4. Environmental Impact Assessment Methodology
- This section describes the methodology that will be applied to the Proposed Development EIA. It outlines the methodology for the identification and evaluation of potential likely significant environmental effects (as defined in the EIA Regulations (see Appendix 4 Open ), and presents the proposed methodology for the identification and evaluation of potential cumulative and inter-related impacts, which includes due consideration of potential transboundary effects. A systematic and auditable evidence-based approach will be followed to evaluate and interpret the potential effects on physical, biological and human receptors.
4.2. Basis of Assessment
4.2.1. EIA Legislative Basis and Guidance Documents
- As discussed within section 1.5.3, in compliance with the EIA Directive (2011/92/EU, as amended by Directive 2014/52/EU) in applying for Section 36 consent and marine licences for the Proposed Development, an EIA Report is required. EIA will also be carried out for the planning permission application(s) for onshore infrastructure (above MLWS).
- In addition to the EIA Regulations described in section 1.5.3, the following Regulations will also be considered in the production of the Offshore EIAR:
- the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended);
- the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017;
- the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (which apply to marine licences and Section 36 applications within the Scottish Offshore region; and
the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)
- In addition to the legislative requirements, guidance and good practice documents have been developed to assist with the production of a ‘fit for purpose’ EIA. These include:
- Marine Scotland Consenting and Licensing Guidance: For Offshore Wind, Wave and Tidal Energy Applications (Marine Scotland, 2018a);
- Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIA) in the UK and Ireland – Terrestrial, Freshwater, Coastal and Marine (CIEEM, 2019);
- Environmental impact assessment for offshore renewable energy projects (British Standards Institute (BSI), 2015);
- Guidelines for data acquisition to support marine environmental assessments of offshore renewable energy projects (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), 2012);
- A Review of Assessment Methodologies for Offshore Wind Farms (Collaborative Offshore Wind Research Into The Environment (COWRIE) METH-08-08) (Maclean et al., 2009);
- IEMA Environmental Impact Assessment Guide to Shaping Quality Development (IEMA, 2015);
- Planning Advice Note (PAN) 1/2013 Environmental Impact Assessment (Scottish Government, 2017);
- A Handbook on Environmental Impact Assessment (SNH, 2018); and
- Advice Note Seventeen: Cumulative effects assessment relevant to nationally significant infrastructure projects (The Planning Inspectorate, 2019).
4.2.2. The Environmental Impact Assessment Process
- The EIA process can be broadly summarised as consisting of:
- Scoping: SSER produces an Offshore EIA Scoping Report (this document) and requests a formal Scoping Opinion from Scottish Ministers;
- Consultation: SSER is required to undertake pre-application consultation;
- EIA Report Preparation: The Offshore EIAR will be prepared, considering the responses to the consultation process and outcomes of the assessment of the likely significant effects (as defined in EIA Regulations) of the Proposed Development during the construction, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning stages of the project lifecycle;
- EIA Report Consultation: The Offshore EIAR (and the application to which it relates) must be publicised, and the consultation bodies and the public must be given an opportunity to give their views about the Proposed Development and the Offshore EIAR;
- Determination: The competent authority must examine all the environmental information, including the Offshore EIAR and any comments and representations received, and must reach their reasoned conclusion on the significant effects of the development on the environment. The environmental information, and the conclusions reached, must be taken into account by the competent authority in deciding whether or not to give consent for the development. The competent authority must also consider whether any monitoring measures are appropriate; and
Decision notice: The competent authority must inform the public and the consultation bodies of the decision and must publish a ‘decision notice’ which incorporates the authority’s reasoned conclusion on the significant effects of the development on the environment.
- An overview of the EIA process is presented within Figure 4.1 Open ▸ , illustrating how the EIA scoping stage fits within this process.
Figure 4.1: Stages of the Licensing Process in Scottish Waters
4.3. Key Principals of the EIA
- Within the Offshore EIAR, each topic will consider the following:
- identification of the study area for the topic-specific assessments;
- description of the planning policy and guidance context;
- summary of consultation activity, including comments received in the Scoping Opinion and PAC;
- description of the environmental baseline conditions; and
- presentation of impact assessment, which includes:
– identification of the maximum design scenario for each impact assessment;
– a description of the measures adopted as part of the Proposed Development, including mitigation and design measures which seek to prevent, reduce or offset environmental effects;
– identification of likely impacts and assessment of the significance of identified effects, taking into account any mitigation measures adopted as part of the Proposed Development;
– identification of any further mitigation measures required in respect of likely significant effects (as defined by the EIA Regulations and in addition to those measures adopted as part of the Proposed Development), together with consideration of any residual effects;
– identification of any future monitoring required;
– assessment of any cumulative effects with other major developments, including those that are proposed, consented and under construction (including, where applicable, those projects, plans or activities that are currently operational that were not operational when baseline data was collected); and
– assessment of any transboundary effects (i.e. effects on other European Economic Area (EEA) states).
- Inter-related effects (i.e. inter-relationships between environmental topic areas) will be assessed in a separate standalone section which will consider the impacts of the Proposed Development on each of the identified receptor groups.
- Within each topic section a number of key principles will be applied, and these are detailed in sections 4.3.2 to 4.3.8.
4.3.2. Proportionate EIA
- The aim of producing a proportionate EIA (as per IEMA, 2017, and the Industry Evidence Programme (IEP) (Crown Estate et al., 2018)) has been a key consideration in the development of this Offshore EIA Scoping Report. A number of tools and processes have been used to aid the proportionality of the Proposed Development EIA, both within this Offshore EIA Scoping Report, and that will be subsequently considered in the Offshore EIAR. This includes:
- development of an Scoping Road Maps;
- application of the existing evidence basis; and
- commitment to designed in measures.
Offshore Scoping Road Map
- The Offshore Scoping Road Map (see Appendix 1 Open ) will be used as a tool to facilitate early engagement with stakeholders and subsequent engagement throughout the pre-application phase of the Proposed Development, including consultation on the developing baseline characterisation and development of the final application documentation. The Offshore Scoping Road Map is ‘live’ document which will be used to reach and record further points of agreement on scoping impacts out of the assessments, and/or agreeing the level of assessment which will be presented for impacts, so that the focus in the EIA submission documents is on likely significant effects (as defined by the EIA Regulations).
- For each topic section of the Offshore EIA Scoping Report, the Offshore EIA Scoping Road Map (Appendix 1 Open ) considers:
- expected receptors: Receptors expected to occur within the zone of influence (ZoI), based on an initial desktop review;
- sensitivity and evidence: Review of the sensitivity of the relevant receptors and evidence available on potential effects;
- baseline data sources: Description of data and information to be used to inform the baseline characterisation. See further information below;
- mitigation and monitoring: Potential measures which could be applied to remove significant effects; and
- approach to EIA: Briefly describes whether impacts are scoped into the EIA, scoped out (with the relevant justification) or whether the impact has the potential to be scoped out at a later date.
Existing Evidence Basis
- The Proposed Development is located in the outer Firth of Forth, for which there exists significant data and knowledge regarding the baseline environment. This data/knowledge has been acquired through the former Firth of Forth zonal studies, from the surveys and assessments undertaken for Seagreen Alpha/Bravo, Inch Cape and Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farms. In addition, site-specific survey data for the Proposed Development have also been analysed and considered. Where possible in this Offshore EIA Scoping Report, SSER has made use of these data to:
- provide an initial high-level overview of the baseline environment and the availability of existing data to support the Offshore EIAR;
- support scoping out of impacts where there is clear evidence of lack of a receptor-impact pathway; and
where impacts are proposed to be scoped in to further assessment in the Offshore EIAR, to draw upon the pre-existing evidence base where appropriate.
- Further, an extensive desktop data review has been undertaken for each section.
Designed in Measures and Mitigation Measures
- There are three distinct forms of mitigation which include:
- primary mitigation (inherent): “Modification to the location or design of the development made during the pre-application phase that are an inherent part of the project, and do not require additional action to be taken” (IEMA, 2016);
- secondary mitigation (foreseeable): “Actions that will require further activity in order to achieve the anticipated outcome. These may be imposed as part of the planning consent, or through inclusion in the ES” (IEMA, 2016); and
- tertiary mitigation (inexorable): “Actions that would occur with or without input from the EIA feeding into the design process. These include actions that will be undertaken to meet other existing legislative requirement, or actions that are considered to be standard practices used to manage commonly occurring environmental effects” (IEMA, 2016).
Primary Mitigation (Designed in Measures)
- Primary mitigation has been referred to as “Designed in Measures” within this report. The iterative approach to the impact assessment process has been utilised to inform the design of the Proposed Development (through the identification of likely significant effects and development of designed in measures to address these). The incorporation of such measures within the design demonstrates commitment to implementing the identified measures. These measures have been referred to throughout the Offshore EIA Report as ‘designed in measures’.
- By employing this approach, the significance of effect presented in the Offshore EIA Report is considered representative of the maximum residual effect that the Proposed Development will have, should the application for consent be approved and the Proposed Development be constructed.
- Both primary and tertiary measures can be ‘designed in’ into the project design. The basis of the EIA can therefore be undertaken on the basis that these measures will definitely be delivered and therefore any effects which might arise without these mitigation measures do not need to be identified as potential effects as there is no potential for them to arise (IEMA, 2016).
- Throughout this Offshore EIA Scoping Report, a range of ‘designed-in’ measures have been applied and are detailed in the technical assessments. All mitigation measures considered in the Offshore EIA Scoping Report are collated and presented in section 2.7 Open ▸ . Mitigation measures will evolve whilst the EIA progresses and in response to stakeholder engagement. Any additional measures will be fed iteratively into the assessment process and updated in the Offshore Scoping Road Map (Appendix 1 Open ).
4.3.3. Design Envelope Approach and Maximum Design Scenario
- The Design Envelope approach (also known as the Rochdale Envelope approach) will be adopted for the assessment of the Proposed Development, in accordance with current good practice and the “Rochdale Envelope Principle”. The Design Envelope concept allows for some flexibility in project design options, particularly for foundations and wind turbine type, where the full details of a project are not necessarily known at time of application submission.
- Section 2 Open ▸ sets out the Design Envelope parameters and identifies the range of potential project design values for relevant components of the Proposed Development. For each of the topic sections within the Offshore EIAR and for each of the impacts assessed, the Design Envelope considered will be the scenario which would give rise to the greatest potential impact (hereafter referred to as the maximum design scenario).
- SSER has undergone a process of Design Envelope refinement prior to Offshore EIA Scoping Report submission, therefore the assessment presented in the final application will be based on as refined and focussed Design Envelope as is practical whilst still retaining flexibility for new technology or design solutions in the post-consent phase.
4.3.4. Consultation and Stakeholder Engagement
- The legislative basis for undertaking pre-application consultation is described in Appendix 4 Open .
- Appendix 5 Open provides an overview of consultation undertaken to date and paragraphs 173 to 177 outline the proposed approach to stakeholder engagement that SSER proposes to follow during the pre-application period.
Engagement to Date
- To support the development of this Offshore EIA Scoping Report, pre-scoping stakeholder engagement has been undertaken. An overview of this consultation is presented in Appendix 5 Open . Consultation undertaken to date has focused on the initial Berwick Bank Wind Farm Proposal and to a lesser extent the Marr Bank Wind Farm Proposal. Consultation has included general project introductions to key stakeholders and regulators; discussions on proposed survey methodologies; pre-scoping engagement on the initial Berwick Bank Wind Farm Proposal; presentation of landfall options and proposed intertidal assessment approach; interim updates with key Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies (SNCBs) and stakeholders and updates on interim data results for topics such as marine mammals, ornithology and shipping and navigation.
- An overview of this stakeholders engaged with thus far is provided below:
- Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT);
- Marine Scotland Science (MSS);
- Maritime Coastal Agency;
- Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB);
- Forth Ports;
- Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB);
- Historic Environment Scotland (HES);
- Chamber of Shipping;
- Cruising Association;
- Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI);
- RYA Scotland;
- Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF); and
- East Lothian Council (ELC).
Lessons Learned from the initial Berwick Bank Proposal Stakeholder Engagement
- This section provides a summary of lessons learned during the initial Berwick Bank proposal stakeholder engagement which can be applied to the Berwick Bank Proposed Development. This section considers consultees' responses to the Berwick Bank proposal 2020 scoping and LSE screening. It also reflects the final decision from SSE on what topics will be covered and to what extent.
- Feedback received on the initial Berwick Bank proposal was extensive. In the region of 1,400 comments have been isolated from the Scoping Opinion on the initial Berwick Bank wind farm proposal (received March 2021) and the Opinion on LSE Screening (received July 2021). The Applicant has considered this feedback and produced two ‘Change Reports’ where each of these comments is addressed in full by the Applicant. Material changes to the Project to account for this feedback include:
- climate change assessment included as a standalone assessment;
- foundation types refined to two options – Jacket Foundation with Pin Piles and Suction Caisson Jacket. Floating foundation and monopile foundations are no longer within the Project Design;
- minimum turbine spacing of 1,000 m;
- use of low order deflagration for clearance of UXO that can not be removed or avoided;
- minimum air gap of 37 m above LAT will be applied;
- a cable burial risk assessment will be undertaken;
- maximum number of wind turbines is 307;
- maximum hammer energy is 4,000 kJ;
- maximum number of export cables is 12; and
turbine capacity between 14-24 MW.
- In August 2021 and September 2021, NatureScot provided feedback on its expectations for the Berwick Bank Scoping Report and provided explicit feedback on the Road Map process to date. A key tenet of this advice, was that the Applicant should build upon prior advice received in the Scoping Opinion for the initial Berwick Bank wind farm proposal to focus consultation on areas requiring further discussion. Further comments were made on the expected structure of the document and the need to reduce repetition, make the document easier to navigate and provide more detailed methodologies. The Scoping Report has been restructured accordingly and changes to the Road Map process were enacted. The programme for LSE Screening has also been brought forward in response to stakeholder feedback to more closely align with the Scoping Report.
- In receipt of the Offshore Scoping Opinion request, the Scottish Ministers, in accordance with the EIA Regulations, will consult with statutory consultees. The purpose of the consultation is to obtain advice and guidance from each consultee or advisor as to which potential effects should be scoped in or out of the EIA. The Offshore EIA Scoping Opinion will be a template for a gap analysis, which is to be used to record the environmental concerns identified during the scoping process and is to be completed and used to inform the preparation of the Offshore EIAR.
Pre-Application Consultation Event
- Where activity is planned within Scottish Territorial Waters, the PAC Regulations apply. The PAC Regulations require Applicants for a ‘prescribed class’ of activity to notify the Maritime Coastal Agency, NLB, SNH (now NatureScot), SEPA, and any delegate for a relevant marine region.
- Applicants must hold at least one pre-application event at which these bodies are notified, and members of the public may provide comments to SSER. The PAC events for the Proposed Development are envisaged to be held in Q4 2021 and Q1 2022. Further details on this PAC event will be published in the Edinburgh Gazette and other local press.
- Section 24(1) of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 requires that a PAC report must be prepared and submitted with the Marine Licence application.
Additional Stakeholder Engagement
- SSER, along with their EIA consultants, intends to consult with key statutory and non-statutory stakeholders throughout the pre-application process. SSER will refine the Proposed Development Application, based upon the consultation undertaken during the pre-application phase. A summary of key consultation undertaken will be presented in the Offshore EIAR.
- This section provides next steps for engagement following two general rules for engagement:
- for those topics where there is a topic-specific road map, an outline of the next steps in terms of meetings/engagement on key issues such as agreeing the baseline, assessment approach for key impacts, etc, and how this fits within the EIA process/programme will be presented to key stakeholders via a Road Map. The topics for which SSER has prepared Road Maps are
– Benthic Ecology, Fish and Shellfish Ecology and Physical Processes;
– Marine Mammal Ecology;
– Ornithology; and
– Shipping and Navigation.
- for those topics where there is not a proposed road map, an outline of the consultation strategy that will be implemented, and how this fits within the EIA process/programme is presented.
4.3.5. Impacts and Effects
- The Proposed Development has the potential to create a range of impacts and effects with regard to the physical, biological and human environment, for both terrestrial and marine receptors. For the purposes of the offshore EIA, the term ‘impact’ is defined as a change that is caused by an action. For example, the laying of an inter-array cable (action) is likely to result in seabed disturbance (impact). Impacts can be defined as direct, indirect, temporary, irreversible, secondary, cumulative and inter-related. They can also be either positive or negative, although the relationship between them is not always straightforward.
- The term ‘effect’ is defined as the consequence of an impact. Using the inter-array cable laying example, the laying of an inter-array cable (action) results in seabed disturbance (impact), with the potential to disturb benthic habitats and species (effect). The significance of effects is determined by consideration of the magnitude of impact alongside the sensitivity of each receptor/receptor group.
- The magnitude of an impact is the consideration of the extent, duration, frequency and reversibility of an impact. Receptors can be defined as the physical or biological resource or user group that could be affected by the potential impacts. In defining the sensitivity for each receptor/receptor group, the vulnerability, recoverability and value/importance of that receptor will be taken into consideration.
- In order to ensure consistency in defining the significance of an effect, a matrix approach will be adopted in the Offshore EIAR as presented in Table 4.1 Open ▸ . In cases where a range is suggested for the significance of effect, there remains the possibility that this may span the significance threshold (i.e. the range is given as minor to moderate). In such cases the final significance is based upon the expert's professional judgement as to which outcome delineates the most likely effect, with an explanation as to why this is the case.
Table 4.1: Matrix Used for the Assessment of the Significance of the Effect
Approach to Assessment of Significance
- A level of effect of moderate or more will be considered a ‘significant’ effect for the purposes of the EIA. A level of effect of minor or less will be considered ‘not significant’. Effects of moderate significance or above are therefore considered important in the decision-making process, whilst effects of minor significance or less warrant little, if any, weight in the decision-making process.
- The matrix approach is consistent with the general approach described in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) (Highways England et al., 2019) and Environmental Impact Assessment for Offshore Renewable Energy Projects – Guide (BSI, 2015). A number of modifications have however been made in the interest of proportionality, including:
- a magnitude of impact of ‘no change’ will not be assessed since it will always lead to a non-significant effect;
- a negligible magnitude impact will not be considered further because it will always lead to a non-significant effect; and
receptors of negligible importance, value or sensitivity will not be considered further because it will always lead to a non-significant effect.
- Where significant effects are initially identified, the EIA will follow a “feedback loop” methodology, as illustrated within Figure 4.2 Open ▸ . Through this process, an impact is initially assessed to determine the significance of the potential environmental effect. If the effect of an impact presents a major significant adverse outcome, changes are typically made to the Proposed Development design (primary mitigation) in order to reduce or offset the magnitude of impact. If the effect of an impact presents a moderately significant adverse outcome, mitigation such as engineering controls or construction methods (secondary and tertiary mitigation) are employed in order to reduce or offset the magnitude of the impact.
- This process is repeated, as illustrated within Figure 4.2 Open ▸ until the EIA practitioner is satisfied that:
- the effect is reduced to a level that is not significant in EIA terms; or
no further changes can be made to the Proposed Development design to reduce the magnitude of impact and therefore the significance of the effect. In these cases, an overall effect that is still significant in EIA terms may be presented.
- Following this iterative approach ensures that the significance of effect presented for each identified impact may be presumed to be representative of the maximum residual adverse effect the Proposed Development may have on the receiving environment.
All mitigation measures presented within the Offshore EIA Scoping Report are collated and presented in Appendix 2 Open . Mitigation measures will evolve whilst the EIA progresses and in response to stakeholder engagement, as described above and 0 will be updated and included as part of the Offshore EIAR.
Figure 4.2: Proposed Iterative Approach to Mitigation Within the Proposed Development EIA
4.3.6. Inter-related Effects
- Inter-related effects refer to the inter-relationships between EIA topics that may lead to environmental effects. There are two categories of inter-related effects:
- project lifetime effects: effects that occur throughout more than one phase of the Proposed Development (construction, operational and decommissioning) interacting to potentially create a more significant effect upon a receptor than if just assessed in isolation in a single phase; and
receptor-led effects: effects that interact spatially and/or temporally resulting in inter-related effects upon a single receptor. For example, the effect upon subsea noise on marine mammals may be greater when multiple sources of impact interact or combine to produce a different or greater effect upon this receptor than when single sources of impact are considered in isolation. Receptor-led effects might be short term, temporary or transient effects, or incorporate longer term effects.
- Within the EIA, assessment of inter-related effects will be undertaken with specific reference to the potential for such effects to arise in relation to receptor groups. The term ‘receptor group’ is used to highlight the fact that the proposed approach to inter-relationships assessment will, in the main, not assess every individual receptor assessed at the EIA stage, but rather, potentially sensitive groups of receptors.
4.3.7. Cumulative Effect Assessment
- A Cumulative Effect Assessment (CEA) is a legal requirement under the EIA Regulations. A CEA provides consideration of the impacts arising from the Proposed Development alone and cumulatively with other relevant plans, projects and activities. Cumulative effects are therefore the combined effect of the Proposed Development in combination with the effects from a number of different projects, on the same receptor or resource.
- A fundamental requirement of undertaking the CEA is to identify those foreseeable developments or activities with which the Project may interact to have the potential to result in a cumulative impact. All phases (construction, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning) of the Proposed Development may have the potential to lead to cumulative impact.
- The Marine Scotland (2018) Consenting and Licensing Guidance: For Offshore Wind, Wave and Tidal energy Applications states that ‘Engagement with MS-LOT is required to identify which plans/projects/on-going activities should be included in the in-combination element of the cumulative effects assessment (CEA)’. The offshore wind projects in the Firth of Forth and Tay region will be considered, alongside other developments including those which are:
- already constructed;
- under construction;
- permitted application(s) not yet determined; and
plans and projects which are “reasonably foreseeable” (i.e. developments that are being planned, including, for example, offshore renewable energy project which have a Crown Estate AfL, offshore renewable energy project that have been scoped).
- The CEA will consider all other relevant plans, projects and activities that are publicly available three months prior to the Proposed Development application. The CEA will also adhere to the ScotMER Cumulative Effects Framework.
- SSER is also considering an additional offshore ECC, which is under development. This ECC does not form part of the Proposed Development for which this Scoping request has been made however it will be considered within the CEA for the Offshore EIA Report (and the Onshore EIA Report) as appropriate, to ensure compliance with the requirements of the EIA Regulations.
- To ensure a thorough and comprehensive approach to identification of potential projects to be considered in the CEA, an initial ‘long list’ of projects within a defined ZOI will be developed based on the above listed criteria. The ZOI will be large enough to encompass all technical assessment regional study areas.
- The initial long list will then be reduced following a consideration of potential for cumulative effects for each potential impact-receptor pathway staged process as set-out below:
- conceptual overlap – an impact has the potential to directly or indirectly affect the receptor(s) in question. In EIA terms this is described as an impact-receptor pathway and is defined here as a conceptual overlap;
- physical overlap – ability for impacts arising from the Proposed Development to overlap with those from other projects/plans on a receptor basis. This means that an overlap of the physical extents of the impacts arising from the two (or more) projects/plans must be established for a cumulative effect to arise. Exceptions to this exist for certain mobile receptors that may move between, and subject to, two or more separate physical extents of impact from two or more projects; and
temporal overlap – in order for a cumulative effect to arise from two or more projects, a temporal overlap of impacts arising from each must be established. It should be noted that some impacts are active only during certain phases of development, such as piling noise during construction. The absence of a strict overlap however may not necessarily preclude a cumulative effect, as receptors may become further affected by additional, non-temporally overlapping projects.
- This screening stage will be based on the experience and knowledge of technical specialists, and the current guidance and regulations. The projects or plans that remain after review of the long list are taken forwards to the assessment stage.
- Following the screening stage outlined above, information is gathered on the projects, plans or activities to be taken forwards into the CEA. Where the potential significant effect for the proposed development alone is assessed as negligible, or where an impact is predicted to be highly localised, these will not be considered within the Proposed Project CEA, as there is not considered to be a potential for cumulative effects with other plans, projects or activities.
- When undertaking the CEA of the Proposed Development, a tiered approach will be adopted. This provides a framework for placing relative weight upon the potential for each project/plan to be included in the CEA to ultimately be realised, based upon the project/plan’s current stage of maturity and certainty in the projects’ parameters. The tiered approach which will be utilised within the Proposed Development CEA employs the following tiers:
- tier 1 assessment – Proposed Development (Berwick Bank Wind Farm offshore) with Berwick Bank Wind Farm onshore;
- tier 2 assessment – All plans/projects assessed under Tier 1, plus projects which are operational, under construction, those with consent and submitted but not yet determined;
- tier 3 assessment – All plans/projects assessed under Tier 2, plus those projects with a Scoping Report; and
tier 4 assessment – All plans/projects assessed under Tier 3, plus those projects likely to come forward where an Agreement for Lease (AfL) has been granted.
- All projects/plans that have been screened into the CEA via the screening process will be allocated into one of the above Tiers and assessed in the CEA. The CEA will consider all other relevant plans, projects and activities that are publicly available three months prior to the Proposed Development application.
- Where practicable, the CEA methodology then follows the outline of the stand-alone assessment methodology as described in section 4.3.5. This approach allows consistency throughout the EIA.
- An overview of the projects or activities which will be considered for cumulative effects include:
- other offshore wind farms and associated cabling and infrastructure;
- oil and gas infrastructure/development (cables and pipelines);
- other forms of cabling (i.e. telecommunications and interlinks);
- beach replenishment schemes;
- navigation and shipping; and
- aggregate extraction and disposal of dredging spoil.
4.3.8. Transboundary Effects
- Transboundary effects may arise when impacts from the Proposed Development within one EEA state affects the environment of another EEA state(s). The need to consider such transboundary effects has been embodied by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on EIA in a Transboundary Context (commonly referred to as the ‘Espoo Convention’). The Convention requires that assessments are extended across borders between Parties of the Convention when a planned activity may cause significant adverse transboundary impacts.
- For any project that is likely to cause significant transboundary effects, the EIA Regulations require the Scottish Ministers to send information about the development to the government of the affected country and invite them to participate in the consultation procedures. To assist with this process, a screening exercise for potential transboundary impacts has been undertaken and is presented in Appendix 3 Open . The transboundary screening exercise has identified that the following receptors may experience transboundary impacts from the Proposed Development:
- fish and shellfish ecology;
- commercial fisheries; and
- shipping and navigation.