- SSE Renewables Developments (UK) Limited (“SSE Renewables” (SSER) is developing the Berwick Bank Wind Farm Project. In August 2020, SSER (via its project company Berwick Bank Wind Limited) consulted on an Offshore Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Report for an initial Berwick Bank Wind Farm Proposal. The offshore EIA Scoping Opinion was received from the Scottish Minsters in March 2021. The initial Berwick Bank Wind Farm Proposal comprised one of two projects to be developed in Phase 2 of the former Firth of Forth Zone which included the initial Berwick Bank Wind Farm Proposal and the Marr Bank Wind Farm. The Marr Bank Wind Farm boundary was to be located to the west of the initial Berwick Bank Wind Farm Proposal.
- Through subsequent progress made in the detailed review of Berwick Bank and Marr Bank Wind Farm sites’ environmental constraints, SSER has combined large proportions of the Agreement for Lease (AfL) area for Berwick Bank Wind Farm and Marr Bank Wind Farm, including the proposed offshore cable corridors This combined proposal has made material changes to reduce environmental impacts. Specifically, these changes have focused on:
- reducing predicted ornithology impacts by increasing minimum blade tip to sea clearance from 22m to 37m;
- increasing the minimum and maximum turbine sizes from 10-20 MW up to 14-24 MW in order to minimise the number of turbines on site and reduce associated impacts;
- amending the site boundary and combining Berwick Bank Wind Farm and Marr Bank Wind Farm AfLs, whilst reducing the overall project footprint by approximately 9% and avoiding areas of significant ornithological interest;
- introducing increased corridors between the proposed site boundary and other neighbouring wind farms to alleviate navigation concerns;
- 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.
- SSER is now seeking consent for one Wind Farm Project: Berwick Bank Wind Farm (hereafter referred to as the Project). The offshore components of the Project which are the subject of this Scoping request are hereafter referred to as the Proposed Development. This revised Offshore EIA Scoping Report has been developed for the Proposed Development and considers the new Proposed Development boundaries and updated Project Design Envelope.
- SSER is seeking consent to develop the Proposed Development in the outer Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay, 33.5 km east of the Scottish Borders coastline (St Abb’s Head) and 43 km to the East Lothian coastline. The export cables which form part of the Proposed Development will make landfall on the East Lothian coast, specifically at Thorntonloch or at Skateraw. From here, the export cables will connect to a Scottish Power Transmission (SPT) 400kV Grid Substation located at Branxton, which is located southeast of Torness Power station. SSER is also considering an additional offshore export cable corridor (ECC), which is under development. The additional ECC does not form part of the Proposed Development for which this Scoping request has been made. However, it will be considered within the Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) for the Offshore EIA Report (and the Onshore EIA Report) as appropriate, to ensure compliance with the requirements of the EIA Regulations.
- SSER intends to submit separate consents, licences and permissions for the offshore (seaward of mean high water springs (MHWS)) and onshore (landward of mean low water springs (MLWS)) infrastructure of the Project. This Offshore EIA Scoping Report considers all of the offshore infrastructure of the Project, seaward of MHWS, which is hereafter referred to as the Proposed Development. A separate Onshore Scoping report relating to impacts of onshore infrastructure on onshore receptors has previously been developed and submitted to support the onshore Proposed Development consent Application (Berwick Bank Wind Limited, 2020). As there have been no adjustments to the onshore aspects of the Proposed Development, the Onshore Scoping Report and Scoping Opinion remains valid.
- The consents, licences and permissions which will be sought by SSER for the Proposed Development include:
- a Section 36 consent under the Electricity Act 1989;
- a marine licence under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA) 2009; and
- a marine licence under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 for the part of the export cable which is within 12 nm of the coast; and
planning permission under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (T&CP) for all Project infrastructure located landward of MLWS
- In applying for these consents, licences and permissions, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report is required to be prepared and submitted to support these applications. The EIA is required to fulfil the requirements of the following regulations:
- The Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017;
- The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017;
- The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007; and
The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017.
- This Offshore EIA Scoping Report has been prepared to support a request for a formal Scoping Opinion in relation to the Proposed Development from Scottish Ministers. This Offshore EIA Scoping Report has been informed by the Scoping Opinion provided by Scottish Ministers on the initial Berwick Bank Wind Farm Proposal Offshore EIA Scoping Report. An EIA Change Report has been developed and presents an overview of the key difference between the initial Berwick Bank Wind Farm Offshore EIA Scoping Report and the Proposed Development Offshore EIA Scoping Report (this document). The EIA Change Report will be made available by SSER (via https://www.berwickbank.com/).
- This Offshore EIA Scoping Report provides an overview of the existing physical, human and biological environment, identified by known and accessible data sources, and outlines surveys undertaken to acquire additional data where required. An overview of both the Proposed Development specific and cumulative potential effects associated with the construction, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning phases of the Proposed Development are provided. This Offshore EIA Scoping Report also outlines the proposed methods to be employed to assess the significance of effect for the technical topics. For the purpose of this Offshore EIA Scoping Report, the following technical topics have been considered:
- offshore physical environment
– physical processes;
– subsea noise;
– airborne noise;
– air quality;
– climate effects assessment.
- offshore biological environment
– benthic subtidal and intertidal ecology;
– fish and shellfish ecology;
– marine mammals; and
– offshore and intertidal ornithology.
- offshore human and socio-economic environment
– commercial fisheries;
– shipping and navigation;
– aviation, military and communications;
– marine archaeology;
– seascape, landscape and visual resources;
– cultural heritage;
– infrastructure and other users; and
– offshore socio-economic and tourism.
- SSER invites consultees to respond to this Offshore EIA Scoping Report by providing a response to the topic specific questions which are included in each technical section, and through the road map process. by providing a formal opinion on the key areas identified, the data sources, and the methodology proposed. The purpose of this scoping exercise is to seek formal consultation from stakeholders on the Proposed Development.