Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm: Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment – A Year of Coasts and Waters Case Study

Submitted by LUC

LUC supported the consenting of a 450 MW wind farm off the east coast of Scotland.

LUC was appointed by Mainstream Renewable Power in 2012 to undertake a Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (SLVIA) of the proposed Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm. The name means ‘strength of the wind’ and the project will be located 15 km from the easternmost point of Fife, between the Firths of Forth and Tay.

To agree common approaches and baselines, LUC’s landscape planners took part in early discussions with the developers of two nearby proposed offshore wind farms, and with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and local authorities. We agreed a common set of viewpoints and undertook a regional coastal character assessment, as well as a review of design approaches, seeking to limit the potential for cumulative effects.

The SLVIA examined the effects of the wind farm on coastal character and views, from St Abb’s Head in the south to St Cyrus in the north, with a particular focus on the closer coasts of Fife and East Lothian. Field work included a trip out to the Isle of May in the Forth, and viewpoint photography from atop the Arbroath Signal Tower.

LUC completed the SLVIA for the original application, and the resubmission in 2018, both of which were consented. We also prepared a Design Statement to satisfy a planning condition, illustrating the finalised project design. LUC continues to be involved in Neart na Gaoithe, now being developed by EDF Renewables, and we are currently working towards the discharge of planning conditions for the onshore grid connection works.

LUC’s work supports the ongoing expansion of Scotland’s offshore wind energy generation, which will continue with the upcoming ScotWind leasing round.

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