4 (2019)
- Waterfront regeneration projects (e.g. Helensburgh)
- Harbour expansion plans (e.g. Aberdeen)
- Onshore wind farms
- Increased vessel activity from all other sources (no specific plan), including offshore development and shipping from other ports
- ISLES project
- ISLES II project
- Proposals for the offshore grid and other proposed cable routes
- Container transhipment hub at Scapa Flow
- Other proposals included within the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan
- Oil and gas development activities
- Port and marine developments (e.g. Granton)
- Aquaculture developments
- Fishing activities
- Military activities
- Non-marine developments potentially affecting Atlantic Salmon, freshwater pearl mussel or otter features associated with SAC rivers
An overarching National Marine Plan was introduced in Scotland through the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. The plan, adopted in March 2015, is designed to inform decision making in the marine environment by governing more detailed planning at the regional level and informing marine licensing and other decision-making functions. An HRA was carried out for this Plan and following the screening stage of that process it was concluded that an AA was not required. Having followed SNH guidance, this view was taken in respect of both the Plan's 'cross-cutting' and 'sector-specific' policies as follows:
- The cross-cutting policies are general in direction, as they apply to all activities and development in the marine environment. In consequence, no connectivity or direct pathway for impact was identified between these and specific European sites.
- The sector-specific policies are general in direction, as they do not direct development or activities to a particular location and do not have a pathway for impact on specific European sites. For those which could have a significant effect on the integrity of European sites, mitigation measures have been recommended in the form of changes to the wording of the policies.
In conclusion, the National Marine Plan was considered to have no significant effect on the integrity of European sites, and for the same reason there will be no in-combination effects between the Sectoral Offshore Wind Plan and the National Marine Plan. The Sectoral Offshore Wind Plan provides the spatial strategy for developing offshore wind energy at the national and regional level. This spatial strategy has been assessed within this plan-level HRA. Future developments which take place within these areas will be assessed against the proposals and policies contained within the National Marine Plan at the project licensing stage.
It should also be noted that in the coming years regional Marine Plans will be developed (e.g. Clyde Regional Marine Plan). These regional plans will include more focused policies for the coastal regions and, as such, an HRA for these plans may be required.
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