The most recent newsletter for the Awel y Môr windfarm has just been published. You can access this from the Awel y Môr website here. The newsletter provides an update on the project proposals, progress with the consenting process, and the consultation on Community benefits. These are briefly summarised below.
Consenting Process Update
The proposed windfarm will require consent from both the UK and Welsh Governments. Although the consenting processes will run in parallel, there are some differences in timescales and opportunities for getting involved, outlined below.
UK Government: Development Consent Order
One of the consents required for the project will be a “Development Consent Order” (DCO), issued by the UK Secretary of State for Energy.
Before a DCO is issued, a detailed application must be submitted to the UK Planning Inspectorate and subjected to detailed scrutiny. The application for the Awel y Môr windfarm DCO was submitted in April 2022 and was accepted for consideration by the Planning Inspectorate at the end of May.
The formal evaluation of the application by the Planning Inspectorate is now underway. This is a process that will run through several stages, including public “Examination” of the application. The process will take at least a year, until the Planning Inspectorate makes a recommendation, and the UK Secretary of State for Energy takes a Decision on the DCO.
There will be opportunities for public and stakeholder participation in the DCO process later this year. Full details of the planning process and the steps involved are provided in the newsletter, which also highlights opportunities for getting involved in the planning process to ensure that it takes your own views into account. Key points are:-
- You can register as an “Interested Party” for updates on the DCO application process on the Planning Inspectorate website here.
- You can also request a physical copy of the registration form by phone (call the Planning Inspectorate on 0303-444-5000 quoting “Awel y Môr” and the reference number ENO010112)
Registration is free and will ensure that you are kept informed about each step in the process. The newsletter also provides detail on how you can register your interest by phone or post.
Welsh Government: Marine Licence
The windfarm will require a “Marine Licence” as well as the DCO described above. In Welsh Territorial waters, Marine Licences are issued by Natural Resources Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government.
The application for a Marine Licence was submitted on 30th May. The initial “validation” process is now underway, and it is anticipated that this will be completed later in June. Consultation notices will be issued towards the end of May seeking responses on the application during a statutory 42-day period.
The dates for the consultation on the Marine Licence have not yet been finalised, and we shall circulate a further update once it is underway.
Consultation on Community Benefits
The consultation on the community benefits package for the windfarm ran from February to April this year, and received over 400 responses from across North Wales. The Awel y Môr project team are now developing the community benefits package in the light of these comments and will put together a set of headline findings that will be shared later this year.
About the proposed windfarm
If approved, the Awel y Môr windfarm would be built around six miles off the North Wales coast, to the west of the existing Gwynt y Môr windfarm. Awel y Môr would be connected to the National Grid by an export cable coming ashore between Rhyl and Prestatyn. The proposed windfarm would include up to 50 wind turbines. It could generate enough power for up to half a million homes, and it will be the largest renewable energy investment in Wales in this decade.
Full project details and maps of the windfarm location are available at the project website awelymor.cymru.