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Marine renewables

We are strongly supportive of a sustainable marine renewables industry, with appropriate development in appropriate locations. Nonetheless there are uncertainties over potential nature and landscape impacts, and these have the potential to limit development in certain locations.

Our role in marine renewables

We have a number of important roles in relation to the Marine Renewables industry:

1.Influencing the location of proposed schemes. Key to minimising impacts is avoidance of potentially sensitive locations, where natural heritage interests are greatest or likely to be most sensitive to such technologies. Close liaison with Crown Estate, through the leasing process, and Scottish Government, at the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) stage, is vital.

2. Advising on consent applications. Developers of marine renewable energy schemes require consent under various statutes. The Regulators of these depend upon us for advice on potential natural heritage implications, options for avoidance or management of impacts and advice on baseline surveys and monitoring.

3. Undertaking research on interactions with the natural heritage. Sound advice on consent applications depends upon an accurate understanding of the species and habitats which might be affected and on how species might interact with operational devices. SNH has a key role in funding or guiding such research and supporting industry and regulators in monitoring of deployed devices.

4. Developing and providing guidance. Based on our research and practical experience working with other industries, SNH is developing guidance for developers and regulators on baseline surveys of wildlife and habitats, monitoring of interactions with turbines and prevention or management of impacts.


In order to help developers and their consultants provide meaningful information to SNH, we have produced guidance on a range of topics relevant to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Habitats Regulation Appraisal (HRA) of proposed schemes. These include, for example: marine megafauna entanglement risk, a diving bird collision risk assessment framework for tidal turbines, and guidance on establishing connectivity between seabird SPAs and areas proposed for marine renewables development. 

Scottish Natural Heritage guidance on the assessment of marine renewables impacts is available on our published guidance page. The Scottish Government's marine renewables research external site web page also contains links to a range of Government funded studies relevant to offshore wind, as well as the wave and tidal sectors.


To ensure a prompt response, all enquiries relating to marine renewables casework should be sent in the first instance to For guidance and research, contact

EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre) OpenHydro's open centre turbine tidal power test rig in Orkney. ŠJohn Baxter/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Wave and tidal

Guidance and policy relevant to wave and tidal technologies...

Robin Rigg Offshore Windfarm Site Visit. ŠErica Knott/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Offshore wind

Guidance and policy relevant to offshore wind farms

Last updated on Monday 15th February 2016 at 10:19 AM. Click here to comment on this page