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UK Offshore Wind Expansion

By Eric Van Rees - 30th January 2020 - 07:57

Meeting the challenges of Article 6(4) of the Habitats Directive

Recognised Development Service Provider, ABPmer has published a White Paper that addresses the challenges facing UK offshore wind developers in meeting the requirements of Article 6(4) of the Habitats Directive.

Offshore wind expansion in UK waters is increasingly encountering problems in demonstrating compliance with the EU Birds & Habitats Directives, which rightly provide strict protection to Europe’s most important wildlife sites which form part of the Natura 2000 network.

The UK has ambitious plans to increase offshore wind installed capacity from 9.5 GW to at least 30 GW by 2030, with planning for around a further 20 GW promoted through plans being progressed by The Crown Estate and Scottish Government.

However, it seems likely that further large-scale expansion of offshore wind may not be able to demonstrate with certainty that adverse effects on the integrity of European sites will be avoided, particularly in relation to cumulative effects on some seabird species such as kittiwake, razorbill and gannet.

Stephen Hull, Business Development Director at ABPmer, said

“For such projects to proceed, developers will need to demonstrate that their proposals meet Article 6(4) before they can be granted approval. The strict tests of Article 6(4) only provide for projects to proceed where there are no less damaging alternatives, the projects are necessary for imperative reasons of overriding public interest and that compensatory measures are provided to fully offset the damage.

“While Article 6(4) has not yet been applied to offshore wind projects, there are lessons to be learned from applying these requirements to other marine developments.

“We have prepared this White Paper to help offshore wind developers understand and meet the requirements of Article 6(4).”

Using case examples from other sectors, the White Paper explores and considers compensatory measures that might be required to offset impacts from offshore wind projects on Natura 2000 sites and how these might be delivered.

Read More: Standards / Legislation Utilities Environmental

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