ABPmer to assess habitats for renewables plan
Mon, 02 March 2015
UK-based ABPmer is to carry out Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) for Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s (HIE) Marine Renewables Infrastructure Plan (MRIP)
Under the EC Habitat and Birds Directive, any new plan or project has to undergo a Habitat Regulations Appraisal to determine whether it is likely to have a significant effect on certain European protected sites and how an adverse effect on site integrity can be avoided.
“We have successfully completed over 10 strategic-level marine HRAs, including those for the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan and the Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scotland,” said Elena San Martin, project manager, ABPmer.
“We have also recently completed the first ever UK-wide plan-level HRA for The Crown Estate (for their wave and tidal energy further leasing plan) and we are currently engaged in two further plan-level HRAs,” she added.
ABPmer has worked closely with key stakeholders in Scotland over the last few years to develop and apply the methods for plan-level HRA work.
“This experience will be vital for the MRIP HRA. This is not just because it will ensure the work is of a high quality, following the latest principles of marine plan-level HRAs, but also because we have a good understanding of the concerns of key stakeholders, particularly Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and are therefore in a strong position to engage with them. The results of the HRA will provide valuable information for port and harbour developers,” Ms San Martin concluded.