In July 2014, The Crown Estate concluded a competitive leasing process for wave and tidal stream energy across the UK. In Welsh waters, seabed leases were issued for a tidal stream demonstration zone and an individual project site off West Anglesey, and a wave energy demonstration zone off Pembrokeshire. Under the UK ‘Habitats Regulations’1 and the ‘Offshore Habitats Regulations’2 The Crown Estate was required to undertake an assessment of the effects of their leasing plan on European protected sites (Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and Ramsar sites). This assessment is referred to as a plan-level Habitats Regulations Appraisal, or HRA.
The Crown Estate’s HRA provides a high level assessment of the likely effects of wave and tidal stream energy developments in the project sites and demonstration zones on European protected sites. It provides a useful reference and source of information for zone managers and developers and might be used to inform project level assessments for wave and tidal stream energy projects in Wales. For example, it highlights those European protected sites and their designated features which might be affected by projects in each site and zone. The Crown Estate’s ‘Summary Reports’ for each demonstration zone and project site detail how this information can be accessed by developers and zone managers within the outputs from the HRA. To request access to the summary reports, please contact The Crown Estate.
Please note that the HRA does not assess the likely impacts of individual device types, or of specific projects within the sites and zones and does not negate the need for developers and zone managers to undertake their own project specific EIA and HRA.