Offshore Renewables Protocol

We launched the Offshore Renewables Protocol to protect our nation’s underwater heritage and support the offshore renewables industry.

Offshore wind farm

Developed in partnership with Wessex Archaeology, our Offshore Renewables Protocol for Archaeological Discoveries provides an umbrella system for reporting, investigating and protecting archaeological finds throughout the offshore development process.

Offshore wind developers have unique opportunities to access marine heritage in hard to reach places. During their exploration of the seabed, they can uncover archaeological items that shed light on past human endeavour.

over 530

archaeological discoveries recorded

Launched in 2010 and updated in 2014, our Offshore Renewables Protocol has helped identify hundreds of archaeological discoveries, including anchors, bones, cannons, flints, teeth, timber and tusks. Peat and other sediments containing worked flint, charcoal, insects and pollen have also been reported, improving understanding of life before the Ice Age, when the seabed was inhabited land linking the UK to the continent.

This Protocol was developed as part of our 5-year strategic programme of projects to support the future development of the offshore renewables industry. The UK leads the European offshore wind industry, with more turbines installed than the rest of Europe combined. Confidence in the future development pipeline is strong, with offshore wind power on course to meet around 10% of the UK’s electricity demand by 2020.

Our Offshore Renewables Protocol builds on a similar scheme for the marine aggregates industry, through which many significant finds have also been recorded.

We’ve partnered with Wessex Archaeology and The British Museum to develop a Marine Antiquities Scheme that all other users of the seabed can use for reporting archaeological finds.

Further information

Marine Aggregates Protocol

Marine Antiquities Scheme

ORPAD at Wessex Archaeology