'Joint Working Is The Key To Wind Farm Development' Say Fishermen

18th February 2015 in Marine Planning and Licensing

Industry calls for collaboration to protect valuable industry and livelihoods as new wind farm project takes step forward.

'Joint Working Is The Key To Wind Farm Development' Say Fishermen

UK Fishermen are today calling for a more collaborative approach to planning around what would be the country’s largest wind farm at Dogger Bank Creyke Beck off the Yorkshire coast to protect a vital industry and the livelihoods of coastal communities. The call follows the announcement this week that the UK government has granted planning consent to this project, which could see up to 400 wind turbines placed in the North Sea.

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) which represents fishermen’s groups, individual fishermen and producer organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has cautioned against the disruptive effects new developments can have on the fishing industry and have called for more joint working as the planning stages continue.

The NFFO has stated it will be important as planning continues to make sure fishing areas are made safe and practical for vessels operating in the vicinity of the new developments. Ensuring that cables are buried and remain buried is also key to ensuring seabed hazards are minimised to make coexistence a reality. Even with these efforts, however, some types of fishing such as seine netting are not thought to be able to operate within the vicinity of the projects because of the area they need to work their gear.

Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the NFFO commented: “The fishing industry has worked closely with offshore developers for many years to ensure protection for our most important fishing grounds against new developments. This kind of collaborative approach has proven the most effective way of limiting potential damage to valuable fishing areas and we must use this as the planning for this particular development continues.”

Currently offshore wind provides around three percent of the UK's electricity demand, but in order to meet its legally binding EU renewable energy target of 15% from renewables by the year 2020, this will need to increase substantially. Establishment of the Dogger Bank wind farm, which has the potential to create 900 new jobs in Yorkshire and supply about 2.5 per cent of the country’s electricity, is yet to secure final investment and will also need to secure backing under the government’s renewable energy subsidy system.

Deas continued: “Our call for better planning and closer dialogue follows an earlier development where poor preparation and decisions based on inadequate information placed a wind-farm development on one of the best lobster grounds in the country. To avoid similar disruption to an industry providing a vital, healthy and sustainable food source to our island nation, it will be crucial for the two industries to collaborate on how to deliver a solution which will protect traditional fishing grounds and the livelihoods of our fishermen.”

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