Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma.

We are concerned about a proposal for a new project which could potentially cause disturbance and harm to thousands of the seabirds that call RSPB South Stack reserve on Anglesey their home. Read on to find out more about the proposal and what you can do to show your concern about the risks to the guillemots and razorbills at RSPB South Stack.

The developer, Menter Môn, has applied to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) for a Marine Licence to develop a marine renewable energy project – the West Anglesey Tidal Demonstration Zone - in a sensitive ecosystem off the Anglesey coast.

The planet faces biodiversity collapse and a climate emergency, both these crises need to be tackled together. More renewable energy is a crucial part of tackling climate change, but developments need to be sited and planned in ways that avoid adding to the nature crisis.

The proposal

The project is for a Marine Demonstration Zone for tidal stream energy – this would use turbines that harness tidal currents. If fully developed it could result in the construction and deployment of up to 620 devices over 35 square kilometres of sea to generate around 240MW of renewable electricity. Some of the turbines would be fixed to the seabed and others floating on the surface.   

 The MDZ lies off the west coast of Anglesey close to the RSPB South Stack reserve and other important sites for nature, in an area where species including puffin, guillemot, kittiwakes and razorbills can be spotted each summer. More than 180,000 people flock to the area where they can see over 10,000 guillemots and 1,300 razorbills roosting on the sea cliffs. 

This is novel technology and the impacts on marine life are hard to quantify. Modelling shows a range of effects are possible, one estimate (which is not the worst case) is that around 60% of the guillemots and 98% of the razorbills at RSPB South Stack could be lost through collision with the turbines. 

It is therefore highly uncertain what level of tidal stream development might avoid adverse effects on the seabird populations at RSPB South Stack. We are concerned about the scale of the consent that is being sought. Our view is that the application has not adequately addressed the risks to seabirds and that it could have unacceptable impacts on nature. For this reason, we have objected to the application for a Transport and Works Act Order which is needed in addition to a Marine Licence. 

We want to see an approach to development that safeguards our seabirds – this means limiting development to a level that can be demonstrated as safe for nature and researching the effects of novel technology to improve scientific understanding.

The Marine Licence consultation is another opportunity to speak up for seabirds by calling on decision-makers (NRW in this case) to ensure they fully safeguard RSPB South Stack’s seabirds when assessing the application. You can join us in voicing your concern over potential impacts of the current proposal to the seabird populations at the site by contacting NRW by email marinelicensing@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk by the 8 January 2020.

Click here for more information.

  • I would like to voice my objection to the proposed development of MDZ off South Stack, which is an important area for seabirds and also mammals.   I cannot use the above link, so will put my objection here and hope it is transferred to the proper authority and as all objections have to be in by the 8th January I also hope many other people put pen to paper also.