Authority responds to Centrica windfarm maintenance consultations
Eastern IFCA has responded to applications for marine licences (MLA/2014/00276, MLA/2014/00291 and MLA/2014/00292) by Centrica, and its partners GLID Wind Farms TopCo Ltd and Lincs Wind Farm Limited, for operations and maintenance works within the arrays of the Lincs and Lynn & Inner Dowsing windfarms. In its role as a consultee, the authority assessed the applications against the policies of the East Inshore Marine Plan, specifically those related to its areas of expertise in fishing activity and marine protected area management.
In our response, we stressed to Centrica and its partners the need for fairness in the way the impacts of offshore wind farm are assessed as compared to other industries, like inshore fisheries, active in the same environment. Given that the arrays are within the boundaries of the Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge European Marine Site – designated to protect a number of features of conservation interest – the Authority raised concerns about the regular use of a jack-up vessel to conduct works and the need to monitor the arrays regularly in order to detect possible impacts on those conservation features.
Having responded on two occasions to this application and discussed the matter directly with Centrica and Natural England, we are confident that the applicant and national statutory bodies will jointly agree to monitor for conservation feature impacts and to adjust their schedules of jack-up vessel usage according to monitoring results. The authority’s full responses are available on request.