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Large scale marine energy projects in Natura2000 - legal aspects

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This is about legal aspects of large-scale marine energy projects in Natura2000 sites.

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  • If anyone is interested in more information on the legal aspects of large tidal and wave energy projects in the EU, please contact me at s.r.w.vanhees@uu.nl.
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Large scale marine energy projects in Natura2000 - legal aspects

  1. 1. Large-scale marine energy projects in Natura 2000 sites Legal aspects Oosterschelde & Pentland Firth case study Sander van Hees PhD researcher
  2. 2. Case studies Pentland Firth (UK) – MeyGen (first phase) 6 turbines (6 MW) Oosterschelde (NL) – Tocardo 5 turbines (1.2 MW)
  3. 3. Designated Natura 2000 sites Pentland Firth (UK) Oosterschelde (NL)
  4. 4. Potential impacts on protected nature Pentland Firth (UK) Oosterschelde (NL) Birds (eg ‘Red-throated diver’) - Displacement and a loss of foraging habitat - Bird-turbine collisions Marine mammals (seals and cetaceans**) and fish (eg Atlantic salmon) - Mammal-turbine collisions - Barrier effects Overall: a lack of knowledge Habitats - Increased erosion of sand banks Marine mammals (seals and cetaceans**) and fish (eg Sea lamprey) - Mammal-turbine collisions - Barrier effects Birds (eg Sandwich Tern) - Less visibility because of turbulence Overall: a lack of knowledge
  5. 5. Decision making process for protected habitats 1. Is there a probability, or a risk, that the project will have a significant effect on the site?
  6. 6. Decision making process for protected habitats 1. Is there a probability, or a risk, that the project will have a significant effect on the site? Competent authority may grant authorisation of the project NO 2. Appropriate assessment YES - Can it be excluded on the basis of objective information, that the plan or project will have a significant effect on the site concerned? - Is the project likely to undermine the conservation objectives of the site?
  7. 7. Decision making process for protected habitats 1. Is there a probability, or a risk, that the project will have a significant effect on the site? 3. Does reasonable scientific doubt remain as to the absence of lasting adverse effects on the integrity of the site? Competent authority may grant authorisation of the project NO 2. Appropriate assessment YES * Mitigation * - Are the protected habitats and species stable or increasing and are the specific structure and functions which are necessary for its long-term maintenance exist and are likely to continue to exist for the foreseeable future? - No exclusion of all possible risks - Are possible mitigation measures available? - Does step 3 offer flexibility to competent authorities?
  8. 8. Decision making process for protected habitats 1. Is there a probability, or a risk, that the project will have a significant effect on the site? 3. Does reasonable scientific doubt remain as to the absence of lasting adverse effects on the integrity of the site? 4. Competent authority must refuse authorisation of the project Competent authority may grant authorisation of the project YES NO 2. Appropriate assessment YES * Mitigation *
  9. 9. Decision making process for protected habitats 1. Is there a probability, or a risk, that the project will have a significant effect on the site? 3. Does reasonable scientific doubt remain as to the absence of lasting adverse effects on the integrity of the site? 4. Competent authority must refuse authorisation of the project Competent authority may grant authorisation of the project Unless: 1. No alternative solutions 2. ‘Imperative reasons of overriding public interest’ 3. Compensation 4. Inform the European Commission YES NO 2. Appropriate assessment YES * Mitigation *
  10. 10. Decision making process for protected species Is one of the prohibitions breached? • Prohibition of deliberate disturbance, capture or killing. • Prohibition of deterioration or destruction of breeding sites or resting places. Competent authority may grant authorisation of the project Exception, for non-bird species (eg porpoises): - No satisfactory alternative - Populations maintain at favourable conservation status - imperative reason of overriding public interest Yes NO Exception, for bird species: - No satisfactory alternative - Listed reasons: it is in the interest of public health and safety; for the protection of flora and fauna, etc…….
  11. 11. Sander van Hees PhD researcher Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law s.r.w.vanhees@uu.nl

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