Publication - Consultation paper

Sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy: strategic habitat regulations appraisal pre-screening report

Published: 13 Jun 2018

Results of the pre-screening stages of the habitat regulations appraisal.

Sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy: strategic habitat regulations appraisal pre-screening report
Appendix A: Pre-screening Tables

Appendix A: Pre-screening Tables

The tables in this appendix summarise the findings of the pre-screening review. They present the following details which will be taken forward into the next screening phase of the HRA:

  • Table A1: A list of 18 generic environmental impact pathways associated with the draft Plan that could impact interest features of European/Ramsar sites;
  • Table A2: An impact matrix of the activities, environmental changes, standard sensitivities categories and potentially affected interest features for each of the environmental impact pathways that are relevant to the draft Plan; and
  • Table A3: Initial list of European/Ramsar sites (and their interest features) to be taken forward into the subsequent screening phase of the assessment.

Table A1: Generic impact pathways associated with the draft Plan

Pathway Ref No.

Potential Issue/Sensitivity Category

Impact Pathway

Impact Summary

Categories to Deterioration or Disturbance

Code

Impacts arising from Plan Activity (Summary Impact Pathway Description)

1

Physical Loss/Gain of habitat (loss of habitat in development footprint)

PLG

Loss of coastal and offshore habitat due to installation of devices, cables and cable armouring from the installation, operation and decommissioning of these structures.

Loss of coastal/offshore seabed within development footprint

2

Physical Loss/Gain of habitat (direct change to habitat around the development footprint)

PLG

Loss of foraging areas from reduction in coastal and offshore habitat due to installation of devices and cable armouring both at the development footprint and outside these areas from associated scour and indirectly from changes to the hydrodynamic regime, as well as from chains anchoring devices disturbing seabed habitat during operation.

Loss of coastal/offshore foraging areas within development footprint

3

Physical Loss/Gain of habitat (direct change to habitat around the development footprint)

PLG

Presence of structures on or above seabed for the duration of the project resulting in changes to prey and species behaviour (e.g. acting as FAD (Fish Aggregating Device), artificial reef or bird roost).

Loss or gain of habitat from introduced structures causing species change

4

Physical Damage to habitat (indirect and temporary damage to marine habitat)

PD

Changes to coastal and offshore habitat as result of damage from baseline surveys (e.g. boreholes/trawls); from equipment use causing abrasion, damage or smothering during installation and from maintenance and removal of cables/devices (e.g. jack-up legs, vessels, anchors, mooring chain).

Damage to coastal/offshore seabed during all project phases

5

Physical Damage to habitat (indirect and longer-term damage to habitat)

PD

Changes to coastal and offshore habitat as a result of alterations to the wave climate or hydrodynamic regime from the presence of devices, power cables or cable armouring causing physical changes (including changes to sediment transport and/or sediment scour.

Damage to coastal/offshore seabed from hydrodynamic changes

6

Physical Damage to habitat (indirect and temporary damage to habitat)

PD

Reduction in quality of foraging areas as result of damage to coastal and offshore habitat from baseline surveys (e.g. boreholes and trawls); from equipment use causing abrasion, damage or smothering during installation; from maintenance and removal of cables/devices or from scour, sediment transport and hydrodynamic change, and damage from chains anchoring devices during operation.

Damage to coastal/offshore foraging areas during all project phases

7

Physical Damage to species (direct and temporary damage to habitat)

PD

Damage to seal haul out locations during the installation, decommissioning and operation of the cables and cable armouring.

Damage to seal haul out from cables or pipelines

8

Physical Damage to species (direct damage to species from collision risk)

PD

Collision risk and possible mortality of species due to the presence of devices or from vessels travelling to and from the site (including above and below water collision risk and the influence of lighting); risk of entanglement following a collision with power cables or mooring elements.

Damage to species from collision, entanglement or disorientation

9

Non-Physical disturbance (barrier to species movement)

NPD

Presence of structures or disturbance (noise or visual) resulting in a barrier to movement, migratory pathways and/or access to feeding grounds depending on array design.

Disturbance from introduced structures causing barrier to mobile species movement

10

Non-Physical disturbance (disturbance to species)

NPD

Visual disturbance and exclusion from areas as a result of surveying, cable and device installation/operation and decommissioning activities and movements of vessels.

Disturbance (visual) from activities during all project phases

11

Non-Physical disturbance (disturbance to species)

NPD

Noise/vibration disturbance and exclusion from areas as a result of vessels and other activities during survey work (e.g. seismic exploration and geophysical surveys), construction (e.g. piling, drilling, cable laying), operation (e.g. device noise), maintenance or decommissioning.

Disturbance (noise) from activities during all project phases

12

Non-Physical disturbance (disturbance to species)

NPD

Impacts from Electromagnetic Fields ( EMF) and thermal emissions on benthic invertebrates and electromagnetically sensitive fish and cetaceans interfering with prey location and mate detection in some species and creating barriers to migration.

Disturbance ( EMF and thermal emissions) from activities during all project phases

13

Non-Physical disturbance (exclusion/ displacement of species)

NPD

Presence of structures resulting in an exclusion/displacement of a species from the area.

Disturbance from introduced structures causing exclusion/ displacement of species

14

Toxic Contamination (reduction in water quality)

TC

Spillage of fluids, fuels and/or construction materials during installation or removal of structures (devices and cables) or during survey/maintenance.

Contamination during surveys or maintenance activities

15

Toxic Contamination (reduction in water quality)

TC

Release of contaminants associated with the dispersion of suspended sediments during installation or removal of structures (devices and cables).

Contamination during installations/removal of structures

16

Non-Toxic Contamination (elevated turbidity)

NTC

Increase in turbidity (and possibly reduced dissolved oxygen) associated with the release of suspended sediments during installation or removal of structures (devices and cables).

Non-toxic contamination from increases in turbidity

17

Biological Disturbance (introduction of non-native species)

BD

Introduction of new structures on the seabed providing new substratum that facilitates the colonisation and ingress of invasive non-native species.

Biological disturbance from non-native species on substratum

18

Biological Disturbance (introduction of non-native species)

BD

Introduction and ingress of invasive non-native species as biofouling species on the surfaces of vessels or construction plant.

Biological disturbance from non-native species on vessels


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