The Consenting Process
Menter Môn applied to Welsh Government under the Transport and Works Act for consent to develop and operate the Morlais tidal energy project. Menter Môn also applied to Natural Resources Wales Marine Licensing Team for a marine licence under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Both processes run in parallel with each other. Consent was granted in December 2021.
Environmental Impact Assessment
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was prepared as part of the consenting process, based on a scope of work agreed with National Resources Wales and Welsh Government and informed by statutory consultees. Independent experts conducted detailed studies to understand the potential impacts of the project during construction, operation and decommissioning stages. The studies include:
- Marine sediment and water quality.
- Natural heritage, benthic ecology, marine mammals, fish and shellfish, ornithology, terrestrial and coastal ecology.
- Seascape and landscape.
- Shipping and navigation.
- Archaeology and cultural heritage.
- Tourism and recreation.
Consultation was an important element of the process, with statutory consultees on key technical issues as well as with the community and other interested groups.
An ‘Environmental Statement’ (ES) was submitted with the applications. The ES report set out conclusions on predicted environmental effects and proposed mitigation measures that may be required if impacts cannot be avoided.
Stage 1 – Consenting
This stage aimed to ensure consent for the development of Morlais.
Stage 2 – Implementation
Consent was granted to Morlais by Welsh Government in 2021. The focus will now be on what is needed to implement the development.
Construction will happen in phases. Work on land starts in 2022, with work offshore to start in 2023. This will enable developers of tidal energy technology to deploy their devices in the sea and operate them to generate electricity.