Statutory consents

We work with and alongside many different stakeholder and industry organisations.

Crown Estate leases and environmental assessments

Any marine renewable energy project in UK territorial waters or the UK Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) requires a lease from us in order to make use of the seabed. These leases cover the areas where offshore wind, wave or tidal infrastructure are located, and the area occupied by the cables which transport the electricity to shore.

All statutory consents and permits must be obtained before we can issue a full lease. Although we are not the issuing body, we do provide strategic support to tenants during their project planning and environmental impact assessment processes. However, it is the tenant's responsibility to undertake all the work required to gain the statutory consents necessary for their project.

During the consenting process, renewable energy developers will need to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and demonstrate compliance with the Habitats Regulations (possibly through an appropriate assessment). More information about the Habitats Regulations is available from the statutory nature conservation agencies.

Renewable energy developments are generally subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), which is conducted by DECC or Marine Scotland.

Although we do not issue statutory consents, outside of seabed areas subject to an agreement for lease or full lease our permission is required to undertake surveys which physically affect the seabed. This includes benthic ecology surveys and geotechnical surveys. This is the same principal which applies to surveys on land. By requiring renewable energy tenants to seek this permission, we are able to manage activity on the entire marine estate more effectively, and to identify potentially conflicting activities.

Main statutory consents:  England and Wales

In England and Wales, the main statutory consent for offshore wind projects of 100 MW or more is a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the Planning Act 2008. For smaller developments, a marine licence (under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009) and a consent under the Electricity Act 1989 will be required. Depending on the location and nature of the project, other consents may also be required, including planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for onshore developments. More information on these consents is available from the Marine Management Organisation, the Welsh Government and the Infrastructure Planning Commission.

Examples of English / Welsh key statutory consents

The consenting of offshore renewables projects is complex. Examples of statutory consents include: