The RYA are continuing to raise concerns over plans to construct a tidal energy project under 1km offshore from South Stack on the West Coast of Anglesey. The project, which has the potential to be one of the largest of its kind in Europe, would include a combination of visible power generating devices which would sit above the sea’s surface, partially submerged but piercing the surface and fully submerged ones which would be hidden from view.
On behalf of our members, the RYA continue to raise concerns about the safety and outlined restrictions placed on the planned narrow navigation channel between the coast of Anglesey and the proposed site for the tidal energy structures. Although the RYA supports the development of marine renewables to reduce the use of fossil fuel we must ensure that all such installations take proper account of existing uses and navigational safety for recreational boat users.
Richard Hill, RYA Planning and Environment Officer said: “We believe that the safeguarding of maritime users should always take precedence during marine developments such as this. Our concerns are that the plans do not recognise the possible navigational obstructions or marine emergencies that could occur during each of the site’s development stages. Nor do the plans fully evaluate the potential vulnerability inflicted on boaters by reducing open, popular and crucial recreational waters to a narrow, and potentially unsafe, navigational channel.”
The RSPB have also raised grave concerns over the impact of the project, a recent assessment carried out by the charity has found that 60% of guillemots and 97% of razorbills could be lost from the South Stack area as a direct consequence of the development.
RSPB Cymru Director, Katie-jo Luxton stated that if the developers, Menter Mon, are seriously concerned about the lasting impact of their energy sources on local habitats, then they should introduce the project using reduced, step-by-step methods with careful monitoring.
“We are calling for the large 240MW scale proposal to be withdrawn and be replaced by a smaller scale initial ‘pilot’ project. A smaller scale permission reduces the risks of environmental damage and maximises learning about new technologies in this highly environmentally sensitive location.”
The RYA can also see merit in a smaller scale initiative which reduces the impact on maritime users, particularly by shortening the potentially dangerous inshore channel being proposed by Menter Mon. A proposal, reduced in scale would provide additional sea room to mariners seeking safety along the Anglesey coast during poor weather or limited visibility.
Gerwyn Owen, CEO RYA Cymru Wales, stated: “The channel has been identified as a critical stretch of water by our members and clubs, and with support of the legal department of RYA, we can show the importance of maintaining safe and appropriate passage for our recreational boaters.
“A number of our clubs across North Wales, not only Anglesey, have inputted into the objections. The local knowledge of our members has enabled us to shape the right response to the applicants to reconsider their proposal. We are very much for a renewable energy project of its type, but not to the detriment of our boating community.”
If you have any questions about the Morlais Tidal Energy Project or require further information regarding marine planning, please visit the Planning and Environment Hub on the RYA website. Alternatively, if you are a member of the RYA and require advice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.