ISLES II Spatial Plan and Sustainability Appraisal

Assessing the impacts of the ISLES Spatial Plan on the environment, communities and other users of the sea

The Irish-Scottish Links on Energy Study (ISLES) project planned to develop an offshore electricity grid linking renewable energy locations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

ABPmer supported Aecom in the preparation of the related Sustainability Appraisal for the Spatial Plan, which provides locational guidance for an interconnected offshore grid network.

The plan sought to take account of potential offshore energy development within the ISLES plan area at that time to develop an efficient solution for connecting potential locations of power generation to national electricity grids.

Plan development was accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal comprising Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) and Socioeconomic Impact Assessment (SEIA). The objective of the Sustainability Appraisal was to describe the likely effects of the Plan and identify measures to ensure a high level of protection to the community and environment, and to contribute to the integration of environmental and social considerations into the preparation and adoption of the Plan.

ABPmer led the preparation of the HRA and SEIA for the plan and prepared the main marine chapters of the SEA. The appraisal indicated that it would be possible to install and operate an offshore grid without giving rise to significant environmental or socio-economic effects, particularly through the application of plan and project level mitigation.