UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published a guidance to assist developers and holders of offshore renewable energy consents and licences in understanding how these will be affected by the provisions applying to new marine Natura 2000 sites.
The guide is related to the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, which together form part of the network of sites known as the Natura 2000 network, and require that sites for certain species and habitat types are protected.
It provides clarifications on when new marine Natura 2000 sites should be taken into account in offshore renewable energy consents and licences.
It is expected that this guidance will be most relevant for developers and operators who already hold a Development Consent Order (DCO) and associated marine licences for renewable energy infrastructure within the marine environment, or are in the process of applying for one.
The guidance sets out the views of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Marine Scotland, the Marine Management Organisation and Natural Resources Wales Marine Licencing Team as the relevant competent authorities for these purposes.