This page offers insight to the Licensing and Consenting (L&C) process to gain consent.
It is regretable that the 2015 Adopted National Marine Plan (NMP) , with regard to offshore renewables, has designated areas for possible future development, off Tiree, at some indeterminate time in the future , with no regard to SPR’s compelling reasons to drop the Tiree Array. Scottish Government’s NMP has simply abdicated any decision to possible future wind and /or wave development, off Tiree, into the L&C process.
Offshore consent is processed through Scottish Government and it agencies. This contrasts with onshore consents,which is processed via Local Government and its agencies.
The L&C agency in Scotland is vested in Marine Scotland’s Licensing Operations Team (MS LOT). MS LOT provides a ‘one-stop-
One of the primary agencies in -putting to MS LOT is Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) which is the Scottish public body responsible for the country’s natural heritage. SNH advises Scottish Government ,and acts as a government agent in the delivery of conservation designations.
SNH is a statutory consultee to the L&C process.It significance can be seen in Marine Scotland’s Scoping Opinion. The Scoping opinion outlines to the Developer the many issues and constraints to be addressed in any subsequent Consent S36 application. In the case of the Tiree Arrays Scoping Opinion ,SNH contributed over 50% of its content
SPR for the TIREE (Argyll)ARRAY would have been required to make a Section 36 (S36) application, under the Electricity Act 1989. This refers solely to ‘ offshore generators’ . Legislation is currently progressing to anticipated Royal Assent in 3Q 2013 whereby powers will be transferred to Scottish Ministers to grant deemed planning permission, via the S36 consent, for any terrestrial components of an offshore renewable generating station . (NTA has asked Marine Scotland to define and specify ‘terrestrial components‘)
For on shore elements essential to an offshore application the Developer could apply for Deemed Consent. This is a new planning power which has yet to be applies .It was always NTA’s opinion that Deemed Consent was a power too far with potential for considerable Developer abuse.
In the case of the Tiree Array this mainly concerned the possibility of an onshore converter station as illustrated
In contrast to an offshore converter station, similar to this this huge structure
NTA felt SPR was always economical with the actualité” in its responses to questions of Deemed Consent.
The Scottish Ministers would have made the final S36 consenting decision for the Tiree(Argyll) Array.
This process is vested with MARINE SCOTLAND (MS)
The MS Directorate is responsible for the integrated management of Scotland’s seas and its stated purpose,from Scottish Government, is to manage Scotland’s seas for prosperity and environmental sustainability.
MS Key Responsibilities
- Work towards achieving good environmental status, through our marine planning, licensing and other functions, to help ensure a healthy and sustainable environment.
- Promote sustainable economic growth from marine renewables industry and other marine and maritime industries through integrated planning and, where appropriate, streamlined regulatory frameworks.
- Promote sustainable, profitable and well managed fisheries and aquaculture industries in Scotland.
- Ensure sustainably managed freshwater fish and fisheries resources.
- Ensure a sound evidence base to inform the development and delivery of marine policy, planning and services.
- Ensure effective compliance and enforcement arrangements.
- Continue to integrate our functions and resources, and to develop our organisational skills, competencies and capacity to ensure effective and efficient marine management arrangements in Scotland.
It’s powers are derived from the MARINE SCOTLAND ACT (2010)
SPR in its Scoping Request (Aug2010) anticipated making their consent submission in Q2 2012 .This was subsequently put back to 2013 . In Mar 2012 SPR announced a further 12 months delay to second half 2014. This was subsequently updated (in 30 Oct Oct 2012) to 4th Q 2014. Five weeks later (7 Dec) SPR put the Array on hold, subject to review end 2013 .
Consequently any SPR consents application for the proposed Array has become indeterminate .
If (1) SPR was to re-start the project (SPR uses the ” If ” word!!), then,(2) with the time frame to any consents submission- decision etc, and, (3) IF consented , and (4) thereafter no further delay to the project (most unlikely), (5) the proposed Tiree(Argyll) Array could not be fully operational till 2023.
The L&C process is vested in, and initiated by : Marine Scotland’s Scoping Opinion
Scottish Ministers are obliged under the EIA regulations to respond to requests from developers for a scoping opinion on outline design proposals.
This document is to provide advice and guidance to developers (SPR) to address issues collated from expert consultees , whom Scottish Government has consulted eg SNH to enable developers , in this case SPR, to address the issues identified in the EIA process, and the ES associated with the application for Section 36 consent .
Marine Scotland has given NTA this fuller explanation of the process:-
The scoping process for s36 applications is not mandatory, however MS LOT strongly encourage developers to go through the scoping process. Scoping is there to assist developers in identifying the key environmental issues surrounding their proposal. Scottish Ministers achieve this by drawing on the knowledge of internal and external stakeholders. Once the scoping process is complete, it is for the developers to produce and submit an Environmental Statement in support of their application. Developers should take care to clearly address any issues raised within the scoping report in their ES. Developers are aware that a gate-checking exercise is undertaken within MS LOT prior to formal acceptance of the application and ES.
NTA put it to MS that this could be summarised as:- “At grave risk of over simplification SPR has to tick all the boxes of this Scoping Opinion prior to making its planning application”.
To which MS replied:-“SPR don’t have to tick all the boxes, but we would certainly encourage them to do so “.
THE LICENSING PROCESS( Extracts and Flow diagrams from draft Marine en Scotland L&C Manual Oct 2012 )
For SPR’s Scoping Request to MS , to which MS respond with their Scoping Opinion, click on this link:-