Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm

Received 22 June 2018
From Whale and Dolphin Conservation


WDC have been engaging with UK and devolved government bodies and developers for several years regarding marine renewable energy and provide our advice regarding marine renewable developments and their impacts on whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans).

Due to the impacts of climate change on cetaceans, WDC supports the development of well-considered marine renewable energy. However we have serious concerns about the potential impacts of these developments both individually and cumulatively, have on cetaceans.

WDC are particularly concerned that the construction of Hornsea Project Three offshore wind farm has the potential to negatively impact cetaceans, in particular harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and the integrity of the Southern North Sea candidate Special Area of Conservation (cSAC), for which harbour porpoise are the qualifying feature. The cSAC site includes key winter and summer habitat for this species.

Although Hornsea Project Three offshore windfarm does not lie directly within the cSAC, it’s very close proximity means that the windfarm construction will impact the cSAC both alone and in-combination.

The planned installation of all windfarms, as well as other activities within and adjacent to the cSAC, have the potential to disturb the harbour porpoise population of the cSAC and so should be taken into consideration.

Our primary concern for Hornsea Project Three Offshore Windfarm development surrounds the intense noise pollution resulting from pile driving for all cetacean species in the region. Should consent be granted, our key recommendations for this development are:

• That pile driving is not used at all during construction;
• That strict limits be placed on noise levels during construction, including cumulative noise,
• That proven mitigation methods are in place around the source to mitigate the impacts of radiated noise levels;
• That a robust impact monitoring strategy (Marine Mammal Monitoring Plan (MMMP)) is developed for the range of species that can reasonably be expected to be impacted;
• That WDC is included as a consultee of the MMMP and that we are included in the discussions for the design of the MMMP as we have concerns regarding effectiveness of some mitigation methods;
• A robust MMMP should include: shut-down when marine mammals approach within a specified distance of operations (mitigation zone);
• That the monitoring strategy is appropriate to consider cumulative impacts of all developments in the region;
• Ground-truthing of modelled noise assessment data should be undertaken;
• Should any incident that results in mortality occur during construction, activities should be halted immediately until an investigation can be completed;
• An assessment report is publicly available within a reasonable timeframe of construction completion.