Marine Licence issued for the Morlais Tidal Stream Demonstration Project

On 14 December 2021 we issued marine licence ORML1938 to Menter Môn for the Morlais Tidal Stream Demonstration project off the coast of Holyhead, Angelsey.

This followed a robust determination of the application which included three public consultations and engagement with technical advisors and specialist organisations to help inform our decision and future regulation of this development.


How can I access the licence documents?

All documents for the licence can be accessed on NRW online Public register using the case number ORML1938

What is the Marine Licence for?

The project will provide a tidal technology demonstration zone, specifically for testing the installation and commercial demonstration of multiple arrays of tidal energy devices. The licence will allow for up to an installed capacity of 240 Megawatts (up to 620 tidal devices) to the year 2060. The offshore development area covers an area of 35km2 to the west of Anglesey. The project will include communal infrastructure for tidal technology, a shared route to a local grid connection via nine export cable tails, an onshore landfall substation, and an onshore electrical cable route to a grid connection via a grid connection substation.

Does the development require planning permission

Menter Môn submitted an application for a Transport & Works Act Order which was issued by the Welsh Minister on 10 December 2021.

Our determination of the marine licence application is made independently of any other consents.

How was the project assessed if the exact devices to be deployed are not known?

The project has been assessed under a Project Design Envelope (PDE) (using what is known as a ‘Rochdale Envelope’). This approach looks to provide flexibility, acknowledges the rapidly evolving nature of tidal stream technologies and allows for future tidal stream innovations to be deployed across the site. The assessment of environmental effects takes into account the ‘worst-case’ parameters within the PDE. The marine licence ensures that any devices deployed are within the parameters defined in the PDE.

How many devices will be deployed initially?

The project will be installed in phases, with monitoring carried out throughout to inform further phases and the need (or not) of further mitigation measures.

Phase 1 and any subsequent phase, will only proceed at a scale that ensures no significant impact is predicted, based on best available evidence. The scale of each phase, including Phase 1, will be agreed with NRW prior to deployment of any devices.

How and when might more devices be deployed?

Scaling up will only occur if the licence holder is able to demonstrate, following monitoring of the existing phase, that the next phase of deployment could proceed without a significant effect to matters such as species (e.g. marine mammals, diving birds) and navigation.

How will you know if the tidal devices are having an impact on wildlife?

Prior to the operation of any tidal device, appropriate and effective monitoring methods will need to be agreed with NRW .

Should monitoring indicate at any point a potential adverse impact then additional mitigation will be applied. Mitigation may include the stopping or removal of tidal devices where no other effective mitigation option is possible.

How will you make sure that the project won’t have impact on other users of the sea?

A number of precautionary measures and restrictions have been included within the marine licence conditions to ensure safety of marine users ( e.g. Notices to Mariners, lighting and marking requirements). Each deployment will be controlled through navigational risk assessments to both commercial and recreational vessels.

To avoid impact on navigation routes, designated zones have been incorporated into the licence conditions. In addition to reduce impact on navigation there will be a minimum distance of 1km between surface emergent devices and the coastline.

How will you ensure compliance with the licence?

The marine licence contains specific conditions that must be complied with by the Licence Holder. Welsh Government is the body responsible for the enforcement action if there are breaches of marine licence conditions.

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