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 20 July 2018
From Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority

Representation

Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) has reviewed the application for a Development Consent Order for Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm and the associated documents and would like to raise the below comments regarding the inshore sections of the cable corridor which pass through our district (out to 6nm):
• The change in routing of the cable corridor across the SAC and around the MCZ, rather than directly across the MCZ, significantly increases the footprint of the corridor and thus the impacts of works on the fishing industry, local and commercially important species and the habitats that they utilise. Whilst we support the decision to move the cable route away from the sensitive chalk features, we question why a more direct route that goes from Weybourne and crosses the north west corner of the MCZ has not been proposed. This would reduce the total footprint of the inshore section of the cable route, and thus reduce the impacts on the fishing industry and seabed habitats. It would also lie across more mobile coarse sediments (according to the existing habitat data), compared to mixed sediments which are known to have a higher sensitivity and a lower recoverability to disturbance, reducing ecosystem impacts.
• To accurately assess seabed disturbance resulting from cable installation activities and the requirement for rock armouring cable protection, a better understanding of the habitats in the cable corridor is required and should be conducted through further habitat surveys.
• Eastern IFCA have concerns over the requirement for rock armouring cable protection, due to the potential impacts on soft-sediment habitats and on the fishing industry. Recent experience of Race Bank cable installation in The Wash and North Norfolk Coast Special Area of Conservation (SAC) have shown operation and maintenance requirements have increased considerably beyond initial predictions with subsequent increases in seabed disturbance and the potential for the exclusion of fishing activities within certain areas where cable cannot be buried. This raises the question of how realistic the predictions are for Hornsea Three cable installation, operation and maintenance activities and increases the potential for cumulative impacts and increased in-combination effects with other activities.
• Following discussions with some of the local potting fleet, it is apparent that the proposed cable route lies within an important area for the fishery. The heaviest impacts are expected to be on those that fish out of Cley-next-the-Sea and Weybourne. There are also concerns regarding the displacement effects of another cable route on the fishery and the cumulative impacts on the local fishing fleet from cable installation, operation and maintenance works across the inshore areas of the district. The potting fishery represents a substantial contribution to both national and local economies, including the tourism section, and any detriment experienced by the fishing community would have wider repercussions on the local economy/community.
• Eastern IFCA suggest a wider assessment is required of the cumulative and in-combination impacts of offshore wind farm development (including Electro Magnetic Fields) and other licensed activities on fish and shellfish dependent on seabed habitat, particularly habitat that provides important spawning and nursery areas, given the increasing number of such developments off the East Anglia coast.