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Consent process for reneable projects announced

Defra Press Release

CONSENT PROCESS FOR WAVE AND TIDAL RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS ANNOUNCED


With the publication today of the consent process for wave and tidal demonstration projects in England and Wales, the Government has put in place the conditions that will allow the sector-leading UK marine industry to demonstrate and fulfil the renewable energy potential of our seas.

Commenting on today's announcement, Malcolm Wicks said: "The U.K. has a fledgling marine renewable energy industry. This consenting guidance together with the previously announced 50m package of financial support gives the marine renewables sector an opportunity to develop. We look forward to the evolution of a world-class U.K. industry and the clean energy and economic benefits that would go with it.

"In order to help produce this energy from our marine resource my department has ring-fenced elements of the 50 million Marine Renewables Deployment Fund. Up to 2 million will be used for impact monitoring and research funding over the life of the demonstration projects. We have set aside up to 6 million for infrastructure projects. The remaining 42 million will be allocated through a new scheme that will support the first multi-device demonstration projects."

"The publication today of guidance for industry and stakeholders of the consenting process for England & Wales underpins the Government's financial support. There is now a complete programme in place that, whilst providing prudent safeguards, facilitates getting pre-commercial projects into the water."

The DTI has worked intensively with industry, stakeholders and across Government in the last six months to produce guidance that meets the needs of business by promoting progress while allowing concerns about the possible impact of devices on other users of the sea and on the environment to be properly monitored and evaluated.

The guidance contains no explicit constraints on site choice, duration and scale of demonstration projects. Pre-commercial or demonstration project managers will be required to follow the normal process for energy developments. They will be asked to produce project-specific Environmental Impact Assessments. The level of detail of the EIA will be proportionate to the risk and scale of potential impacts.

There will be no need for a Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) for the time being. DTI believes that knowledge gained from monitoring and research in the demonstration phase will allow a thorough and more valuable SEA to be conducted prior to a commercial phase. There will be a full public consultation on the SEA.

There will be a call for bids under the 42m Wave and Tidal Stream Energy Demonstration Scheme, which has now received approval from the European Commission, in the first quarter of 2006.

Notes to editors

* Full details of the consent process will be available from Monday 7/11 here: http://www.dti.gov.uk/renewables/renew_3.12.htm
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