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Natural England has called for new offshore wind farms to leave nature in a better state than before and avoid any irreparable damage to the environment, in a new document published setting out its Approach to Offshore Wind.

The approach sets out how offshore wind energy can play a vital role in nature recovery as well as tackling climate change. Natural England will seek to ensure new projects ‘build in’ plans to enhance nature and protect the natural environment from the pressures presented by each new offshore wind development. The approach will be used with partners, stakeholders, government and other marine users to ensure that a thriving marine and coastal environment is a cornerstone of future developments. The approach outlines a series of objectives and actions that Natural England will focus on in partnership with others, including Defra’s Offshore Wind Enabling Actions Programme:
 
  • Setting an aim for each development to leave nature in a better state – with infrastructure designed to enhance biodiversity
  • Measures to compensate for environmental harm should be introduced in advance of any impact on wildlife and the environment – and be strategic, to scale, and evidence-based.
  • Strategic monitoring to inform stronger, evidence-based impact assessments of offshore wind developments and promoting the use of environmentally sensitive design, construction and operation of offshore wind developments to mitigate predicted impacts.
  • Development of an easy-to-use environmental sensitivities map so that planners and developers can ensure offshore wind farms and cables avoid irreparable damage to the environment
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