As progress is made on the Morlais tidal energy development – the project is now stepping up its engagement with the sailing, power boating and kayaking community.
In a recent virtual meeting with Phil Horton and Richard Hill of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), Morlais Director, Karen Jones outlined plans which have been put in place to ensure continued safe navigation and enjoyment in the area.
Karen explains: “It has been important to us from the very beginning to listen to the views of all our stakeholders, so we were pleased to take this opportunity to speak directly to the RYA and continue our dialogue with them.
“We understand that recreational and leisure mariners, including sailors, motor boaters and kayakers enjoy the area in and around the zone which has been designated for Morlais. So, we have paid special attention to ensure they can continue to do so safely.”
During the recent meeting and at previous engagement events, the RYA and others have raised their concerns with the Morlais team. Karen explains the changes which have been made to the project so far in response to those concerns: “We have listened carefully to the navigational concerns raised and taken steps to assess and respond to them, this includes our Navigational Risk Assessment. We have also reduced the area of Morlais zone which will have surface or floating devices by 60% as a result of consultation. The minimum width of the inshore passage has also been increased to 1km and almost two thirds of the site will have an under-keel clearance (UKC) of at least 8 metres at the lowest tide.”
She adds: “We are keen to stress that the deployment of tidal energy devices as part of this project will be phased over a number of years. Each phase will only be implemented after a full assessment of navigational risks and will take into account any learning and feedback from the previous phase – including the experience of local mariners navigating in the area.”
This process of engagement and listening will continue as the project moves forward. Over the coming weeks members of the Morlais team will continue to meet with local sailors and representatives of other recreational marine users to listen to views and where possible discuss steps to ensure continued enjoyment and safety in the area.