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Consenting Strategic Advisory Group
Science and Evidence Advisory Sub-group
13 December 2022
Jim McKie (Eurona): facilitator
Sharon Davies (WG – Marine Licensing and SEAGP Secretariat)
Morgan Johnson (WG – Marine Licensing and SEAGP Secretariat)
Ceri Seaton (Natural Resources Wales)
Kirsten Ramsey (Natural Resources Wales)
Ceri Morris (Natural Resources Wales)
Tom Hill (Marine Energy Wales)
Stephen Thompson (Marine Energy Wales)
Ben Smith (The Wildlife Trust)
Jennifer Fox (ORJIP)
Kate Smith (Nova Innovation)
James Orme (Morlais)
Sue Barr (Cambrian Offshore)
David Collier (Minesto)
This SEAGP meeting began with a review of the Group’s agreed work-plan with a discussion on the live actions that should be taken forward to the Consenting Strategic Advisory Group (CSAG) for ongoing consideration, as this is the last meeting of SEAGP, which has delivered against its objective. This time-limited Group has advised on the best available evidence emerging from operational tidal stream projects around the world, resulting in the Group delivering a series of technical, topic specific Information Notes to facilitate the consenting of sustainable marine renewable energy projects.
Following the discussion, Sue Barr of Cambrian Offshore presented on the Ramsey Sound project, providing an update on the monitoring data collected during the operational phase of the device. A question-and-answer session followed, and a constructive discussion was had around how developers can find solutions to and mitigate against risks by working collaboratively and sharing of data.
David Collier of Minesto shared his views on adaptive management in practice and how language used in policy documents and advice can negatively impact investor opportunities for a sector which is recognised as emerging. The views were understood, the language and terminology used in the consenting process requires further consideration. However, the use of adaptive management is considered to be an enabling approach to consenting especially for emerging sectors where the evidence base regarding actual impacts to the marine environment is limited.
As this was the last meeting of SEAGP, members held a short reflective session on what the Group as achieved since its inception, what worked well and what could be done differently next time. The meeting closed with a commitment to continue discussions at CSAG on the key consenting challenges, including the evidence needs of the sector and with thanks given to all members for their time and positive, constructive engagement throughout the duration of SEAGP.