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”).
6 Reasons for selecting the Plan as adopted or "Finalisation of the Plan" (in light of reasonable alternatives considered)
6.1.1 The development of the Plan has been an iterative process informed throughout by relevant environmental information and which has given regular consideration to reasonable alternatives. These alternatives are confined to the consideration of alternative offshore wind opportunities, in line with the focus of the Plan.
6.1.2 The initial Areas of Search scoping work identified prospective Areas of Search, in line with the objective of the plan to identify locations for potential future offshore wind development in the period up to 2050 in Scottish waters, through a consideration of multiple constraints that would restrict potential for sustainable offshore wind development or where offshore wind development would be likely to negatively affect the environment, other sectors or users of the sea. These initial AoS were refined following consideration of feedback received through the initial consultation on the AoS, extended engagement with key stakeholders, preparation of the RLG, cross-sectoral steering group feedback and updated analysis resulting in the identification of 17 DPO areas in which offshore wind energy could potentially be sustainably pursued and which the Plan level assessments were based upon.
6.1.3 An assessment of reasonable alternatives has been undertaken at each of the assessment stages. The first stage of the assessment involved setting out the potential environmental effects associated with a range of alternative offshore wind technologies that could be implemented in Scottish marine waters.
6.1.4 The second stage was to apply the potential environmental effects identified in the first stage to spatial and locational constraints identified in the baseline data for each of the DPOs. The DPOs and subsequently the Plan Options (see Figure 3) themselves constituted reasonable alternatives as they represented different options for fulfilling the objectives of the Draft Plan, based on varying levels of constraint and opportunity.
6.1.5 The third stage in the assessment was to determine the potential cumulative environmental effects associated with development in multiple DPOs at a regional and national scale. For the assessment of cumulative effects at regional and national scales, three scenarios, relating to different realistic scales of possible future offshore wind development under the Plan in Scotland, have been considered. These three scenarios give indicative low, medium and high development scenarios of installed capacity at a regional and subsequently national scale. The SEA and SEIA use these scenarios to inform the assessment of a broad range of impact scenario.
6.1.6 The finalisation of the Plan, which developed the DPOs (Figure 2) into the Plan Options presented in the Final Plan (Figure 3), further took into account the findings of the Sustainability Appraisal, comprising the SEA, HRA and SEIA, and associated consultation with stakeholders and the public. As far as possible, key issues have been explicitly addressed in the Plan itself.
6.1.7 The iterative approach to the planning process has strengthened and clarified the Plan Options taken forwards and ensured that an appropriate balance of social, economic and environmental considerations has been achieved.
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