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
5 How the opinions expressed by consultation bodies and the public have been taken into account

5 How the opinions expressed by consultation bodies and the public have been taken into account

5.1.1 As referred to in Section 1, the Scottish Government has undertaken two rounds of consultation as part of the development of the Plan. Firstly, in June 2018, the Scottish Government consulted on the scoping stage of this planning process. The consultation ran for a period of five weeks from 13 June 2018 to 18 July 2018. A summary of the scoping and post-scoping consultation can be found in the Consultation Analysis Report published in December 2019.[18]

5.1.2 The responses received during this scoping consultation subsequently informed the development of the SEA, which incorporated guidance from the consultation bodies on the assessment.

5.1.3 The SEA was published alongside the Draft Plan on 18 December 2019 and the consultation ran until 25 March 2020, a total of 14 weeks. The Draft Plan and supporting documents were made available on the Scottish Government website and supported by a series of 17 public events around Scotland during February and March 2020, with a further stakeholder event in London in March 2020. A summary of the results of consultation on the Draft Plan and further documentation (SEA, HRA, SEIA, RLG, ICIA and EQIA) can be found in the Consultation Analysis Report published in July 2020[19].

5.1.4 The consultation returned a total 195 responses representing 84 organisational respondents (Listed in Appendix C) and 362 individual respondents (a number of the individual respondents were treated as a collective single response having been submitted as part of a petition or a family). The way in which consultation responses have informed the further development of the Plan are summarised in Table 3 below.

5.1.5 During the consultation two transboundary responses were received, one from the Isle of Man, and one from Denmark. The response from the Isle of Man highlighted potential concerns regarding navigational safety associated with the DPO SW1, which was taken into account in the removal of the site as a Plan Option. Denmark did not raise specific concerns, beyond recognising potential impacts associated with development which will need further assessment at project level, as required by the Plan.

Table 3 Review of consultation outcomes

Consultation Question

Short summary of response / issue raised

How feedback has been taken into account

1. Do you support the selection of the following Draft Plan Options?

SW1

A total of 328 respondents somewhat (7) or strongly (321) opposed this DPO, whilst 38 strongly supported or somewhat supported its selection. This DPO was the most strongly opposed of all 17 DPOs.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. One membership organisation submitted an objection to the selection of this DPO on behalf of its members.

Over 250 responses highlighted concerns regarding the potential adverse effects on seascape, landscape and coastal character and attendant impacts on the local economy, including tourism.

One public body, with specific expertise, noted that it was strongly opposed to SW1 on the basis of navigational safety.

This DPO has not been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option, due to concerns regarding the potential scale of negative socio-economic impacts in this region (including negative impacts on seascape, landscape and coastal character).

DPO Removed

W1

A total of 25 respondents somewhat or strongly opposed this DPO, with 34 strongly supporting or somewhat supporting its selection.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential commercial shipping impacts along the western boundary.

SNH also made specific comments regarding potential seascape, landscape and coastal character impacts due to the proximity to shore and designated/important landscapes.

This DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option, but has been reduced in area across all boundaries, in order to mitigate potential negative impacts on a range of sectors, including commercial shipping and seascape, landscape and coastal character.

DPO Boundaries Amended

N1

A total of 27 respondents somewhat or strongly opposed this DPO, whilst 36 somewhat or strongly supported its selection.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. The fishing sector provided recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

This DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option and the Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

No Amendments Made

N2

A total of 22 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 34 somewhat or strongly supported its selection.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. One membership organisation submitted an objection to the selection of this DPO on behalf of its members.

Responses further highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on seascape, landscape and coastal character due to the proximity to shore and existing protected/designated landscapes.

The DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option and the Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

No Amendments Made

N3

A total of 21 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 37 respondents strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. The fishing sector provided recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

The DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option and the Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

No Amendments Made

N4

A total of 20 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 33 respondents strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

Navigational safety interests highlighted particular risks to the Deep Water Shipping Route.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential impacts on seascape, landscape and coastal character – given the DPO's proximity to shore. Potential negative impacts on bird colonies, given the DPO's proximity to these colonies, were also highlighted by respondents.

This DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option without amendments.

Concerns regarding navigational safety have already been taken into account during the formulation of this DPO and can be addressed at a project-level, if required.

Further project-level assessment and engagement will be required to identify and mitigate any significant effects arising from the proposal(s).

No Amendments Made

NE1

A total of 22 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 39 respondents strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

This DPO received the second highest level of support for its inclusion out of all DPOs (equal to NE2, NE8 and E2).

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. The fishing sector provided recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

Responses also highlighted that the site overlaps the 12 nautical mile boundary, and therefore, any proposals would be subject to the Shetland Island Council's marine work licensing regime.

This DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option, but the portion of the site which overlaps with the Shetland Island Council's work licensing regime has been removed to reduce potential administrative burdens.

The Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

DPO Boundaries Amended

NE2

A total of 32 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 39 respondents strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

This DPO received the second highest level of support for its inclusion out of all DPOs (equal to NE1, NE8 and E2).

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. The fishing sector provided recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

Respondents also supported the application of plan-level mitigation measures to address potential adverse effect(s) on site integrity arising from development within this DPO.

This DPO has been chosen for inclusion as a final Plan Option, but has been reduced in area by 26% - in order to avoid the areas of highest existing fishing activity highlighted by the fishing sector in its response.

The Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

This DPO remains subject to the application of plan-level mitigation measures to address concerns regarding potential impacts on key seabird species and colonies.

DPO Boundaries Reduced

NE3

A total of 31 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 41 strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

This DPO received the highest level of support for its inclusion out of all DPOs.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. The fishing sector provided recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

Respondents also supported the application of plan-level mitigation measures to address potential adverse effect(s) on site integrity arising from development within this DPO.

This DPO has been chosen for inclusion as a final Plan Option, but has been reduced in area by 22% - in order to avoid some of the areas of highest existing fishing activity highlighted by the fishing sector in its response. The fishing sector had proposed a reduction of 73% of the area of the DPO, however, this would render the site commercially unviable and limit opportunities to mitigate impacts on other receptors (as required) at a project-level.

The Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

This DPO remains subject to the application of plan-level mitigation measures to address concerns regarding potential impacts on key seabird species and colonies.

DPO Boundaries Reduced

NE4

A total of 38 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 36 strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. One membership organisation submitted an objection to the selection of this DPO on behalf of its members.

Respondents highlighted that development may constrict traffic and that they would only support development in the south-western portion of the DPO due to these concerns.

Respondents also supported the application of plan-level mitigation measures to address potential adverse effect(s) on site integrity arising from development within this DPO.

This DPO has been chosen for inclusion as a final Plan Option without amendments.

This DPO remains subject to the application of plan-level mitigation measures to address concerns regarding potential impacts on key seabird species and colonies.

It is considered that navigational safety concerns can be addressed via project-level mitigation measures identified via further assessment and engagement.

No Amendments Made

NE5

A total of 37 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 36 respondents strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. One membership organisation submitted an objection to the selection of this DPO on behalf of its members.

This DPO has not been chosen to progress as a final Plan Option due to the potential cumulative impacts on the fishing sector arising from development in this DPO, in-combination with existing and consented projects and other DPOs.

DPO Removed

NE6

A total of 33 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 38 respondents strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. The fishing sector provided recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

One public body, with specific expertise, noted that it was strongly opposed to NE6 on the basis of navigational safety.

Respondents supported the application of plan-level mitigation measures to address potential adverse effect(s) on site integrity arising from development within this DPO, although a proportion of respondents queried whether removal of other DPOs in this region would provide additional capacity that would allow NE6 to proceed without the application of plan-level mitigation measures.

This DPO has been chosen to progress as a final Plan Option, without any amendments.

It is considered that navigational safety concerns can be addressed via project-level mitigation measures identified via further assessment and engagement.

The publication of updated foraging ranges for key seabird species (December 2019, published as part of The Crown Estate's Round 4 Enabling Actions programme) provides further scientific evidence regarding the scale of potential impacts arising from development within NE6. Therefore, NE6 remains subject to the application of plan-level mitigation measures to address concerns regarding potential impacts on key seabird species and colonies.

The Scottish Government, as the Responsible Authority, is currently preparing the Appropriate Assessment for the final Plan. This Appropriate Assessment will consider the potential likely significant effects of the Plan and whether any further mitigation measures are required.

No Amendments Made

NE7

A total of 39 respondents strongly (32) or somewhat (7) opposed this DPO, whilst 37 strongly (30) or somewhat (7) supported its selection.

This DPO received the second highest number of objections (second to SW1) out the DPOs selected.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. One membership organisation submitted an objection to the selection of this DPO on behalf of its members.

This DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option, subject to amendments to its boundary. The area of the DPO will be reduced by 34%, in order to avoid the areas of the highest levels of fishing activity identified via consultation and analysis.

The Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

DPO Boundaries Reduced

NE8

A total of 36 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst a total of 39 strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

This DPO received the second highest level of support for its inclusion out of all DPOs (equal to NE1, NE2 and E2).

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. The fishing sector provided recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

This DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option, subject to amendments to its boundary to reduce the total area of the DPO by 15% (in order to avoid the areas of highest levels of fishing activity – identified via consultation and analysis).

The Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

DPO Boundaries Reduced

E1

A total of 26 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 37 respondents strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. One membership organisation submitted an objection to the selection of this DPO on behalf of its members. The fishing sector, however, did provide recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

One public body, with specific expertise, stated that it would not support development in the western-most part of the DPO, due to potential in-combination impacts arising from development within DPOs E1 and E3.

This DPO has been chosen for selection as a final Plan Option, subject to a minor amendment to the DPO boundary, reducing the total area of the DPO by 2% (along the northern edge of the DPO).

This reduction has been applied to address the concerns raised by the commercial fishing sector (avoiding an area of higher levels of activity). This reduction does not fully address the concerns raised and further project-level assessment will be required to identify and mitigate any significant adverse effects arising from any proposal(s). This is a large option with significant room for negative impacts to be avoided through spatial planning at a project level.

The Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

DPO Boundaries Reduced

E2

A total of 19 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 39 respondents strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

This DPO received the second highest level of support for its inclusion out of all DPOs (equal to NE1, NE2 and NE8).

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. The fishing sector provided recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

This DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option, without any amendments.

The Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing level of fishing activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

No Amendments Made

E3

A total of 19 respondents strongly or somewhat opposed this DPO, whilst 36 respondents strongly or somewhat supported its selection.

Responses highlighted concerns regarding potential negative impacts on existing commercial fishing activity within the DPO. The fishing sector provided recommendations for the reduction of the area of the DPO.

One public body, with specific expertise, stated that it would not support development in the western-most part of the DPO, due to potential in-combination impacts arising from development within DPOs E1 and E3.

This DPO has been chosen for progression as a final Plan Option without any amendments.

The Regional Locational Guidance and final Plan will include details of the existing levels of fishing and shipping activity and highlight the need for consideration of adequate project-level mitigation measures to address any significant negative impacts identified via further assessment.

No Amendments Made

2. Do you agree with the definition of commercial scale offshore wind farm projects as being projects capable of generating over 100 MW of electricity?

There was some uncertainty in the responses to this question, with 101 respondents choosing not to answer. Responses were split between whether to lower (27), retain (30) or increase (35) the threshold.

Primarily, support to increase the threshold came from the Energy sector, who consider that an increase would support the deployment of larger test and demonstration projects.

The fishing sector predominantly supported lowering the threshold, in order to see the widest range of possible offshore wind farm projects being captured within the cumulative impact assessment.

The definition of commercial scale offshore wind farms, for the purposes of the Final Plan, will remain as 'projects capable of generating over 100 MW of electricity'. Project proponents for projects capable of generating less than 100 MW of electricity should contact CES directly to discuss potential leasing options.

3. Do you agree that the scientific evidence presented demonstrates that DPOs NE2-6 and E3 are subject to high levels of ornithological constraint and, therefore, the mitigation measures outlined in the Draft Plan should be applied to these DPOs?

Of the 38 respondents who answered this question, 21 agreed with the proposal and 17 disagreed.

Most of the respondents who disagreed were individuals, although 5 respondents were drawn from the Energy sector.

Support for this proposal was drawn from a range of sectors.

Several responses from the Energy sector (both in agreement and disagreement) stated that NE6 should be excluded from this measure.

Some respondents queried whether this measure should be applied to additional sites, including SW1, NE7, NE8, E1 and E2). Some responses further considered whether this measure should be expanded to include other receptors, including marine mammals and herring spawning grounds.

The publication of updated foraging ranges for key seabird species (December 2019, published as part of The Crown Estate's Round 4 Enabling Actions programme) provides further scientific evidence regarding the scale of potential impacts arising from development within NE6. Therefore, NE6 remains subject to this mitigation measure.

The Scottish Government, as the Responsible Authority, has prepared an Appropriate Assessment for the final Plan. This Appropriate Assessment considers the potential likely significant effects of the Plan and whether any further mitigation measures are required.

Annex D provides further detail regarding further research work required under this Plan.

4. Do you agree that the scientific evidence presented demonstrates the requirements for further regional-level survey work within DPOs E1 and E2?

A total of 23 respondents supported this requirement, whilst 18 disagreed and 64 respondents stated that they did not know.

Support for the measure was primarily drawn from individuals (11) and non-specific sectors (6). Whilst 4 Energy sector respondents agreed with the measure, 12 Energy sector respondents did not support it.

Opposition related to the potential impacts on timescales resulting from the need to gather and analyse further data. The level of scientific certainty surrounding the conclusion of an adverse effect on site integrity was also raised. JNCC and RSPB consider that these sites should be included in the plan-level mitigation measure (covered by question 3 above).

The publication of updated foraging ranges for key seabird species (December 2019, published as part of The Crown Estate's Round 4 Enabling Actions programme) provides further scientific evidence regarding the scale of potential impacts arising from development within E1 and E2. Therefore, this mitigation measure has been retained within the final Plan.

The Scottish Government, as the Responsible Authority, has prepared an Appropriate Assessment for the final Plan. This Appropriate Assessment considers the potential likely significant effects of the Plan and whether any further mitigation measures are required.

Annex D provides further detail regarding further research work required under this Plan.

5. Do you have any comments regarding the proposed approach to iterative plan review?

The majority of responses were supportive of the proposed approach, from across a range of sectors.

Responses generally called for greater clarity and transparency regarding the process.

Annex E provides further detail regarding how the iterative plan review process will be undertaken.

6. Do you have any comments regarding the proposed formation and role of the Advisory Group?

Numerous comments regarding the composition of the group were submitted. Responses formed a general consensus that a wide range of expertise from different sectors should be drawn upon and the Consultation Analysis Report (see section 3.7.1) outlines the suggested membership in detail.

Responses generally called for greater clarity and transparency regarding the process.

Annex E provides further detail regarding how the iterative plan review process will be undertaken.

7. Do you have any further comments or points that you think should be taken into account in the plan?

A number of comments were received regarding the regions and the overall Plan. A total of 46 responses commented on national issues (with 18 of these drawn from the Energy sector), whilst 22 responses were submitted regarding the various regions (primarily in relation to the South West – with 11 specific comments on this region, primarily from individuals (8)).

Issues highlighted in this question included:

  • Opportunities for multi-use (e.g. aquaculture, seaweed and the utilisation of hybrid technology, such as hydrogen production);
  • Decarbonisation in local communities;
  • Clarification regarding the national, regional and individual DPO development scenarios (included at Table 1 of the Draft Plan);
  • The density assumption underpinning the assessment work;
  • Consideration of onshore and offshore grid transmission infrastructure;
  • Further detail regarding the process surrounding potential derogation procedures (Article 6(4) of the Habitats Directive);
  • Co-location of offshore wind and fishing activity;
  • Impacts on ports and harbours;
  • Transboundary impacts; and
  • The planning process to date.

The Draft Plan includes a statement of support for the progression of multi-use or hybrid technologies and this statement has been reiterated in the final Plan.

The Scoping and Post-Scoping Consultation Analysis Report (published December 2019) provides further detail regarding the planning process to date, including the underpinning assumptions used in the Sustainability Appraisal (see further, page 56 regarding the density assumption).

Annex E provides further detail regarding how the iterative plan review process will be undertaken and the governance structure for the Plan.

Neighbouring countries that may be subject to transboundary impacts were consulted in line with the legislation and further project-level assessment will be required to identify and assess any transboundary impacts, e.g. on migratory bird species, as a result of project level proposals.

8. Do you have any comments on the Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report?

A total of 74 comments were made on the Strategic Environmental Assessment report, primarily from individuals (33) and the Energy sector (16).

Individual responses were primarily focussed on the fishing sector and South West region (in relation to visual impact and tourism).

Eleven respondents from the Energy sector consider that there is a lack of information regarding 'reasonable alternatives', including an assessment of the 'do nothing' alternative and the rationale for the selection of DPOs. In addition, three of the responses sought additional information regarding how the maximum realistic development scenarios were developed.

Further points raised by small numbers of respondents are:

  • Assessment regarding grid connection infrastructure;
  • Aviation risks should be managed at a policy level;
  • Further technology specific detail;
  • Additional project-level mitigation measures could be identified;
  • Additional data on migratory fish (specifically Atlantic salmon) (regarding migratory routes and potential visual disturbance) should be considered.

Further project level environment impact assessment is required. This will consider the impacts of development at a more detailed level and provide further clarity regarding the scale of potential local, regional and national impacts (and transboundary impacts, if appropriate).

The SEA will not be updated to reflect the comments received during this consultation process, however, where data gaps have been highlighted by respondents, further consideration of these issues will take place via the iterative plan review process and Advisory Group.

Information outlining how the maximum realistic development scenarios were developed is included in the Sustainability Appraisal and Draft Plan. This information will be repeated in the final Plan for clarity, including the implications for the first cycle of ScotWind leasing.

The Scoping and Post-Scoping Consultation Analysis Report (published December 2019) provides further detail regarding the planning process to date, including the underpinning assumptions used in the Sustainability Appraisal (see page 56 of the Sustainability Appraisal regarding the density assumption). An iterative approach has been taken to the planning process, with consideration of potential environmental, economic and social considerations during all phases.

SW1 has not been selected to progress as a final Plan Option, due to the scale of impacts assessed in the Sustainability Appraisal and the comments received during this consultation process.

Aviation impacts are being considered separately at a strategic level with key stakeholders. As a member of the Aviation Management Board, we will continue to ensure that Scottish interests, including radar issues which affect offshore developments, are considered fully and in a way which fits with Scotland's timescales and ambitions.

A research report, examining the implications of the DPOs for grid infrastructure requirements and development will be published in due course and considered via the iterative plan review process as appropriate.

It was agreed with key stakeholders, via the Screening and Scoping process, that a detailed assessment of potential offshore export cable routes to shore could not be undertaken – due to the level of uncertainties surrounding this. The SEA does, however, flag areas of sensitivity which should be considered when undertaking project planning and assessment (i.e. seal haul-out sites, key habitats).

9. Do you have any comments on the Habitats Regulations Appraisal?

Ten responses were received from individuals, who requested that additional protection was included, further consideration of fisheries interests was undertaken and that further assessment of the impacts of SW1 was required (in relation to ornithological, marine mammal and SSSI constraints).

Eight organisational responses stated that they concurred with or broadly agreed with the conclusions of the HRA, in some cases whilst offering additional comments.

Five organisations from the Energy or commercial fishing sectors questioned the outcome of the assessment. Nine responses from the Energy sector requested that consideration should be given to the decisions taken to consent offshore wind projects to date with the competent authorities concluding no AEOSI.

Five responses from the Energy sector, requested clarification about the potential for individual projects to progress by means of derogation under Article 6(4) of the Habitats Directive.

Five organisational responses identified that they considered there to be further assessment required for migratory birds, particularly in relation to SW1.

Five organisations highlighted the requirement for HRA updates to be undertaken upon receipt of updated evidence, three of which provided reference to specific new evidence they consider should be included: updated bird foraging ranges (Woodward et al., 2019) (2 responses) and 'as-built' data (as opposed to the outcome of assessments / modelling).

Five organisations recommended that a review of the mitigation presented was required, to ensure relevance and to clarify the extent to which projects might be required to adhere rigidly to the proposed mitigation measures.

The qualifying interests and species covered by the Habitats Regulations Appraisal are defined by the Habitats Directive and were agreed with the Project Board and two Steering Groups via the Screening and Scoping process. Therefore, the HRA will not be expanded to include additional species, habitats and interests not covered by this regime.

The Scottish Government, as the Responsible Authority, has prepared an Appropriate Assessment for the final Plan. This Appropriate Assessment considers the potential likely significant effects of the Plan and whether any further mitigation measures are required and includes consideration of the implications of the updated foraging ranges for the assessment undertaken.

Where data gaps have been highlighted by respondents, for example regarding migratory birds, further consideration of these issues will take place via the iterative plan review process and Advisory Group. Annex E provides further detail regarding how the iterative plan review process will be undertaken and the governance structure for the Plan.

10. Do you have any comments on the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment?

A total of 88 comments were made regarding the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment, primarily by individuals (41) and the Energy sector (17).


Individual comments predominantly focused on negative impacts to the fishing sector and the loss of tourism revenue. Seven individual responses highlighted the opportunities resulting from employment opportunities, energy supply and costs and opportunities for multi-use (i.e. co-location with hydrogen production)

Four of the organisational responses highlighted tourism as a specific concern. Eight responses specifically referenced SW1 and considered that the potential costs outweighed the potential benefits.

There was disagreement between the fishing and energy sectors regarding the scale of predicted potential negative impacts on the sector. The Energy sector challenged the application of the worst-case scenario in the SEIA (which assumed total cessation of fishing activity within the DPO area for the lifespan of the project, with no opportunities for displacement).

In addition, two responses from the Energy sector requested clarification about the policy assumption that the Energy sector would be required to address all costs to the aviation sector for radar replacement going forwards.

Further project-level socio economic impact assessment will be required, including the completion of Supply Chain Statements as part of applications to the first cycle of ScotWind leasing. This will consider the impacts of development at a more detailed level and provide further clarity regarding the scale of potential local, regional and national impacts.

SW1 has not been selected for progression as a final Plan Option, therefore concerns regarding the level of socio-economic benefit which would accrue to the area and potential negative socio-economic impacts which would occur locally (i.e. on the tourism and commercial fishing sectors) have been addressed.

In addition, a number of DPOs selected for progression as final Plan Options have been reduced or reshaped to avoid overlapping areas with existing high levels of fishing activity and shipping traffic (as outlined above).

The Scoping and Post-Scoping Consultation Analysis Report (published December 2019) provides further detail regarding the planning process to date, including the underpinning assumptions used in the Sustainability Appraisal (see page 56 of the Sustainability Appraisal regarding the density assumption).

Strategic work regarding the aviation sector is ongoing separate to this Plan, which will explore and address the concerns raised by the Energy sector. Refer to the Offshore Wind Policy Statement (2020).

11. Do you have any comments on the draft Regional Locational Guidance?

A total of 49 comments were made regarding the draft Regional Locational Guidance. Responses generally focused on the inclusion of additional sector-specific information, including;

  • Carbon capture and storage;
  • Ports and harbours;
  • Migratory birds;
  • Migratory fish;
  • Defence;
  • Fisheries;
  • Recreational angling;
  • Presence of radioactive particles in the North region; and
  • The cruise industry.

A finalised version of the Regional Locational Guidance has been published.

The maps included in the final Regional Locational Guidance have been fully labelled to address any potential confusion. Maps detailing the RSPB reserves have been replaced with maps detailing the location of Special Protection Areas and possible Special Protection Areas, as respondents highlighted this detail would be more useful.

Further consideration has been given to the inclusion of additional information regarding migratory fish, particularly diadromous fish. The Plan and RLG have been updated accordingly.

The Regional Locational Guidance will not be a 'live' document and will only be fully updated when the final Plan is refreshed. However, new and updated datasets are available on Marine Scotland Maps and Marine Scotland Information and can be used to inform site-selection.

12. Do you have any comments on the Sustainability Appraisal Report?

A total of 45 comments were made on the Sustainability Appraisal report, many of these are repeated in the responses to the individual reports (questions 8 to 11) and have not been repeated here. Two responses agreed with the assessment presented.

Two comments were raised in relation to the consideration of natural capital/ecosystems approach to assessment and the potential requirements for energy storage capacity to support the viability of offshore wind.

The outputs of the Sustainability Appraisal and comments received have been used to support the finalisation of the Plan.

Further research is ongoing in relation to energy storage and this will inform the planning process going forward, for example, via the iterative plan review process, as appropriate.

Annex E provides further detail regarding how the iterative plan review process will be undertaken and the governance structure for the Plan.

A natural capital/ecosystems services was not undertaken for the assessment. Further consideration will be given to the concept as the planning process progresses.

13. Would you add or change anything in the partial Equality Impact Assessment?

The majority of respondents (33) stated that no further changes were required, whilst 3 respondents stated that some changes were required.

One individual requested further consideration of age discrimination, one individual requested further consideration of the fisheries sector and one organisational response requested additional information to be included on the importance of subsea cables (including the importance of telecommunications).

The comments received have been noted, however, no further detailed analysis has been be undertaken on the basis of the comments received. The importance of further project-level consultation and engagement with potentially impacted communities has been emphasised in the final Plan and a finalised EQIA has been published.

14. Would you add or change anything in the partial Islands Communities Impact Assessment?

The majority of respondents (46) stated that no further changes were required, whilst 12 respondents stated that some changes were required.

Individual respondents suggested that the ICIA should be updated to included further detail regarding the benefits of offshore wind development for island communities - either reducing the need for more carbon intensive energy generation for isolated communities, and through potential for co-location with hydrogen / green fuel production retaining jobs in island communities as opposed to exporting energy to the national grid.

Organisational responses highlighted issues such as the importance of navigational safety to island communities, both regarding recreational boating and lifeline ferry services. Two responses addressed fisheries, and one recommending further information be collected for Shetland, and the other sought assurances that access to offshore wind development areas is retained, particularly for fixed gear fishermen.

One respondent highlighted the inclusion of subsea cabling as an industry of high importance for island communities in the provision of power / telecommunications.

The ICIA has been updated to reflect the final Plan Options and a finalised ICIA has been published.

The comments received have been noted, however, no further detailed analysis has been undertaken on the basis of the comments received. The importance of further project-level consultation and engagement with potentially impacted island communities will be emphasised in the final Plan.


Contact

Email: sectoralmarineplanning@gov.scot