Scottish task force makes offshore recommendations

UK: A Scottish government task force has recommended the creation of a national database of marine survey data to reduce duplication of effort and minimise cost and time.

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The group comprises Marine Scotland, which is the government directorate set up to manage the seas around the country, environmental regulators, renewable energy developers and seabed owners The Crown Estate.

The task force also wants to see common standards in data collection and assessment, the use of mandatory multilateral consultation with all sea users including fishermen, oil and gas interests and shipping, and the prioritisation of early work to identify potential sites for deep water and far-shore wind farms.

The report was welcomed by environmental group WWF Scotland. Its director Dr Richard Dixon said: "We need to make sure we get the right renewables in the right places. The recommendations from the task force are very helpful in making sure the government and industry bring together all the available information on the marine environment, and engage early with stakeholders."

Jim Smith, SSE (the former Scottish & Southern Energy) MD of renewables said: "We welcome the Scottish government’s recognition of the issues faced by the offshore renewables industry around consenting.

"The recommendations of the task force are an important step forward in addressing those issues and we look forward to seeing them implemented. We sincerely hope that these measures help unlock the enormous potential of offshore wind…projects around Scotland."

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