Developments in the North West
The north east Irish Sea has been and continues to be an area that attracts a large amount of coastal and offshore development. There is very little of the seabed that remains untouched by windfarm turbines, gas rig, communications and energy cabling, rock armouring and MOD ordnance. Along with coastal development large areas have been subject to sea defences. Each of these affects the natural marine ecosystems and impacts on fishing activity. For example the natural sandy and muddy seafloor is being changed gradually in parts by the amount of scour protection and rock armouring, resulting in a change of habitats, which may attract different species.
Science officers regularly report to the Authority on engagement, liaison and consultation carried out during the lead-in and development stages. At times they facilitate face-to-face dialogue with the fishing community.
One of the largest developments proposed is NuGen’s new nuclear power station at Moorside on the west coast of Cumbria. This development will affect the marine environment and sea fisheries resources in at least three ways, as follows:
- Construction materials will be brought to the site by sea – necessitating the building of a Marine Off Loading Facility (MOLF) out into the Irish Sea;
- The nuclear power station will require both cooling water intake and output
- The power generated by the power station needs to be transferred into the national grid by a new high voltage network, and Officers have been engaged with National Grid over the routing and design of the North West Coast Connections project since 2010. Grid propose to build a tunnel under Morecambe Bay with a single ventilation / emergency shaft contained in an islet in the Bay.
You need a Marine License if you wish to perform certain activities at sea. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) handles all Marine Licensing. The NWIFCA are statutory consultees on all Marine Licence proposals within the district. The science team respond to these consultations with a particular emphasis on possible impacts on fisheries resources. Depending on the proposal the NWIFCA may consult the committee before commenting.
More information on Marine Licensing is available on the MMO website.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is creating Marine Plans for 11 areas, including the North West. The plans aim to encourage the sustainable use of resources, identify areas for future development and help people find the best location for their activities.
The MMO has started the planning process for the North West with the aim of publishing the first draft by April 2017.