The UK's seas offer an abundant source of energy in the form of wind, waves and tidal flows.
Harnessing power, whilst protecting the environment
Harnessing this power to generate electricity through offshore wind farms, wave and tidal devices could make an extremely important contribution to the carbon-free energy system we need in the UK if we are to combat the effects of climate change.
We want to see offshore renewables deployed, but not at any cost and certainly not at the cost of damage to our fantastic natural marine environment.
We believe there is significant opportunity for offshore renewables to exist alongside a marine environment that is protected, enhanced and resilient to future environmental pressures.
This is by no means an easy challenge.
This is especially true given that:
- The lack of a comprehensive network of designated marine protected areas, which would help steer development towards less sensitive locations.
- The fact offshore wind is a relatively modern industry with wave and tidal even more so. Past experience is lacking and monitoring of existing projects has not been as effective as it could be Environmental assessment must therefore rely on assumptions rather than empirical evidence which increases uncertainty and risks impacts to marine wildlife and habitats.
Our approach to help achieve offshore renewables that exists in harmony with the natural marine environment can be summarised as follows:
- Development at sea must be plan led. Government must focus on delivering marine spatial plans that help deliver sustainable development. These will include designation of a network of marine protected areas to help guide development to least sensitive locations.
- Proposals must undergo high quality environmental assessment and be supported by comprehensive environmental baseline data.
- Monitoring of offshore renewable must be strategic and prioritised and transparent to help improve knowledge and understanding and validate the predicted environmental impacts.