Publication - Strategy/plan

Sectoral marine plan: post adoption statement

Sets out the changes between the draft and final sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy in accordance with Section 18(3) of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 (“the 2005 Act”).

Sectoral marine plan: post adoption statement
B SEIA update note

B SEIA update note

B.1 Implications of updated Plan Options / data

The removal of some DPOs, and changes to boundaries of other DPOs, affects the potential impacts on activities assessed in the SEIA. The updated DPOs have taken into account feedback from commercial fishing, commercial shipping and from statutory bodies. No additional data is available to inform the SEIA update, therefore this update note focusses on how the updated plan options affect the previously assessed social and economic impacts in the form of a qualitative assessment and discussion of the changes.

B.1.1 Updates to DPOs

The updates to DPOs will alter the potential negative impacts on activities, based on how the boundary changes will affect the potential interaction with those activities.

The positive economic impacts from spend in the DPOs are only likely to be affected within a specific region where the boundary changes result in significant reductions in the area of the DPOs that then affect the level of development of offshore wind. These are only seen in the South West and North East regions; the overall supply chain benefits to Scotland are unlikely to be affected since the positive impacts previously allocated to the South West or North East regions are likely to be retained in Scotland based on a re-redistribution of spend across regions.

The impacts of fisheries and fishing communities drive many of the projected social impacts, so boundary changes that look to avoid important fishing areas will help to reduce potential negative effects. Knock-on social impacts associated with migration of people to take up jobs is linked to the change in positive economic impacts. The national impacts on fishing will be reduced, whole social impacts associated with migration to take up jobs may be re-distributed in line with the redistribution of positive economic impacts.

These aspects are discussed for each region in turn below.

South West region

SW1 has been removed from the plan. It was the only DPO in this region, and as a result all potential negative economic impacts previously identified in this region will not occur. For fisheries, this mostly affects vessels using mechanical dredges and pots and traps. The potential impacts on commercial shipping, tourism and recreation (boating and watersports) will also no longer occur.

With SW1 removed from the plan, there would be no positive economic impacts for the region due to there being no spend on wind farm development. The economic impacts as GVA and potential employment are therefore £0 and 0 across all scenarios. This is a reduction of £18 million (direct) to £38 million (Type II) for the low scenario and £74 million (direct) to £149 million (Type II) for the high scenario (GVA is given as total Present Value impacts over the 40 year timeframe). The projected reduction in maximum number of FTEs in any one year ranges from 31 (direct) to 53 (Type II) for the low scenario, to 245 (direct) to 426 (Type II) for the high scenario. These positive impacts could be picked up in another region such that the total national benefits could be unchanged.

Removal of the DPO means potential negative impacts such as on commercial fishing, seascape, landscape and coastal character will be avoided. This avoids potential loss of 0.2 to 0.7 FTEs in the fishing industry as a result of a reduction in the value of landings.

Social impacts associated with the additional demand on housing and services from migration of workers to take up jobs would also be avoided.

West region

There is only one DPO in the West region, and its boundaries have been reduced in order to mitigate potential negative impacts on a range of sectors, including commercial shipping and seascape, landscape and coastal character. This adjustment will reduce but not eliminate the potential costs to commercial shipping for having to divert around the area, and will reduce but not eliminate the potential costs to tourism related to visibility of arrays and their effect on seascape and landscape and coastal character. In addition, there will be a reduction in the impact as assessed on fishing vessels using pots and traps that operate in the area (21% of the previously assessed value of landings of over-12m vessels using pots and traps is no longer within the boundary of the DPO). It is noted that spatial planning at project level has the potential to further reduce socio-economic impacts.

The extent to which the positive economic impacts could be reduced in response to the reduction in area of the DPO will depend on whether spend per GW is reduced. The small reduction in size of the DPO identified may still enable the full GW to be deployed such that any change in positive economic impacts should be minimal, especially under the low and central scenarios. The maximum positive economic benefits are likely to remain unchanged from those presented in the consultation draft of the SEIA.

With 21% of the previously assessed value of landings associated with pots and traps now outside the boundary of the DPO, the impacts on commercial fishing are expected to be reduced. A 21% reduction would mean GVA losses reduce to £24,000 (low scenario, Type I) to £112,000 (high scenario, Type II) (from £30,500 to £142,000 per year)[20]. There would also be a change in impacts in terms of jobs, with this reducing to 0.4 FTEs (low scenario, Type I) to 1.7 FTEs (high scenario, Type II) (reduced from 0.5 FTEs to 2.2 FTEs). Most of the remaining impacts are expected to be seen in Oban. Consideration of the potential to mitigate these remaining negative impacts on fisheries is to be undertaken in the final plan.

As the total spend in West is not expected to decrease, social impacts associated with migration of workers to take up jobs generated as a result of the spend on wind farm development could still be expected to result in increases in demand for housing and services.

North region

No amendments have been made to the DPOs in the North region, therefore there are no changes to the potential negative economic impacts on activities.

As there is no change to the DPOs, the positive economic impacts are likely to remain unchanged from those presented in the consultation draft of the SEIA.

Although there is no change to the DPOs, the final plan is to consider how impacts on fishing can be mitigated to address any significant negative impacts. The impacts on fisheries are estimated to result in a reduction of GVA of £60,800 per year (low scenario, Type I) to £213,000 per year (high scenario, Type II). This would potentially affect 1.0 FTEs (low scenario, Type I) to 3.3 FTEs (high scenario, Type II) without mitigation. It is noted that spatial planning at project level has the potential to further reduce socio-economic impacts by avoiding more important areas for fishing or facilitating the continuation of fishing activities once construction is completed.

As with the West, total spend in the North region is not expected to decrease, therefore, social impacts associated with increased demand for housing and services from migration of workers to take up jobs could still be expected to occur. Due to the small increase in population expected, these impacts were identified as minor in the previous assessment.

North East region

There are a number of changes to DPOs in the North East region. NE5 has been removed and boundaries have been reduced for NE1, NE2, NE3, NE7 and NE8, all in response to feedback from the commercial fishing sector. Only NE4 and NE6 remain unchanged.

NE5 was removed due to concerns raised by the commercial fishing sector. Its removal means that the potential impacts on over-12m dredges and demersal trawls and seines, and under-12m demersal trawls and creelers will no longer occur (£803k, present value (PV) 2020-2059, 2019 prices). In addition, the potential impacts on commercial shipping (£6.4m, PV 2020-2059, 2019 prices) and recreational boating (£3.1k, PV 2020-2059) will also not occur.

In relation to the DPOs with boundary changes, the change to NE1 is minor and will marginally reduce the potential impact on over-12m demersal trawls.

The boundary change to NE2 significantly reduces the amount of over-12m demersal trawl and seine activity potentially affected by the DPO, by 67% and 48%, respectively. It may also reduce some of the potential impacts on the commercial shipping and power interconnector sectors.

The boundary change to NE3 reduces the over-12m demersal trawl and seine activity potentially affected, and significantly reduces the over-12m mechanical dredge activity potentially affected (79% of the value of landings previously within the DPO area is now no longer potentially affected). The boundary change may also reduce the potential impact on commercial shipping.

The boundary change to NE7 significantly reduces the over-12m demersal trawl and pelagic trawl activity potentially affected (61% and 65% respectively of the value of landings previously potentially affected is no longer within the revised boundaries of the DPO). The boundary change may also reduce the potential impact on commercial shipping.

The boundary change to NE8 significantly reduces the potential impact on over-12m demersal trawlers, and marginally reduces the potential impact on pelagic trawlers. The boundary change may also reduce the potential impact on commercial shipping.

With reductions in area for four DPOs and removal of one, there is potential for a reduction in the economic benefits realised in the region compared to those presented in the consultation draft of the SEIA, particularly under the high scenario. However, this is uncertain and the North East region is still likely to be an important area for development across Scotland, given the concentration of relevant marine engineering expertise.

Impacts on fishing across the North East region are estimated to be reduced by 44% as a result of the changes to the DPOs (based on change in value of landings affected). This would reduce the impacts on GVA of fishing to £55,000 per year (low scenario, Type I) to £192,000 (high scenario, Type II) (from £97,800 to £342,000 per year). This is equivalent to impacts on employment of 0.9 FTEs (low scenario, Type I) to 3.0 FTEs (high scenario, Type II) (reduced from 1.6 FTEs to 5.3 FTEs). With further consideration of the potential to mitigate negative impacts on fisheries to be undertaken in the final plan, these impacts could be reduced further. It is noted that spatial planning at project level has the potential to further reduce socio-economic impacts by avoiding more important areas for fishing or facilitating the continuation of fishing activities once construction is completed.

Any reduction in spend in the North East should the high scenario no longer be possible to deliver would reduce social impacts associated with migration to the region to take up jobs. Pressure on housing and services from increased demand could therefore be lower. These impacts were identified as minor in the previous assessment, potentially increasing to moderate under the high scenario. The reduction in potential spend could therefore mean the impacts are reduced to minor, although this change is uncertain.

East region

The boundary change to E1 is minor, but removes 85% of the previously potentially affected value of landings from over-12m mechanical dredge vessels.

The small change to E1 is not expected to impact on the potential of the area to deploy 1 GW (low), 2 GW (central) or 3 GW (high). As a result, the positive economic impacts are likely to remain unchanged from those presented in the consultation draft of the SEIA.

A reduction in impacts affecting mechanical dredging would reduce impacts on fishing in the region by around 85%. This would reduce impact on GVA to £2,700 per year (low scenario, Type I) to £9,600 (high scenario, Type II) (from £18,200 to £63,800 per year). The effects of employment are also significantly reduced, down to 0.05 FTEs (low scenario, Type I) to 0.15 FTEs (high scenario, Type II) (from 0.3 FTEs to 1 FTE). It is noted that spatial planning at project level has the potential to further reduce socio-economic impacts by avoiding more important areas for fishing or facilitating the continuation of fishing activities once construction is completed.

As with the West and North regions, total spend in the East region is not expected to decrease. This means that social impacts associated with increased demand for housing and services from migration of workers to take up relocated jobs could still occur. These impacts were identified as minor in the previous assessment.

B.1.2 Further information raised during consultation

No additional information was supplied by stakeholders as part of the consultation process which would change the understanding of potential social and economic effects.

Several examples of plotter data from fishing vessels were provided at consultation events as images or discussed verbally. As these data coincide with VMS, no modifications to the SEIA methodology were required.

B.2 Summary

The DPOs that have been retained and/or modified as part of the final Plan remain subject to Environmental Impact Assessment for individual project applications, which will enable any specific impacts and mitigation measures to be considered at project level.

The removal of some DPOs and adjustments to boundaries of other DPOs have the effect of reducing some of the previously-assessed cost impacts on commercial fisheries, particularly for demersal trawls and seines and pelagic trawls in the North East region, for dredges in the North East and South West regions, and for pots and traps in the South West and West regions. There are also reductions to the potential impacts on commercial shipping and tourism, particularly in the South West and West regions. Spatial planning at project level has the potential to further reduce socio-economic impacts.

The overall change in positive economic impacts from the reduction in DPOs is expected to be small. Other than in South West, where there is no DPO and, hence, no spend and no positive economic impacts, the main difference could be in North East region. Here, the reduction in size of four DPOs and removal of one DPO could mean that the high scenario (4.5 GW) is difficult to achieve, with this then resulting in a smaller level of GVA and employment impacts. However, this remains uncertain and North East region is likely to be an important centre for economic activity given its concentration of marine engineering expertise.

The main benefit from the changes to the DPOs is to fishing, with reduced impacts on fishing expected across all regions (although this is to be through consideration of further mitigation measures in the Final plan for the North since there is no change to the DPOs in the North region). The largest reduction in the level of absolute impacts is in the North East Region, which accounts for 85% of the reduction in cost impacts on the fishing sector as a result of the revisions to DPOs. This is followed by the West and South West regions which each account for 7% of the reduction in cost impacts. The South West (where all DPOs are removed) and East see the largest relative reduction in impacts on fisheries compared to the previously assessed impacts (100% and 85%, respectively). The relative reduction in impacts is smaller in the North East (44%) and West (21%) but still significant.

Social impacts due to increased demand for housing and services may only reduce in the North East region, assuming the high scenario can no longer be delivered and South West, due to there being no spend in that region. These social impacts would still be seen in West, North and East, being related to migration of people into those areas to take up the jobs that are created. However, the impacts are expected to be minor.


Contact

Email: sectoralmarineplanning@gov.scot