Natural England Publishes New Approach to Offshore Wind Development

Natural England has called for new offshore wind farms to leave nature in a better state than before and avoid any irreparable damage to the environment, in a new document setting out its Approach to Offshore Wind.

The approach has been set out as offshore wind expansion represents a central aim of the Government’s ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ and will play a significant role in achieving net zero.

The approach outlines a series of objectives and actions that Natural England will focus on in partnership with others, including Defra’s Offshore Wind Enabling Actions Programme:

  • Setting an aim for each development to leave nature in a better state – with infrastructure designed to enhance biodiversity.
  • Measures to compensate for environmental harm should be introduced in advance of any impact on wildlife and the environment – and be strategic, to scale, and evidence-based.
  • Strategic monitoring to inform stronger, evidence-based impact assessments of offshore wind developments and promoting the use of environmentally sensitive design, construction and operation of offshore wind developments to mitigate predicted impacts.
  • Development of an easy-to-use environmental sensitivities map so that planners and developers can ensure offshore wind farms and cables avoid irreparable damage to the environment.