ORML2233 Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Marine Licence Application

What is the marine licence application for?

On 30 May 2022, Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Limited submitted a marine licence application to NRW for a Fixed Offshore Windfarm named, Awel y Môr.

Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm is a proposed sister project to the operational Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm off the north-east coast of Wales. Awel y Môr will comprise up to 50 Wind Turbine Generators and all associated infrastructure required to transmit the electricity generated to shore.

The Awel y Môr array area lies approximately 10.5km off the north-east coast of Wales. The offshore Export Cable Corridor extends from the south-western to south-eastern boundary of the array area in a south-easterly direction to meet land at Frith Beach between Rhyl and Prestatyn.

Outside of the scope of this marine licence application, an onshore Export Cable Corridor extends from the landfall to the onshore substation west of St Asaph Business Park before connecting to the National Grid substation at Bodelwyddan.

What is NRW’s role in determining the marine licence application?

In Wales, as the marine licensing authority on behalf of the Welsh Ministers, our role is to determine the marine licence application. This covers aspects of the project for works required to be undertaken within the marine environment and tidal areas (the area which falls seaward of Mean High Water Springs) and to decide whether to issue a licence with conditions or refuse the application. The steps we follow when deciding whether to grant or refuse a licence are defined by legal requirements.

In deciding whether or not to issue a marine licence, we must consider the need to:

  • protect human health
  • protect the environment
  • ensure that the proposal does not interfere with legitimate uses of the sea.

We make this determination based upon the best available evidence submitted in support of the application and submitted to us through the consultation process.

We are required to justify this decision within the confines of these legal limitations. For example, it would not be appropriate for us to refuse the licence simply because there was local opposition to the activity being carried out at this location.

What organisations have you consulted with?

We work with a number of organisations and expert bodies to seek their views on protecting human health, the environment and potential interference with legitimate uses of the sea. These include but, are not limited to:

  • Various departments within Natural Resources Wales e.g. technical experts
  • Royal Yachting Association
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency
  • Trinity House
  • Relevant Local Authorities
  • RSPB

Each of these expert bodies would comment on their area of knowledge or responsibility. For example, we will ask the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to comment on potential interference with other sea uses such as shipping and safe navigation. We will work closely with all consultees to address any concerns and take their expert advice into account when making our decision.

In addition to consulting with organisations and public bodies, we also consult with the public, to help us to take account of views that we might not otherwise be aware of. We publicly consulted on the information submitted in the original application. That consultation ran for 42 days and ended 18 August 2022.

Following consideration of the consultation responses, we requested further information from the applicant on 8 September 2022.

Further information was received from the applicant on 25 November 2022. We consulted with a number of organisation and expert bodies to seek their views on the further information submitted. In addition, we consulted with the public, this consultation ran for 42 days and closed on 26 January 2023.

The further information along with all available documents associated with the application can be accessed on our online public register (You can search for the documents using the application reference number ORML2233)

What are the next steps?

We will consider all responses received during the consultation period to help inform our determination of the application.

We will continue to assess all the information we have received to help us make our decision, and will seek further expert advice if required. We may also choose to request clarification or further information from the applicant if considered necessary.

Once we are satisfied that we have fully assessed all the relevant information, we will announce our decision and publish it on our website along with the decision document that summarises our decision and shows how we’ve taken comments we’ve received into consideration.

What other consents does the project need?

In addition to the marine licence application, Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Limited has submitted an application for a Development Consent Order which is currently being considered by the Planning Inspectorate. Further information on the application for a Development Consent Order can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

There are some aspects of the environmental assessment where we will rely on the assessment carried out under the Development Consent Order process. Nevertheless, the determination of the Development Consent Order and the Marine Licence have their own separate and distinct processes.

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