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Moray Offshore

Moray Firth, Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd

In August 2012, Moray Offshore Renewables Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL) submitted an application to the Scottish Government (Marine Scotland) for consent to develop offshore wind power at three sites within Zone 1 of The Crown Estate’s Third Round of offshore wind licensing. This represented a major landmark, after more than two years of development work and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

OPEN was commissioned by Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd to undertake the Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (SLVIA) of the proposed development. The project is located in the Outer Moray Firth, approximately 22km to the east of the Caithness coast. The maximum generation capacity of the whole zone is 1,500MW (1.5GW), and consent to construct this capacity across the three sites – Telford, Stevenson and MacColl is being sought. As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, OPEN assessed the effect of a project envelope for the development on landscape, seascape and visual resources. The project envelope consisted of up to 339 turbines across the three offshore wind farms, together with offshore and onshore transmission infrastructure. The completion of the SLVIA allowed the significance of effects of the proposal to be assessed using established techniques and considering a range of factors, including, amongst others: The Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV); the landscape and visual sensitivity of the area; meteorological conditions; the location and design of the development; and the magnitude of change to the environment. OPEN prepared a written assessment for the Environmental Statement, wind farm visualisations, photomontages and geographic information to assist with prediction of seascape, landscape and visual effects, according to current best practice.

In March 2013, The Highland Council raised no objections to the consultation from the Scottish Government (Marine Scotland) regarding the application by MORL and the development has been consented.