Publication - Publication

Offshore wind energy - draft sectoral marine plan: regional locational guidance

Published: 18 Dec 2019
Directorate:
Marine Scotland Directorate
Part of:
Energy, Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781839603778

Regional locational guidance (RLG) prepared for the draft sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy.

428 page PDF

37.0 MB

428 page PDF

37.0 MB

Contents
Offshore wind energy - draft sectoral marine plan: regional locational guidance
7 East

428 page PDF

37.0 MB

7 East

7.1 Introduction

7.1.1 The East region incorporates the area from the southern edge of the North East region at Peterhead, to the border with England, including the Firths of Forth and Tay (Figure 226). The region extends seawards to the east to include the three DPOs in the region, as shown in Figure 226.

Figure 226 Map of the East region, including DPOs

Figure 226 Map of the East region, including DPOs

7.2 Physical Considerations

Offshore Wind Resource

7.2.1 Within the East region, encompassing three DPOs (E1, E2 and E3) there is considerable available resource as shown in Figure 227 using the annual wind speed as a proxy, and calculated in Table 6 for the three DPOs.

Figure 227 East region: mean annual wind speed

Figure 227 East region: mean annual wind speed

Table 6 East region: Potential installed capacity in the DPOs

Area of Search Region Area (square km) Potential Installed capacity (GW)
E1 East 3816 19.1
E2 East 1287 6.4
E3 East 474 2.4
East Total 5577 27.9

Grid Connection

7.2.2 Within the East region there is good capability to support current offshore wind development with 275 kV and 400 kV networks developed in the region to support current offshore wind and Torness power station. However, National Grid identify the strong potential for future requirements to further reinforce the grid in the area as future offshore wind developments reach fruition,[326] particularly given the likely transmission through the region required to support renewable energy developments in the North and North East regions.

7.2.3 It is noted that with the future decommissioning of the Torness nuclear plant (2030) there may be future potential for excess capacity on the Grid within the East region which could support development of offshore wind in the region.

Bathymetry and Seabed

7.2.4 Within the East region the water depths are almost entirely less than 100 m, shown in Figure 228, with an area of shallower water less than 60 m extending out from the Firth of Forth. The water depths within the DPOs are mostly between 60 and 100 m with a small area of E3 over 100 m deep.

7.2.5 Sediment within the region, as shown in Figure 229, is, similarly to the North East, dominated by sand, with some smaller areas of coarser sediment towards the coastline and muddy sediment within and extending out of the Firth of Forth. Similarly, the sediment within the DPOs is generally sand, with some small areas of coarser sediment within E2 and E3.

Figure 228 East region: banded water depth

Figure 228 East region: banded water depth

Figure 229 East region: seabed sediments

Figure 229 East region: seabed sediments

7.3 Socio Economics

Supply Chain

7.3.1 Five locations are identified in the East region[327] which could be developed to support the construction, operation and maintenance of offshore wind in the DPOs. These are:

  • Peterhead- distributed manufacturing and operation / maintenance;
  • Aberdeen- distributed manufacturing and operation / maintenance;
  • Dundee- distributed manufacturing and operation / maintenance;
  • Energy Park Fife at Methil- further manufacturing; and
  • Leith- integrated manufacturing.

7.3.2 In addition, there are a number of sites in other regions discussed within the specific regional text, particularly the North East region, that have the potential to support the development of offshore wind in the East region.

7.3.3 Infrastructure at Peterhead is currently used to support the oil and gas industry, particularly Operation and Maintenance. It is therefore well placed to transfer the skills within the current workforce, as oil and gas within the North Sea is decommissioned, to support the offshore renewable industry.

7.3.4 As for Peterhead, infrastructure at Aberdeen is currently principally used to support the oil and gas industry, particularly Operation and Maintenance, and as a result is well placed to transfer the skills within the current workforce to support the offshore renewable industry. Vattenfall, an energy developer, has established an operations and maintenance base within Aberdeen to support the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre.

7.3.5 Dundee has been identified by the NRIP as having the potential to support offshore wind manufacturing, through the development of land suitable for a manufacturing facility, however no development has been undertaken to date.

7.3.6 Energy Park Fife at Methil currently supports the offshore wind industry, with companies located on the site undertaking manufacture of components for offshore wind sites currently under development, including the Beatrice wind farm in the North East region. There is therefore significant potential for the manufacturing facilities on the site to support future development of offshore wind both in the North Sea and further afield.

7.3.7 Leith was identified in the NRIP as having the potential to support large scale manufacturing, installation activities and operation and maintenance activities within the offshore renewables industry.

Energy Generation

7.3.8 There are two power stations located within the East region. Peterhead (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine), located on the border between the North East and East regions, and Torness nuclear power plant on the coast to the south of the Firth of Forth. The Torness nuclear plant is currently proposed to finish generation in 2030.

7.3.9 There is currently no proposed or identified potential for wave or tidal energy generation in the East region. In 2013 the Marine Scotland consulted on DPOs for wave and tidal energy.[328],[329] These DPOs were subsequently recognised in Scotland's National Marine Plan.[330] The DPOs identify areas of potential for the future development of wave and tidal energy in Scottish waters (Figure 230). There are no wave or tidal DPO areas identified within the East region.

7.3.10 Offshore wind is currently being developed in the East region, with three major developments (Seagreen (1500MW), Inch Cape (600MW), Neart na Gaoithe (450MW)) identified in the outer Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay, inshore of the proposed DPOs, as shown in Figure 230. The Firth of Forth windfarm is consented for Phase 1, however it is currently applying for a variation of consent to update the proposed technology. The progression of the three Firth of Forth windfarms are dependent on the success of bids in the next Contracts for Difference auction in 2019.

7.3.11 There are additional small sites offshore of Aberdeen (European Offshore Wind Farm (93.2MW), fully commissioned; and Kincardine (50MW), under construction), Peterhead (Hywind (30MW) fully commissioned) and Methil (12MW) on hold).

Figure 230 East region: current, planned and potential future offshore energy generation infrastructure

Figure 230 East region: current, planned and potential future offshore energy generation infrastructure

Power Interconnectors

7.3.12 There are no power interconnectors in the East region of Scotland, however there is a proposed Eastern HVDC which may, in future (around 2028), connect Peterhead on the northern border of the region with north east England, but this project is currently classed as dormant.[331]

Telecom Cables

7.3.13 The East region has few active telecom cables (41km), with just a short stretch coming off the coast from Aberdeen. None of the DPOs are near telecom cables (see Figure 231).

Figure 231 East region: active telecom cables

Figure 231 East region: active telecom cables

Carbon Capture and Storage

7.3.14 The current development of the potential carbon and capture industry in Scotland is centred around the North East and East regions with the sole proposed development by ACT Acorn using existing Oil and Gas infrastructure to transport CO2 from St Fergus, near Peterhead (approximately on the boundary between the two regions) north-east to the Captain Sandstone saline aquifer (Figure 232).

7.3.15 It is therefore likely that the majority of the potential economic benefits associated with the development of a CCS industry will be realised within the North East and East regions.

7.3.16 The Captain aquifer currently identified for development does not directly overlap with any of the DPOs identified in the East region, although there are further saline aquifers in the seas further offshore to the east of E2, which in future may have the potential to support CCS development.

Figure 232 East region: saline aquifers

Figure 232 East region: saline aquifers

Oil and Gas

7.3.17 In the East region oil and gas activity is concentrated in offshore waters (see Figure 233). There are 17 producing hydrocarbon fields in the region (all producing oil).

Figure 233 East region: oil and gas infrastructure and licensed blocks

Figure 233 East region: oil and gas infrastructure and licensed blocks

7.3.18 E1 and E2 both overlap with licensed blocks.[332]

Aviation

7.3.19 The East region has two major airports, three civil aviation aerodromes and three helicopter rescue stations (see Figure 234).

7.3.20 Aberdeen is an international airport which offers a wide variety of destinations to fly to. The airport also serves the offshore industry which means it has frequent helicopter flights,[333] the routes of which go directly through E1 and E3 proposed areas for development. A large portion of the East region (including E1 and the western corner of E2 and E3) is covered by the primary surveillance radar used by Aberdeen airport.

7.3.21 Edinburgh is Scotland's busiest airport and had over 9.4 million passengers passing through its terminal in 2016.

7.3.22 Dundee is also an important airport for the East region of Scotland and is used for scheduled, private and chartered flights.

7.3.23 Aberdeen and Edinburgh airports are safeguarded civil aerodromes.

Figure 234 East region: aviation infrastructure, key routes and radar coverage

Figure 234 East region: aviation infrastructure, key routes and radar coverage

Defence

7.3.24 There is a high concentration of defence assets in the East region used for free navigation for surface and subsurface naval vessels for national defence; safeguarding of navigational routes and nationally critical infrastructure; designated Danger Areas and Exercise Areas for military training and defence test & evaluation purposes; retain strategic maritime infra-structure, installations and coastal MOD facilities.

7.3.25 None of the DPOs in the East region are within or overlap with firing danger areas or Navy exercise areas (Figure 235). In addition to military establishments in the public domain, it is recognised that further military assets may be present in the region. Any concerns regarding assets of this type will be identified in consultation with the MOD at a project level.

7.3.26 The MOD support a number of jobs in the East region, both directly and indirectly. Employment is largely through the Leuchars Station army facility and through ship-building facilities in the Firth of Forth related to the construction of the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. No regional breakdown of employment figures are available within Scotland, however it is likely that an appreciable portion of the direct and indirect employment figures discussed in the national overview above are located in the East region.

Figure 235 East region: defence infrastructure and exercise areas

Figure 235 East region: defence infrastructure and exercise areas

Fishing

7.3.27 Landings from UK-registered vessels caught in the East region had an average annual value of £113 million and an average live weight of 9,966,151 tonnes for the five year period 2013-2017.

7.3.28 The majority of landings were shellfish (46%) and demersal species (34%) with the vast majority of landings by the over 12 m fleet (95%). The main gear types were demersal trawls (41%), mechanical dredges (35%) and midwater trawls (15%).

7.3.29 Figure 236 shows over-15m fishing intensity by mobile demersal gears, which operated across the region in 2009-2013. Nephrops trawls operated outside the Firth of Forth, particularly between Eyemouth and Anstruther, while scallop dredgers operated from Arbroath to Peterhead. Over-15m pelagic vessels operated at a lower intensity in the region, although there was some patchy herring fishing in the northern, eastern and southern parts of the region (Figure 237). Fishing by over-15m vessels using static gear was minimal or absent from the region (Figure 238).

7.3.30 Areas important for under-15m vessels are the Firth of Forth (mostly Nephrops trawls), and from Pittenweem to St Andrew's Bay and along the coast from Arbroath to Stonehaven (crab/lobster creels) (Figure 239, Figure 240).

7.3.31 There were 266 fishing vessels with their Home Port registered within the East region in 2016.[334] This region had this highest proportion of under-10 m vessels of all the regions (85%), and only 3% of vessels were over-15m in length. The ports with the most registered vessels were Eyemouth (60), Pittenweem (56), Aberdeen (40), Gourdon (10) and Seahouses (10). Home ports within the East region are shown in Figure 241.

Figure 236 Fishing intensity for over-15m vessels in the East region using demersal mobile gear (2009-2013)

Figure 236 Fishing intensity for over-15m vessels in the East region using demersal mobile gear (2009-2013)

Figure 237 Fishing intensity for over-15m vessels in the East region targeting pelagic species (2009-2013)

Figure 238 Fishing intensity for over-15m vessels in the East region using static gear (2009-2013)

Figure 238 Fishing intensity for over-15m vessels in the East region using static gear (2009-2013)

Figure 238 Fishing intensity for over-15m vessels in the East region using static gear (2009-2013)

Figure 239 Number of vessels for under-15m vessels in the East region, all gears and mobile demersal gears, from ScotMap

Figure 239 Number of vessels for under-15m vessels in the East region, all gears and mobile demersal gears, from ScotMap

Figure 240 Number of vessels for under-15m vessels in the East region, pots, divers and mackerel lines, from ScotMap

Figure 240 Number of vessels for under-15m vessels in the East region, pots, divers and mackerel lines, from ScotMap

Figure 241 East region: distribution of home ports

Figure 241 East region: distribution of home ports

7.3.32 The main landing ports (in terms of value of landings in 2017) in the East region are Pittenweem (£3.5 million), Eyemouth (£2.7 million) and Arbroath (£1.9 million).[335]

7.3.33 There are five fixed engine sites for wild salmon and sea trout, around Peterhead, Montrose and Eyemouth, and six net and coble sites near Peterhead, Montrose, Firth of Tay and Firth of Forth (Figure 242).

7.3.34 The main rod and line fishing rivers in this region are the Rivers Carron (salmon), Don (salmon and sea trout), Dee (salmon and sea trout), North Esk (salmon), South Esk (salmon and sea trout), Tummel (salmon), Tay (the largest of Scotland's salmon rivers), Earn (salmon and sea trout), Alan (salmon and sea trout), Teith and Forth (one of the best salmon rivers in Central Scotland), Tyne - East Lothian (sea trout), Whiteadder (salmon and sea trout), Tweed (salmon and sea trout) Teviot (salmon and sea trout), Ettrick and Yarrow (salmon).[336]

Figure 242 Salmon and sea trout net fisheries reporting catches in 2011-2016 in the East region

Figure 242 Salmon and sea trout net fisheries reporting catches in 2011-2016 in the East region

Aquaculture

7.3.35 There are very few aquaculture facilities in the East region (3 licensed finfish and 4 shellfish installations) and none in or close to the DPO sites (see Figure 243). There is a presumption against aquaculture currently in place on the east coast.

Figure 243 East region: marine aquaculture sites

Figure 243 East region: marine aquaculture sites

Ports and Harbours

7.3.36 In the East region there are 6 major ports, 2 minor ports and many smaller harbours (see Figure 244).

7.3.37 Aberdeen is a large commercial port, supporting the oil and gas industry and cargo transport. The NRIP explored scope for using sites at the port for further development to allow for wider vessels and construction of facilities onshore. It was included in phase one sites for distributed manufacturing and operation/maintenance.

7.3.38 Dundee port was identified in the NRIP for distributed manufacturing, operation and maintenance related activities. It expects that the port will play a significant role in supporting renewable energy development and investment, given the suitability of its facilities.

7.3.39 Leith port is the largest enclosed deep-water port in Scotland. It handles general cargo and cruise liners. The NRIP stage 2 report identifies Leith as a strong location for large-scale manufacturing, installation activities and operations and maintenance for the renewables industry.

7.3.40 Grangemouth is Scotland's largest container port, located towards the westernmost extent of the Firth of Forth and handles approximately 150,000 containers per annum.

7.3.41 Rosyth is located on the north bank of the River Forth and provides support for freight ferry services and cargo transport, including timber, bulk salt, rapeseed meal and animal feed.

7.3.42 There is a high concentration of anchorages in the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay reflecting the high level of sailing activity in the area. None of the anchorages overlap with the DPOs.

7.3.43 There are a few dredge disposal sites in the region. They are all close inshore and do not overlay with the DPOs.

Figure 244 East region: ports and harbours

Figure 244 East region: ports and harbours

Shipping

7.3.44 Areas of high shipping density, up to 100 vessels per week, (Figure 245) in the East region are generally concentrated around the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay (with a smaller hotspot around Montrose) in the southern half, and around Aberdeen and Peterhead in the north. Much of the traffic offshore from Peterhead and Aberdeen is linked to the oil and gas industry, with the port service craft transit lines emphasising these movements. In addition, there is a line of high density offshore from the Firth of Forth but inshore from E3 with up to 20 vessel transits per week linking ports in England to Aberdeen and areas further north. The majority of the traffic tends to be relatively close inshore around the Firth of Forth and is associated with the East coast route from England linking to Edinburgh.

7.3.45 As identified in the North East region above, ferry services from Aberdeen link to the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands, providing lifeline services. The majority of these movements within the East region is close to shore to the north of Aberdeen with no interaction with the DPOs.

7.3.46 The DPOs further offshore are generally in areas of lower shipping density, however DPO E3, closer to Aberdeen, has the potential to interact with a wide range of shipping, including oil and gas related activity and routes across the North Sea to Europe, some of which may also interact with DPOs E2 and E1.

Figure 245 East region: shipping densities and key routes

Figure 245 East region: shipping densities and key routes

Coastal and Flood Protection

7.3.47 There are a few areas of Coastal and Flood protection in the East region that have been developed since 1961, shown on Figure 246, although extensive sections of the Firth of Forth and Firth and Tay estuaries have protection works. The more recent developments are mostly concentrated around the Firth of Forth and the River Tay estuary with two further areas of coastal protection to the west, directly inshore of, DPO E3. There are some further areas of hard defence within the East region, generally associated with harbour infrastructure.

Figure 246 East region: coastal and flood protection schemes

Figure 246 East region: coastal and flood protection schemes

Marine and Coastal Recreation

7.3.48 Overall recreational activity in the East region is shown in Figure 247. Most recreational activity occurs inshore of the DPOs, although there is some potential interaction with sailing and cruising routes in the region. There is some overlap between E3 and low-levels of recreational activity. However, the data show that there is no known overlap with E2 and E1.

Figure 247 East region: density of recreational activities

Figure 247 East region: density of recreational activities

Boating

7.3.49 Sailing and racing are popular in the East region and occur in the Firth of Tay, Firth of Forth and along the Southern section of coastline (Figure 248). Recreational use is centred on the Firth of Forth, Firth of Tay and St Andrew's Bay, with moderate use cruising routes extending up and down the coastline from these areas. There many marinas, clubs and training centres along the coast, including at Port Edgar and Arbroath. Whilst there is no or very low interaction between boating with DPOs E1 and E2, there is likely to be some, albeit low-medium-scale overlap with E3 and boating.

Figure 248 East region: recreational boating facilities and recreational boating density (from 2015 AIS data)

Figure 248 East region: recreational boating facilities and recreational boating density (from 2015 AIS data)

Angling

7.3.50 Sea Angling is undertaken along much of the coast of the East Region such as the Firth of Tay and East Lothian coast (Figure 249). The available data show that this is not occurring throughout the DPOs, however, some there is some activity inshore of E3, and therefore angling may occur in this area.

Figure 249 East region: sea angling (by boat) activity density

Figure 249 East region: sea angling (by boat) activity density

Diving

7.3.51 Many dive sites are found in the East region with particularly high densities of sites near St Andrews, Firth of Forth and the Berwickshire coast (Figure 250). In particular, the voluntary Marine Reserve of St. Abbs Head and Eyemouth is one of Scotland's most popular dive locations attracting thousands of people each year. This area of Scotland is highly populated, and this is reflected in a large number of clubs and dive centres operating. There is no recorded activity occurring within the DPOs.

Figure 250 East region: scuba diving activity density

Figure 250 East region: scuba diving activity density

Sea Kayaking and Canoeing

7.3.52 The majority of trips are close inshore. Kayaking and canoeing takes place at most spots along the east coast where there are suitable launching spots such as beaches and slipways. Areas of high activity density include regions around Aberdeen, Edinburgh, the East Lothian and Borders coastlines (Figure 251). There is no recorded sea kayaking or canoeing activity occurring within the DPOs.

Figure 251 East region: canoeing and kayaking activity density

Figure 251 East region: canoeing and kayaking activity density

Surfing and Windsurfing

7.3.53 The East region is the least consistent area for surf, with medium quality waves of medium popularity. It receives long-swell from the North Sea and most of the breaks are beach breaks.[337] The most popular locations include; Arbroath, Belhaven Bay, Coldingham Bay, Cruden Bay, Kingsbarns, Lunan Bay, Nigg Bay, Pease Bay, Peterhead, Seacliff and St Andrews[338] (Figure 252). The available data show that there is no recorded surfing or windsurfing activity occurring within the DPOs. However, some activity has been recorded inshore of E3. There is limited windsurfing activity in the North East region, with the area of highest density within the Firth of Forth (Figure 253).

Figure 252 East region: surfing, surf kayaking and paddleboarding activity density

Figure 252 East region: surfing, surf kayaking and paddleboarding activity density

Figure 253 East region: windsurfing and kitesurfing activity density

Figure 253 East region: windsurfing and kitesurfing activity density

Tourism

7.3.54 Tourist sites in the East region include accommodation and camping facilities, general tourist attractions, historic/heritage attractions, natural heritage attractions, transport and travel related facilities. Although sites are scattered throughout the region, there is a high density of sites along the coast, particularly in the Firth of Forth. This would be expected, given the proximity to Edinburgh. The Firth of Forth also has several cultural and maritime heritage assets, including a historic ship, sites designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act, a maritime museum and several listed buildings.

7.3.55 The East region has three big cities situation along the coast; Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. These are popular tourist destinations, but also important travel hubs and tourism activity is therefore centred in these locations (Figure 254).

7.3.56 The presence of Blue Flag Beaches, designated bathing waters also encourages tourists to visits the East regions beaches. Beach users are likely to be an essential group to remember when considering the development of offshore renewables.

7.3.57 The East region has three areas designated as Marine Special Areas of Conservation, namely: Firth of Tay and Eden Estuary, Isle of May and part of Berwickshire, and Northumberland SAC. These SACs attract visitors for marine and coastal wildlife tourism.

Figure 254 East region: tourism activity density

Figure 254 East region: tourism activity density

Social Considerations

7.3.58 The total population of the East region is approximately 1,860,000 using data for Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, City of Edinburgh, Dundee City, East Lothian, Fife and Scottish Borders Scottish council areas. The overall average age is 41 for the East region. Under 16's make up 17% of the population (, 65% of the population is of working age and 18% of the population in the East region is pension age.[339]

7.3.59 In 2017 there was an 75.1% employment rate in the East region. The greatest number of jobs in the East region are associated with public admin, education and health (30%). Other important industry sectors are distribution, hotels and restaurants (19%), and banking and finance (16%). Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire also have a high number of jobs (16%) in the energy and water sector.[340]

7.3.60 The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) shows that most of Aberdeenshire, which makes up a large portion of the East region, is in the 5% most access deprived areas in Scotland.[341]

7.4 Environment

Designated Sites

7.4.1 Within the East region there are a range of designated sites, shown in Figure 255, Figure 256, Figure 257 and Figure 258 including 4 NCMPA (including one pNCMPA), 11 SPA (including 2 pSPA), 3 SAC and 18 SSSI.

7.4.2 There are two areas of overlap between designated sites and the proposed DPOs in the East region. Areas within the Firth of Forth Banks complex NCMPA, designated for ocean quahog aggregations and offshore subtidal sands and gravels, overlaps with E1 . The Turbot Bank NCMPA, and the proposed Southern Trench MPA designated for Sandeels, also overlaps with the western extent of E2.

7.4.3 There is one SAC within the East region, the Berwickshire and North Northumberland Coast SAC, designated for grey seal, intertidal mudflats and sandflats, reefs, sea caves and shallow inlets and bays. The SAC is approximately 65km to the south and southwest of DPO E1.

7.4.4 There are several SPAs currently designated within the East region, located near the coastline and onshore and designated for a range of seabird and terrestrial species features and assemblages which may use the sea within the DPOs for feeding and / or during migration. There is a large pSPA proposed to cover the Firth of Forth and areas of sea and coastline to the north and south of the Firth, proposed for designation for a wide range of breeding and non-breeding seabird and waterfowl populations. Further detail on seabird species distributions is contained within the Birds section below.

7.4.5 The 18 SSSI are located across the East region and are protected for a range of features, including geology, habitats and species. Some, although not all, SSSI sites overlap with European SPA or SAC designations.

7.4.6 In addition to the sites identified within the boundaries of the East region, there may be more remote designated sites which may have the potential to be affected by offshore wind developments within the DPO. This would be considered on a project by project basis.

Figure 255 East region: NCMPA sites

Figure 255 East region: NCMPA sites

Figure 256 East region: marine and coastal SAC sites

Figure 256 East region: marine and coastal SAC sites

Figure 257 East region: marine and coastal SSSI sites

Figure 257 East region: marine and coastal SSSI sites

Figure 258 East region: marine and coastal SPA sites

Figure 258 East region: marine and coastal SPA sites

Water and Sediment Quality

7.4.7 WFD monitoring incorporates coastal and transitional waters in the marine environment. There are no overlaps between the DPOs and classified water bodies within the East region. The water bodies in the East region are shown in Figure 259. The majority of the coastal water bodies in the northern extent of the East region are classified as high status,[342] with the majority of the water bodies in the southern extent classified as good. There are two water bodies in the East region below good status, one (Middle Forth Estuary) at moderate condition, the other (Leith Docks to Port Seton) is currently classified as poor due to poor ecological potential and morphology.

7.4.8 There are no areas of protected waters for shellfish production in the East region.

7.4.9 There are a large number of classified bathing waters in the East region (Figure 260). Of the 45 designated bathing waters in the East region, 15 are at excellent status, 25 are at good status or at target objective and 5 are currently classified as poor.

Figure 259 East region: WFD coastal and transitional waterbody classifications

Figure 259 East region: WFD coastal and transitional waterbody classifications

Figure 260 East region: bathing water protected areas

Figure 260 East region: bathing water protected areas

Benthic Habitats and Species

7.4.10 As identified in Section 7.2 above and on Figure 261, the benthic habitats in the East region are characterised by muddy sediments within the Firth of Forth, with gravelly sediment beyond before graduating through sand generally within the region of the DPO to muddier sediments further offshore. The DPO within the East region are all characterised by sandy sediments with some small areas of mixed sediments.

7.4.11 There is limited diversity in the benthic species present in the East region. The key PMF species present within the East region are ocean quahog, with some records of fan mussel. The ocean quahog records, shown in Figure 262, are principally inshore of the DPO to the east of the Firth of Forth (E1). The one record of fan mussel within the East region falls within E3, as shown on Figure 262.

7.4.12 In addition to the PMFs present within the DPOs there are PMF supported by benthic habitats landwards of the DPOs, including further seagrass, sea pens, fireworks anemone, maerl and ocean quahog.

Figure 261 East region: benthic habitats

Figure 261 East region: benthic habitats

Figure 262 East region: records of benthic PMF

Figure 262 East region: records of benthic PMF

Fish

7.4.13 There is generally lower species richness and diversity amongst the fish population in the East region in comparison to that found in the North and West regions. There are, however, a number of species within the region that are important commercially, as discussed in Section 7.3 above.

7.4.14 There are a number of migratory fish which migrate through the seas within the East region into the estuary and riverine environments, including Atlantic salmon and sea lamprey. The migration routes for these species (Figure 44 above in Section 2.3 shows the approximate routes, although should not be used to infer "safe" zones) indicate there is potential for the routes to intersect with the DPOs, particularly when transiting from the North Sea into the Firth of Forth.

7.4.15 Usage of the seas within the East region by shark species is also generally lower than for the West and North regions, although a number of elasmobranch species, including small numbers of basking sharks, rays and other shark species, are known to frequent the region with small numbers of sightings in the Firth of Forth.

7.4.16 The East region also is an important spawning ground for fish species including herring, cod, whiting and plaice with some high-intensity spawning grounds for sandeels; high-intensity nursery grounds for herring, whiting, cod and low-intensity nursery grounds for ling, mackerel, plaice, anglerfish, sandeels and hake. Whilst there is a lack of data available to show available spawning sites for elasmobranch species, there are many known nursery ground areas in the area, which overlap the DPOs, including spurdog, tope, common skate, spotted rays, with high-intensity nursery grounds for spurdog and neighbouring common skate nursery grounds.[343]

Marine Mammals

7.4.17 The distribution and species richness of the East region marine mammal population is similar to that described for the North East above in Section 6.4.

7.4.18 Both grey and harbour seals are present in the area, concentrated around breeding populations in the Firth of Forth (Figure 263 for breeding and haulout sites and Figure 264 and Figure 265 for grey and harbour seal distributions respectively). The grey seal populations are known to forage further offshore than harbour seals, the sea usage of which is generally limited in the East region to the Firth of Forth. As a result, the grey seal is considerably more likely to interact with the DPOs, and there is some overlap of medium sea usage within E1, with higher sea usage in E3 and the western end of E2.

7.4.19 Cetacean usage of the seas in the East region is similar to that of the North East with high encounter rates of harbour porpoise, bottlenose dolphin, white beaked dolphin and minke whale.[344] In addition, there are wider areas in the east region where encounters with Atlantic white-sided dolphin are recorded.

7.4.20 The Firth of Tay has been identified as an area of high concentration of bottlenose dolphin,[345] although survey effort was concentrated close to the coastline and therefore does not overlap with the DPOs.

7.4.21 There are two riverine environments within the East region identified as important for otter populations (River Dee), The mouth of the river in Aberdeen is approximately 15km inshore of DPO E3, with all other DPOs further in distance from any areas identified for otter usage. The nature of the DPO offshore and in deeper water suggests that there is unlikely to be any direct interaction between otter populations and offshore wind developments, however siting of cable landfalls have the potential to intersect otter habitat.

Figure 263 East region: seal haulout sites and grey seal pupping sites

Figure 263 East region: seal haulout sites and grey seal pupping sites

Figure 264 East region: grey seal at sea usage

Figure 264 East region: grey seal at sea usage

Figure 265 East region: harbour seal at sea usage

Figure 265 East region: harbour seal at sea usage

Birds

7.4.22 The importance of the East region to birds is demonstrated in the designation of 9 SPAs and the further 2 proposed SPAs with marine elements with additional terrestrial sites, as discussed above.

7.4.23 There are both breeding and non-breeding populations of a wide variety of seabirds in the East region. Several significant seabird colonies are found around the coastlines, particularly on the coastline to the north and south of Aberdeen, and in the southern extent of the Firth of Forth.

7.4.24 The majority of the seabird colonies within the East region are reviewed as part of the SPA management process, and in the majority of SPA the overall condition of the seabird or waterbird assemblages, with the exception of Forth Islands SPA and St Abbs Head to Fast Castle SPA, are assessed as favourable. However, at an individual species level a number of species are identified as being in unfavourable condition, and therefore management measures are in place to reduce pressure on these species. Species of importance in the East region include herring gull, shag, razorbill, kittiwake, Arctic tern, common tern, gannet, lesser black-backed gull, roseate tern, sandwich tern, puffin, fulmar, guillemot, shag and cormorant, in addition to a number of terrestrial or waterbird species. Wakefield et al[346] identify that the coastal seas throughout the East region are utilised by considerable numbers of seabirds. The areas of high usage identified in the multi-species analysis within the study correspond with the areas of high recording shown in Figure 266. Seabird usage of the seas to the east, further offshore, is assessed as being lower.

7.4.25 Figure 266 maps the total records of birds recorded in the marine environment in the East region. Whilst the data mapped has not been corrected for survey effort, it highlights areas of high importance, particularly in the outer Firth of Forth and associated with the seabird colonies on the coast to the north of Aberdeen, although recordings are high in coastal areas across the North East region. The DPOs are largely in areas of lower recording, noting that this may be an artefact of lower survey effort. The exception to this is DPO E3, which is closer to the seabird colonies on the coast and therefore sits in seas of higher usage.

7.4.26 There are also a small number of coastal areas identified as either IBA or RSPB reserves in the East region, concentrated around the Firths of Forth and Tay, with some associated with seabird colonies on the coastline to the north and south of Aberdeen (Figure 266).

7.4.27 In addition to breeding populations within the East region, terrestrial and seabird bird species are known transit the area as migratory species, both during day and night time.

Figure 266 East region: ESAS records per 0.1 degree cell

Figure 266 East region: ESAS records per 0.1 degree cell

Cultural Heritage

7.4.28 There is one Historic MPA (Campania Historic MPA), shown on Figure 267, designated in the East region, associated with a historic shipwreck in the Firth of Forth.

7.4.29 In addition to the Historic MPA, there are a number of scheduled monuments (including protected wrecks) within the East region. Those in the marine environment are concentrated around the coast and include a wide range of historically significant buildings, shipwrecks and structures. There are five shipwrecks designated for the protection of military remains, all located just outside the Firth of Forth. There is no overlap of protected sites and the DPOs. There are additionally numerous other shipwrecks distributed throughout the East region, both within and outwith the DPOs, although the majority are concentrated towards the coastline and within the Firth of Forth.

7.4.30 Within the East region, there are several areas within the have the potential to be examples of palaeolandscapes (landscapes which have become submerged following occupation by hominids), There is therefore potential that these areas may contain some culturally significant archaeological artefacts. These include areas that may overlap with the shallower DPOs. Further assessment on a smaller scale would be required on a project by project basis.

Figure 267 East region: Historic MPA

Figure 267 East region: Historic MPA

Landscape / Seascape

7.4.31 Within the East region, as for the North East region landscapes and seascapes are considered to be less sensitive in comparison to the North and West regions. No NSAs have been designated within the region.

7.4.32 Candidate SLA which have been identified by the City of Edinburgh Council are over 100km from the nearest DPOs.

7.4.33 When considering the sensitivity of the coastline Scott et al[347] identified that the coastline within the East region associated with mainland Scotland is of medium or low to medium sensitivity, due to the simple landform and general absence of focal features. The two areas identified by Scott et al. as medium sensitivity are associated with the Firths of Forth and Tay, both of which are over 80km from the nearest DPOs. The DPOs nearest to the coastline (E3 approximately 15km east of the coastline near Aberdeen) is located adjacent to coastline identified by Scott et al. as of low to medium sensitivity.

7.5 Planning Issues

7.5.1 There are eight local authorities with coastal interests within the East region:

  • Aberdeenshire,
  • Aberdeen City,
  • Angus,
  • Dundee City,
  • Fife,
  • City of Edinburgh,
  • East Lothian, and
  • Scottish Borders

7.5.2 Aberdeenshire Council in 2004[348] identified that the 250km coastline in the region offered unexplored potential for offshore wind, however there is no further guidance or consideration of offshore wind in documentation with the exception of considering siting for sub-stations.

7.5.3 The Aberdeen City Council, in its sustainable energy action plan,[349] identifies the potential for offshore wind installations to support its objective to increase the share of alternative technologies producing energy to the consumers. It identifies the role that it can play in supporting the development of the supply chain within the city. As part of this Aberdeen City Council have been involved in the establishment of the Aberdeen Renewables Energy Group, which seeks to support companies developing capacity to support offshore wind.

7.5.4 Angus Council recognises its role in inputting to the application process for offshore wind farms, and notes its involvement in the development for the landfall and transmission of energy produced by offshore wind farms, both current and future.[350] Further, Angus Council has previously identified that it may request Marine Scotland to seek £5000 per megawatt installed capacity per annum for community benefits from offshore wind developers.[351]

7.5.5 Following on from identification as a strategically important port location for marine renewable development Dundee City Council has sought to unlock opportunities in the Offshore Wind sector, through the creation of Energy Dundee and through development of training schemes to support the energy industry.[352] Planning was previously consented for the development of the port area to support renewables; however, construction was not undertaken and planning consent has now lapsed.

7.5.6 Fife Council recognises its role in the consenting process for offshore wind is limited to the supporting onshore infrastructure, for servicing facilities and for cable landfalls. It does, however, identify potential for impacts from offshore wind on the seascape and environment, alongside potential socio-economic benefits for the region.[353]

7.5.7 City of Edinburgh Council has not directly addressed the potential for offshore wind in the sea adjacent to the city, and notes in its Sustainable Energy Development Plan only that there is limited potential for wind energy development within the city.

7.5.8 East Lothian Council recognises[354] the potential for future offshore wind development in the Firth of Forth, identifying that harbours within the Council's area of responsibility have the potential to support the offshore wind installations. However, the LDP notes that the harbours should be prioritised for current uses (specifically including fishing). In addition, the LDP notes that there are currently consented sub-stations for cable landfalls and expects developers to reduce potential impacts by combining infrastructure, particularly identifying the potential for impacts on historic assets on or near the coasts.[355] Similar to the City of Edinburgh Council SLA identifies the potential for its coastline to be impacted by Wind Turbines in the Supplementary Planning Guidance,[356] however these areas are approximately 60km from the nearest DPOs.

7.5.9 The Scottish Borders Council does not consider offshore wind within its guidance on renewable energy, although it notes that the only restrictions on the placement of wind energy installations within its jurisdiction are the two NSA, both of which are inland and would not be impacted by offshore wind.

7.6 Responding to this Consultation

7.6.1 We are inviting responses to this consultation by 25 March 2020.

7.6.2 Please respond to this consultation using the Scottish Government's consultation hub, Citizen Space (http://consult.gov.scot). Access and respond to this consultation online at https://consult.gov.scot/marine-scotland/draft-sectoral-marine-plan-for-offshore-wind/. You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date of 25 March 2020.

7.6.3 If you are unable to respond using our consultation hub, please complete the Respondent Information Form to:

Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy Consultation

Scottish Government
Marine Planning and Policy Division
Area GB North
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ

Handling your response

7.6.4 If you respond using the consultation hub, you will be directed to the About You page before submitting your response. Please indicate how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are content for your response to published. If you ask for your response not to be published, we will regard it as confidential, and we will treat it accordingly.

7.6.5 All respondents should be aware that the Scottish Government is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and would therefore have to consider any request made to it under the Act for information relating to responses made to this consultation exercise.

7.6.6 If you are unable to respond via Citizen Space, please complete and return the Respondent Information Form included in this document.

7.6.7 To find out how we handle your personal data, please see our privacy policy: https://beta.gov.scot/privacy/

Next steps in the process

7.6.8 Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at http://consult.gov.scot. If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.

7.6.9 Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.

Comments and complaints

7.6.10 If you have any comments about how this consultation exercise has been conducted,

7.6.11 please send them to the contact address above or at sectoralmarineplanning@gov.scot

Scottish Government consultation process

7.6.12 Consultation is an essential part of the policymaking process. It gives us the opportunity to consider your opinion and expertise on a proposed area of work.

7.6.13 You can find all our consultations online: http://consult.gov.scot. Each consultation details the issues under consideration, as well as a way for you to give us your views, either online, by email or by post.

7.6.14 Responses will be analysed and used as part of the decision making process, along with a range of other available information and evidence. We will publish a report of this analysis for every consultation. Depending on the nature of the consultation exercise the responses received may:

  • indicate the need for policy development or review
  • inform the development of a particular policy
  • help decisions to be made between alternative policy proposals
  • be used to finalise legislation before it is implemented

7.6.15 While details of particular circumstances described in a response to a consultation exercise may usefully inform the policy process, consultation exercises cannot address individual concerns and comments, which should be directed to the relevant public body


Contact

Email: drew.milne@gov.scot