A consortium of leading environmental consultancies, led by WSP Future Energy, has been commissioned to develop a series of "guiding principles" to be used by all reputable firms contributing to assessment of the cumulative impacts of proposed offshore wind farms in UK waters.
The project has been commissioned in order to assist developers of Round 3 offshore wind farms, as they prepare consent applications, several of which are scheduled for submission to regulators toward the end of the year.
Uncertainty about how cumulative impacts should be judged has been "shown to lead to significant delays in achieving consent", with the assessment of impacts on sea birds and marine mammals causing particular concern.
Funded by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the project will involve industry consultation over the summer, with a final set of guiding principles for cumulative impact assessment due to be unveiled at the end of September.
In addition to WSP, other consultancies that will contribute to the development of the guiding principles include: ABPmer, Oxford Brookes University’s impact assessment group, ERI and Levett Therivel. The consortium will be led by WSP senior technical director, Martin Broderick, and WSP head of offshore renewables, Beverley Walker.