7.3.7. Proposed Approach to the Environmental Impact Assessment

  1. The aviation, military and communications aspects of the EIA process will follow the methodology set out in section 4; supported by desktop studies and assessments, including radar LoS modelling, that will identify and examine civil and military aviation receptors. Studies will also be undertaken in parallel with engagement meetings with specific aviation stakeholders, expected to be an iterative process in some instances, to provide a detailed understanding of potential impacts.
  2. The primary source of aviation related data to be used during desktop studies in support of the aviation, military and communications EIA is the UK IAIP (NATS, 2022) and Mil AIP (MOD,2022). Both documents contain details on airspace and en-route procedures as well as charts and other air navigation information. The aviation industry and the provision of Air Navigation Services (ANS) (including radar services) are regulated through extensive legislation; however, the main mechanism for regulating the relationship between aviation and offshore wind is through the consenting system. The documents in paragraph 551, as a minimum, have been and will be reconsidered during the aviation, military and communications EIA process.
  3. Design assumptions used to inform assessments will be clearly identified in the project description, considering worst case parameters specifically for civil and military aviation receptors.

7.3.8. Potential Cumulative Effects

  1. The cumulative effects assessment will consider the potential impacts in combination with other offshore wind farms and associated aviation activities. Potential cumulative effects on aviation, military and communications from the Array in combination with other offshore wind farm developments will be assessed through engagement with the relevant aviation stakeholders.
  2. There is a potential for increased radar interference (clutter) to PSRs and ADRs in combination with other offshore wind farms; a technical mitigation solution may need to be investigated if the potential for likely significant effects is identified.
  3. There is a potential for an increase in low level air traffic, particularly helicopter support operations to the Array and other offshore developments in the area below 2,000 ft amsl. Therefore, engagement with the MOD DIO, who safeguard military infrastructure, and offshore helicopter operators (at Aberdeen Airport) will be required.

7.3.9. Potential Transboundary Impacts

  1. The Array is completely within the Scottish FIR and due to the localised nature, in aviation terms, of any potential impacts, transboundary impacts are unlikely to occur and therefore this impact will not be considered in the Array EIA Report.

7.3.10. Scoping Questions to Consultees

  • Do you agree that the existing data available to describe the aviation, military and communications baseline remains sufficient to describe the baseline environment in relation to the Array?
  • Do you agree that the embedded mitigation described provides a suitable means for managing and mitigating the potential effects of the Array on the aviation, military and communications receptors?
  • Do you agree that the aviation, military and communications study area has been correctly identified, if not what corrections would you suggest?
  • Have all the potential impacts resulting from the Array been identified for civil and military aviation receptors?
  • Are you content that the lighting (and charting) requirements pertaining to the fitment of aviation lighting of the wind turbines are sufficient to provide situational awareness to aircrew?
  • Do you agree with the impacts scoped out in Table 7.11   Open ▸ ?

7.3.11. Next Steps

  1. Engagement will be required with aviation stakeholders. Engagement, as outlined in section 4.3.4, has commenced, and is expected to be an iterative process, allowing for any concerns that are raised to be considered in the Array design. Specific aviation, military and communications engagement will take place with the following during the EIA phase:
  • NATS including Aberdeen Radar (impacts on PSR).
  • MOD DIO (impacts to ADR and creation of an obstruction).
  • MCA (impact to airborne SAR operations).
  • Aberdeen oil and Gas helicopter operators (creation of an obstruction).
  1. The Applicant are also engaging collaboratively with other developers as an industry, with relevant aviation stakeholders, to facilitate development of a nationwide enduring radar solution. The conclusions of these discussions will be considered within the Array EIA Report.