FIRST Flight Wind has published an offshore scoping report for public consultation.
In parallel, it has also written to the Department of Environment and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment requesting a scoping opinion. The report outlines the proposed content, methodologies and key issues to be contained in the offshore section of the Environmental Impact Assessment.
In June 2013, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment notified First Flight Wind that a full Environmental Impact Assessment would be required for the project because of its scale and the potential environmental effects.
This offshore scoping report ensures that all keys impacts will be included in the assessment of the offshore elements of the project: from ornithology to commercial fisheries and from shipping and navigation to impacts on the landscape.
A separate onshore scoping report will be published for consultation in early 2015, once the options for potential grid connection points have been established.
First Flight Wind spokesman Jack Farnham said: “The offshore scoping report will establish what the key issues are with regards the offshore elements of this project, for example, who or what may be affected by it. It will also outline the methodology and approach used to assess and consider these impacts.
“We encourage members of the public to review the scoping report, which is available from www.firstflightwind.com, and to provide any comments they have back to First Flight Wind within the six week consultation period.”
After the six week period of consultation, First Flight Wind shall publish a report responding to all comments received during the consultation.
A reference copy of the scoping report will also be available at the following information points: Seagems at Ardglass; Downpatrick Library; Kilkeel Library; Newcastle Library; Newry Library; Portaferry Library; Warrenpoint Library; and Carlingford Tourist Office.
The offshore scoping report is divided into sections and covers an overview of the project, the physical, biological and human environments, the next steps regarding the consent application itself and the construction and operation phases of the offshore project.
A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (for both the onshore and offshore elements) will be required as part of the First Flight Wind consent application for the project.