1. Introduction

1.1. Introduction

  1. This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report has been prepared by ITPEnergised on behalf of Berwick Bank Wind Farm Limited (BBWFL) (hereafter referred to as “the Applicant”) a wholly owned subsidiary of SSE Renewables Limited (“SSER”). The EIA Report accompanies an application to East Lothian Council (ELC) for consent under The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 to construct, operate and maintain, and decommission onshore grid connection infrastructure associated with the proposed Berwick Bank Wind Farm.
  2. Berwick Bank Wind Farm (hereafter referred to as the Project) includes both the offshore and onshore infrastructure required to generate and transmit electricity from the offshore array area to a Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) 400kV Grid Substation located onshore at Branxton, southwest of Torness Power Plant.
  3. A separate offshore EIA Report has been submitted to support the applications for the offshore consents, licences, and permissions under the Electricity Act 1989, the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

1.2. Background

  1. In 2010 Seagreen Wind Energy Limited (SWEL) was awarded exclusive development rights to Round 3 Zone 2 (named ‘Firth of Forth Zone’) by the Crown Estate, and subsequently SWEL and the Crown Estate entered into a Zone Development Agreement (ZDA).
  2. The ZDA granted SWEL certain seabed rights within the Firth of Forth Zone, such as to identify specific areas for the development of offshore wind farms. Although the boundary of the Firth of Forth Zone was fixed, development phase and project boundaries remained flexible within the Firth of Forth Zone.
  3. SWEL opted for a phased approach to the delivery of the projects.  Phase 1 offshore wind farm projects consisting of Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo were awarded consent from Scottish Ministers in October 2014, with a Contract for Difference awarded in 2019 and construction commencing in 2021.
  4. Phase 2 of the Firth of Forth Zone includes the development of the Berwick Bank Wind Farm proposal, including the part of the proposal formerly known as Marr Bank Wind Farm. Berwick Bank Wind Farm and Marr Bank Wind Farm have been combined into one single proposal, referred to collectively as Berwick Bank Wind Farm (the Project). The Project array area (the area in which the turbines will be located) is approximately 1,010  km2 and is located approximately 37.8 km east of the Scottish Borders coastline (St. Abb’s Head) and 47.6 km to the south east of the East Lothian coastline. A maximum of 307 wind turbines will be installed within the Project array area. Full details of the Offshore works are provided within the offshore EIA Report.
  5. The Applicant is applying for 35 year consent to operate the Project. The Applicant has a 50 year Agreement for Lease with Crown Estate Scotland (CES). It may be desirable to ‘repower’ the Project to allow the wind farm to continue operating, subject to appropriate review and consideration that will be made in the future. This document is the EIA Report for the proposed Onshore Transmission Works (OnTW) associated with the Project (hereafter referred to as “the Proposed Development”).

1.2.1.    Grid Connection

  1. The Applicant has three signed grid connection agreements for the Project with the network operator (National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO)). Two agreements are for connection at a point onshore close to the existing Branxton cable sealing end compound around 8 km south west of Dunbar on the East Lothian coast (the Proposed Development). The third connection is located at Blyth, Northumberland (the Cambois connection).
  2. The grid connections agreements at Branxton were first secured in 2011 and updated grid connection agreements for the same location were signed in 2020. The Proposed Development comprises the onshore transmission works (OnTWs) required to facilitate these connections at Branxton.
  3. The site selection process for the Proposed Development is detailed within Volume 1, Chapter 4.
  4. For the purpose of this EIA, the following distinctions are made:
  • The Proposed Development, which is the subject of this onshore EIA Report relates to the OnTW elements of the Project located above (i.e., landward side of) Mean Low Water Springs (MLWS).
  • The Offshore Works, which are covered in the offshore EIA Report, relates to the elements of the Project located below (i.e., seaward side of) Mean High Water Springs (MHWS).
  • It is acknowledged that this approach creates an area of overlap between each EIA, i.e., the “inter-tidal” area between MLWS and MHWS. This is considered appropriate given the overlap between the two respective consenting regimes The approach to this area is set out in Volume 1, Chapter 2.

1.3. Project and Proposed Development

1.3.1.    The Project

  1. The Project comprises an offshore element and an onshore element. The offshore infrastructure encompasses the array area; comprising turbines, turbine foundations, array cables, and a range of offshore substations and offshore interconnector cables; and the export cable corridor which contains the offshore export cable(s). The onshore infrastructure is detailed in Section 1.3.2.
  2. The consents licences and permissions which will be sought by the Applicant for the Project include:
  • a Section 36 consent under the Electricity Act 1989 for an offshore generating station in the Scottish offshore region (12-200 nm) where generating capacity exceeds 50 megawatts (MW);
  • Marine Licences under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (0 to 12 nm) and Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA) (Scottish waters beyond 12 nm) for the following:

           generating station (wind turbines, wind turbine foundations and inter-array cables);

           transmission infrastructure (Offshore substation platforms (OSPs)/Offshore convertor station platforms, interconnector cables, offshore export cables and cable protection); and

  • planning permission under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended) for onshore transmission infrastructure landward of MLWS (the Proposed Development).

1.3.2.    The Proposed Development

  1. The Proposed Development (the OnTW) comprises onshore components, including the following:
  • cable landfall;
  • electricity transmission buildings;
  • onshore cables within a cable corridor between the cable landfall and the new onshore substation, and between the new onshore substation and the National Grid Branxton substation; and
  • associated ancillary infrastructure.
    1. Volume 1, Chapter 5 provides a description of the Proposed Development in further detail.
    2. The electricity transmission buildings will either be a high voltage alternating current (HVAC) substation comprising of control buildings, internal and external HV equipment and Gas Insulated Switchgear; or a high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter substation comprising of converter buildings, HV internal and external equipment and Gas Insulated Switchgear. The assessments within the EIA have considered the parameters of either design scenario. For the purposes of the EIA Report, the electricity transmission buildings are hereafter referred to as the “onshore substation”, which encompasses either option of a substation or converter substation.

1.3.3.    Site Description

  1. The extent of the planning application boundary (hereafter referred to as “the site”) is situated near Torness and the village of Innerwick, south-east of Dunbar located in East Lothian, Scotland (Volume 2, Figure 1.1   Open ▸ ). The centre of the site is OSGB36, British National Grid (BNG) 373977, 674114. The site is approximately 598 ha in size.
  2. The proposed cable landfall is located north-west of Torness Power Plant and Skateraw harbour. The onshore cable corridor runs west of the settlement of Skateraw, under the East Coast Main Line (ECML) railway and the A1 trunk road, to the onshore substation, located in open agricultural land north-east of Innerwick. The onshore cable corridor then runs south through agricultural land between Innerwick and Thorntonloch Glen, crossing underneath existing overhead power lines, to the south of the Braidwood burn and the proposed location of the National Grid Branxton substation. The site is predominantly arable, open agricultural land, interspersed with rural settlements and crossed by transport routes including the ECML and the A1. There is existing industrial development in the wider vicinity including Torness Power Plant and Oxwell Mains Cement Works and Quarry on the coastline.  
  3. Volume 1, Chapter 4 provides a summary of the site selection process and the environmental and engineering considerations which have been taken into account when defining the site. Volume 1, Chapter 5 provides a detailed description of the site and its context.

1.4. The Applicant

  1. As stated in paragraph 1, the Applicant is a wholly owned subsidiary of SSER.
  2. SSER is a leading developer, owner and operator of renewable energy across the UK and Ireland, with a portfolio of around 4 GW of onshore wind, offshore wind and hydro. Part of the FTSE-listed SSE plc, its strategy is to drive the transition to a net zero future through the world class development, construction and operation of renewable energy assets.
  3. SSER are currently constructing the world’s largest offshore wind energy project, the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea, which is a joint venture with Equinor and Eni, as well as Scotland’s largest and the world's deepest fixed bottom offshore site, the 1.1 GW Seagreen Offshore Wind Farm in the Firth of Forth, a joint venture with TotalEnergies.
  4. When complete, Dogger Bank and Seagreen will help power millions of UK homes and businesses and drive the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions. These assets will join SSER’s existing operational offshore wind portfolio which consists of 1,092 MW across two offshore joint venture sites, Beatrice and Greater Gabbard, both of which SSER operate on behalf of asset partners.

1.5. Purpose of the EIA Report

  1. ITPEnergised was appointed by the Applicant to prepare an EIA Report in respect of the Proposed Development in accordance with The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 (hereafter referred to as the “EIA Regulations, 2017”). The EIA process is the systematic process of identifying, predicting and evaluating the environmental impacts of a proposed development. This EIA Report assesses the likely significant environmental effects predicted to result from the construction, operation and maintenance and decommissioning of the Proposed Development. Further information on the EIA methodology is presented in Volume 1, Chapter 2.
  2. The EIA Regulations, 2017 set out when an EIA is required. This may be either where the development is of (a) a type listed in Schedule 1 or (b) a type listed in Schedule 2 likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of factors such as its nature, size or location.  The Proposed Development is considered to be a Schedule 2 development within the EIA Regulations, 2017. An EIA has been undertaken by the Applicant for the Proposed Development.
  3. The main findings and conclusions of this EIA Report are summarised in a Non-Technical Summary (NTS), as required by the EIA Regulations, 2017. The NTS summarises the key findings of the EIA in an easily accessible, non-technical language, ensuring everyone with an interest in the Proposed Development can understand and access information regarding the predicted environmental effects.
  4. This EIA Report accompanies the application for consent, being submitted to ELC.

1.6. Structure of EIA Report

  1. The EIA Report is split into six volumes. Volume 1 is structured as set out in Table 1.1   Open ▸ .
Table 1.1:
EIA Report Volume 1 Structure

Table 1.1  EIA Report Volume 1 Structure

  1. Volume 2 contains the non-landscape and visual figures that inform the EIA Report.
  2. Volume 3 contains the landscape and visual figures, and visualisations.
  3. Volume 4 contains supporting information and appendices for each of the technical chapters, and additional studies that have been prepared to inform the relevant assessments as reported in the EIA Report.
  4. Volume 5 contains confidential technical appendices.
  5. Volume 6 contains the NTS.
  6. In addition to the EIA Report, supporting documents which form part of the application submission include a Planning Statement, a Design & Access Statement, and a Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) Report.

1.7. The EIA Project Team

  1. ITPEnergised was appointed by the Applicant as the Project Manager for the EIA on the Proposed Development.
  2. In addition to the preparation of the EIA Report, ITPEnergised has undertaken the ecology and ornithology, noise, land use, and tourism assessments. ITPEnergised was supported by a range of technical specialists.
  3. Table 1.2   Open ▸ outlines the full EIA team and their relevant experience.
Table 1.2:
EIA Project Team

Table 1.2  EIA Project Team


1.8. Availability of the EIA Report

  1. Electronic copies of the onshore (as well as the offshore) EIA Report, including all non-confidential figures, appendices and accompanying documents are available to view on the Project website: https://www.berwickbank.com/.
  2. A Digital EIA Report can be accessed via the Project website at https://www.berwickbank.com/.
  3. Electronic copies of the onshore EIA Report can also be accessed, and representations submitted online via the ELC planning portal: https://pa.eastlothian.gov.uk/online-applications/.
  4. Electronic copies of the offshore EIA Report can also be accessed online via  https://marine.gov.scot/marine-licence-applications, and representations submitted to Marine Scotland - Licensing Operations Team.
  5. Physical hardcopies of the EIA Report will be available for public viewing during the consultation period at suitable locations in agreement with ELC.
  6. Copies of documentation or further information on the Proposed Development may also be obtained from the Applicant (contact: berwickbank@sse.com). The NTS will be available free of charge. Hard copies of the main EIA Report will be available at a charge of £600.  

1.9. Representations on the Application

  1. Any representations to the application should be made directly to ELC either via the online planning portal, by email to: environment@eastlothian.gov.uk, or in writing to:

East Lothian Council,

John Muir House,

Brewery Park,


East Lothian,

EH41 3HA.

1.10. References

European Commission (EC) (2011). Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (Text with EEA relevance). Available at: http://data.europa.eu/eli/dir/2011/92/oj

European Commission (EC) (2014). Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (Text with EEA relevance). Available at: http://data.europa.eu/eli/dir/2014/52/oj

Scottish Executive (1997). The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/8/contents

Scottish Government (2010). Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2010/5/contents

Scottish Government (2017). The Town and Country Planning (environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2017/102/contents/made

UK Government (1989). The Electricity Act 1989. Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/29/contents