How we have developed our proposals
Throughout the development of the Project, we’ve been carrying out assessments across a wide range of environmental topics to better understand the area we could work in and the potential impacts the Project may bring.
This includes work to better understand the proposed design of the Project and how it could be constructed (see our construction pages)
Below is an overview of our assessment work to date.
The Morecambe Offshore Windfarm and the Morgan Offshore Wind Project are expected to provide positive long-term environmental benefits by providing homes with renewable energy. We realise, however, that any major infrastructure development can create effects and it’s important that these potential effects are identified, managed, minimised or, if possible, avoided.
In October 2022 we published a Scoping Report which set out what we understood, at the time, to be the Project’s likely effects on the environment and how we would assess them.
Our Scoping Report was followed by the Secretary of State’s Scoping Opinion, which was provided in December 2022. Our Scoping Report is available to read in our information hub.
The Secretary of State’s Scoping Opinion is available to read on the Planning Inspectorate’s website: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk.
Since receipt of the Scoping Opinion, we have been carrying out a range of environmental assessments to better understand the potential impacts of the Project. We have also engaged with statutory bodies to understand in greater detail the area that we’re proposing to work in.
Our environmental assessments are undertaken using a wide range of data sources, including Project specific surveys.
Using the wide range of data gathered, we have produced a PEIR. The PEIR provides a summary of the Project, the site selection process, engineering design development and the key findings of the EIA process to date. The purpose of the EIA is to allow stakeholders to develop an informed view of the development, as required by The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.
In each topic chapter of our PEIR we have set out how we have addressed comments included in the Scoping Opinion. This is set out in full in Volume 1, Annex 5.1 of the PEIR.View Volume 1, Annex 5.1
To support our non-statutory consultation, we published a PEIR.
This is a statutory requirement of the DCO process and provides the preliminary findings of our environmental assessments, including the likely environmental effects of the Project and how they could be mitigated. We want you to tell us if there are any potential environmental effects that you think we might have missed or anything else we should consider.
Feedback from our statutory consultation, and further technical work, will help us to refine our plans and develop our Environmental Statement, which will form an important part of our DCO application.
Please note that the information provided is by no means exhaustive or fully representative of all the work we’ve done. More detailed information about all the assessments we’ve carried out and the subsequent results can be found in our PEIR.
Consultation is a crucial part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) process and has been carried out to date with both statutory and non-statutory stakeholders through pre-scoping consultation and through the EIA Scoping Report. A summary of the key issues raised during consultation activities undertaken to date, specific to the project description, is presented in Volume 1 Chapter 3 of the PEIR, together with how these issues have been considered in the design of the Project.View Volume 1 Chapter 3
Onshore substation site selection
To maintain electrical independence, one substation will be required for the Morgan Offshore Wind Project and one for the Morecambe Offshore Windfarm. Following confirmation from National Grid that the wind farms would connect to the National Grid substation at Penwortham, work began to identify areas in the vicinity of Penwortham as a part of the route planning and site selection process.
Land within 8km of the substation at Penwortham was assessed for its suitability based on a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- Environmental sensitivities e.g. statutory and non-statutory designated sites, such as priority habitats, flood risk and modelling information, and contaminated land
- Ground conditions, such as topography Analysis of baseline environmental survey data, including ornithology (breeding bird and wintering bird) surveys
- Proximity to residential properties and receptors
- Accessibility to the existing road network
- Utility infrastructure (mains and high pressure gas and water pipelines, and overhead pylons and lines).
This resulted in the identification of four substation zones, two north and two south of the River Ribble. These were presented at our non-statutory consultation between April and June 2023. Key feedback received at these consultations included proximity to neighbouring communities, visual impact of the substations, flood risk, ornithology, and potential effects on landowners.
Following these non-statutory consultations, further analysis was undertaken of the substation zones to refine and establish the most suitable zones for siting the onshore substations. Zones 3 and 4, south of the River Ribble, are rich in sensitive habitats that support numerous protected species of birds and are constrained by space, topography and access.
Zone 2, north of the River Ribble, contains sensitive habitat similar to that found at Newton Marsh and along the Ribble estuary supporting numerous protected bird species. Zone 2 also contains two gas main pipelines, and is generally at higher risk of flooding. Zone 1 is further from designated sites and contains fewer sensitive habitats, as well as having better access to the main highway network. As such the area of Zone 1 has been selected as the basis for the "onshore substations statutory consultation area" (see our About the Project pages.)
Within the onshore substations consultation area a number of constraints have been identified. As such the siting of the preferred substations are based on the space required and constraints such as proximity to residential receptors, utilities, watercourses, topography and access.
Further detail on the site selection process and the outcome of the work undertaken to date regarding the substation search areas is presented in Volume 1, Chapter 4 of the PEIR.View Volume 1, Chapter 4
The process of site selection and refinement remains ongoing, and following this statutory consultation, the final siting for the onshore substations (and associated temporary and permanent infrastructure) will be presented in the final application alongside the Environmental Statement.