Hornsea Project One seen from Barmston beach. Photograph: The joy of all things/Wikimedia Commons Hornsea Project One seen from Barmston beach. Photograph: The joy of all things/Wikimedia Commons

Regulator fears stymie mega-wind farm developments

Planning consent for three giant wind farms off the east coast of England have been delayed after developers failed to allay regulators’ concerns that EU-designated areas would not be hit by unacceptable environmental damages.

Last month, a statement from BEIS’ Lord Duncan of Springbank confirmed that consents for three offshore wind farms could not be granted until Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Marine Management Organisation were satisfied with the developers’ revised mitigation plans.

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Planning Act 2008

In force/
Current
Legislation
England, Scotland, Wales
Published
06 Apr 2016

Commentary

27/03/2015 Amending Order (SI 2015/949) published.
10/03/2016 Amending Order (SI 2016/306) published., 16/01/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/16) published, for England and Wales only.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published.
10/11/2017 Commencement Order (No. 3) (
SI 2017/1078) published, for England only., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance Dates

26/11/2008 Received Royal Assent, 26/11/2008 Provisions of Parts 1 to 9 (except Section 194(2) to (5) and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7) come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 11, except Sections 206, 211(7), 224 and 225 come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 12, except Section 238, comes into force (see Section 241), 26/01/2009 Sections 194(2) to (5), 201, 202, 203 and 225 (together with related entries in Schedule 13), and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7, come into force (see Section 241)
01/03/2010 Certain Sections including Sections 15 to 20 and Sections 22 to 26 brought into force by The Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No.4 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/101)
06/04/2010 Certain provisions brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 5 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/566)
06/04/2011 Sections 14(1)(o) and 29 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2011 (SI 2011/705)
01/10/2011 Sections 14(1)(p), 30 and 153 and Schedule 6 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2011 (SI 2011/2054)
06/04/2012 Sections 192 and Schedule 8 (tree preservation orders), Section 193 (existing tree preservation orders: transitional provisions), and Section 238 and Schedule 13 (repeals relating to trees specified in the Schedule to SI 2012/601) come into force for, 28/11/2014 Section 198 (appeals relating to old mining permissions) comes into force, in relation to Wales, insofar as it is not already in force (see the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 3) (Wales) Order (
01/01/2018 Sections 14(1)(m), 14(1)(n), 27 and 28 in relation to dams, reservoirs and the transfer of water resources, enter into force for England only (see SI 2017/1078)

Characteristics

Subject

Energy/climate change General policy Land and development Sustainable development Transport Waste

Source

OPSI (Office of Public Sector Information)

Affected Sectors

Cross-sector Oil Water Electricity Gas Waste and Cleaning Construction Transport Rail Transport
ECM

Planning Act 2008

Document Status: In force/Current

Scope: England, Scotland, Wales

Commentary:

27/03/2015 Amending Order (SI 2015/949) published.
10/03/2016 Amending Order (SI 2016/306) published., 16/01/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/16) published, for England and Wales only.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published.
10/11/2017 Commencement Order (No. 3) (
SI 2017/1078) published, for England only., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance:

26/11/2008 Received Royal Assent, 26/11/2008 Provisions of Parts 1 to 9 (except Section 194(2) to (5) and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7) come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 11, except Sections 206, 211(7), 224 and 225 come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 12, except Section 238, comes into force (see Section 241), 26/01/2009 Sections 194(2) to (5), 201, 202, 203 and 225 (together with related entries in Schedule 13), and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7, come into force (see Section 241)
01/03/2010 Certain Sections including Sections 15 to 20 and Sections 22 to 26 brought into force by The Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No.4 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/101)
06/04/2010 Certain provisions brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 5 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/566)
06/04/2011 Sections 14(1)(o) and 29 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2011 (SI 2011/705)
01/10/2011 Sections 14(1)(p), 30 and 153 and Schedule 6 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2011 (SI 2011/2054)
06/04/2012 Sections 192 and Schedule 8 (tree preservation orders), Section 193 (existing tree preservation orders: transitional provisions), and Section 238 and Schedule 13 (repeals relating to trees specified in the Schedule to SI 2012/601) come into force for, 28/11/2014 Section 198 (appeals relating to old mining permissions) comes into force, in relation to Wales, insofar as it is not already in force (see the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 3) (Wales) Order (
01/01/2018 Sections 14(1)(m), 14(1)(n), 27 and 28 in relation to dams, reservoirs and the transfer of water resources, enter into force for England only (see SI 2017/1078)

The trio of wind farms off the Norfolk and Kent coasts are being developed by Vattenfall and Ørsted. If given the go-ahead, the three would add an additional 4,500 megawatts of capacity to the national grid. 

But Natural England has concerns that, under current plans, Ørsted’s 2,400MW Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm will have an unacceptable impact on EU-protected sites and species. 

The regulator said that the combined impacts of the 696km2 wind farm will create a high collision risk rate in the Flamborough and Filey Coast special protection area (SPA) home to the protected kittiwake. Damages to sandbanks and subtidal sands in the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef special area of conservation (SAC) and the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds marine conservation zone (MCZ) and Markham's Triangle MCZ would also be too great, Natural England said. 

Vattenfall is behind the two other wind farm projects – the 340MW Thanet Extension Offshore Wind Farm and the 1800MW Norfolk Vanguard wind farm. But Vattenfall’s saltmarsh mitigation plan for Thanet is not up to scratch, said Natural England. An agreed timetable of mitigation works to be carried out prior to any pre-commencement works is essential, the regulator added.

According to Natural England’s last statement on the Norfolk Vanguard project, an unacceptable risk to nine bird species including the red-throated diver, kittiwake, guillemot, razorbill and puffins across four SPAs prevented it from backing the project. 

Extensions have been granted for all three offshore wind farms until June to allow interested parties to have their say on revised remediation measures under the Planning Act 2008.

To view the ministerial written statement in full click here

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