Derogation agreed to allow six offshore wind farms to proceed in parallel with discussion over managing adverse effects

Six fixed offshore wind projects have been given the green light by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with no objections from the Welsh Government, to enter into an Agreement for Lease with seabed owner The Crown Estate.
The green light means the Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 plan can progress under a ‘derogation’ from certain requirements, after it completed a Habitats Regulations Assessment. The Crown Estate said “The use of derogation for Round 4 reflects the complex challenges faced as the marine environment becomes increasingly busy”.
Dan Labbad, chief executive of The Crown Estate said: “Today is a pivotal moment on the UK’s journey towards net zero, strengthening the potential pipeline of future offshore wind projects and building vital resilience in domestic renewable energy supply.
“It is the result of a tremendous collective effort from industry, environmental and conservation stakeholders, governments, and technical experts who have helped shape a rigorous and evidence-led outcome. In convening this broad range of stakeholders, we have been able to take a more informed and strategic approach to environmental compensation than ever before, ensuring we balance our rich biodiversity with the urgent need to progress vital renewable infrastructure.”
The Crown Estate has used a new strategic approach to the Habitats Regulations Assessment, convening key bodies to work through the challenges.
The Habitats Regulations Assessment could not rule out significant adverse effects on two protected habitats (the Dogger Bank Special Area of Conservation and the Filey and Flamborough Head Special Protection Area). Consequently, in accordance with the derogation, for the first time The Crown Estate will establish a Steering Group for each of these two protected sites, comprising government and statutory nature conservation bodies and the relevant project developers to oversee the development and delivery of strategic environmental compensation plans.
As projects progress, the Steering Groups will engage with The Crown Estate’s HRA Expert Working Group to develop detailed individual site compensation plans.

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