Published: 30 January 2020 30 January 2020
ABPmer has published a white paper that addresses the challenges facing UK offshore wind developers in meeting the requirements of Article 6(4) of the Habitats Directive. Offshore wind expansion in UK waters is increasingly encountering problems in demonstrating compliance with the EU Birds & Habitats Directives, which rightly provide strict protection to Europe’s most important wildlife sites which form part of the Natura 2000 network.
It seems likely that further large-scale expansion of offshore wind may not be able to demonstrate with certainty that adverse effects on the integrity of European sites will be avoided, particularly in relation to cumulative effects on some seabird species such as kittiwake, razorbill and gannet.
For such projects to proceed, developers will need to demonstrate that their proposals meet Article 6(4) before they can be granted approval. The strict tests of Article 6(4) only provide for projects to proceed where there are no less damaging alternatives, the projects are necessary for imperative reasons of overriding public interest and that compensatory measures are provided to fully offset the damage. Using case examples from other sectors, the White Paper explores and considers compensatory measures that might be required to offset impacts from offshore wind projects on Natura 2000 sites and how these might be delivered.