Improving Planning Advice Services for Offshore Renewables

 

New arrangements provide a single source of environmental advice to offshore renewable energy developers

 

This move prompted by industry feedback during the Government’s Triennial Reviews of JNCC and Natural England, will see Natural England take over sole responsibility for providing advice for offshore renewable energy out to 200 nautical miles in English waters. This change covers offshore wind, wave and tidal projects.

 

This has been achieved through formal delegation of specific responsibilities from JNCC to Natural England which means that all provision of environmental advice on renewable energy projects in inshore and offshore waters adjacent to England can now legally be provided by Natural England rather than being split across two agencies.Offshore wind farm © Alex Brown

 

The two agencies have been working together to hand over casework on a case by case basis. Some cases will be handed over with immediate effect while others will be transferred at a later date. This handover process is due to complete by the end of February 2014.

 

The delegation only applies to advice on renewable projects around England. JNCC will continue to be the statutory advisor on aggregates and oil/gas casework in all UK offshore waters and will continue to advise on renewable energy casework in Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish offshore waters. JNCC will increase its role in strategic renewable energy work by addressing scientific issues that affect casework in all parts of the UK.

 

Marcus Yeo, Chief Executive of JNCC, said: “The delegation of responsibilities to Natural England demonstrates JNCC’s commitment to working closely with other statutory bodies to improve service delivery. It will allow JNCC to focus our efforts on other crucial aspects of environmental advice on offshore renewable energy.”

 

Director of Marine at Natural England, Alan Law, commented: “These important improvements will enable customers to avoid having to deal with multiple agencies for statutory planning advice on offshore renewables. We will be in touch with developers with current cases to outline the arrangements for the handover of their cases from JNCC to Natural England. Following handover, developers will be able to use Natural England as their sole point of contact, reducing the duplication that many cases required in the past.

 

David Walker, Offshore Development Director, ScottishPower Renewables said: “This delegation of responsibility is important for two key reasons. It allows us to have one statutory point of contact for nature conservation input to our English offshore projects, which is much more efficient. It also allows JNCC’s greater involvement in the strategic work urgently required to address ecological challenges to offshore consenting. The offshore renewables industry needs timely, cost-effective, and clear advice which does not delay the delivery of vital energy infrastructure”.

 

Contact File

 

Lisa Chilton

Head of Offshore Industries Advice

Tel: +44 (0) 1224 266552