ORML1938 Morlais Marine Licence Application – Tidal Stream Demonstration Project

What is the marine licence application for?

On 17 September 2019 Menter Môn submitted a marine licence application to NRW for a Tidal Stream Demonstration Project called Morlais.

The project will provide a consented tidal technology demonstration zone, specifically designed for the installation and commercial demonstration of multiple arrays of tidal energy devices up to an installed capacity of 240 Megawatts (up to 620 devices). The offshore development area where proposed installation can be placed covers an area of 35km2 to the west of Anglesey. The project will include communal infrastructure for tidal technology developers which provides a shared route to a local grid connection via nine export cable tails, an onshore landfall substation, and an onshore electrical cable route to a grid connection via a grid connection substation.

What is NRW’s role in determining the marine licence application?

In Wales, as the marine licensing authority on behalf of the Welsh Ministers, NRW’s role is to determine Menter Môn’s marine licence application. This covers aspects of the project for works required to be undertaken within the marine environment and tidal areas (area which falls seaward of Mean High Water Springs) and to decide whether to issue a licence with conditions or refuse the application. The steps we follow when deciding whether to grant or refuse a licence are defined by legal requirements.  

In considering whether or not to issue a marine licence, NRW must take into consideration the need to protect human health, the environment and the need to ensure that the proposal does not interfere with legitimate uses of the sea.  We make this determination based upon the best available evidence submitted in support of the application and submitted to us through the consultation process.

We are required to justify this decision within the confines of these legal limitations. For example, it would not be appropriate for us to refuse the licence simply because there was local opposition to the activity being carried out at this location.

What organisations have you consulted with?

We work with a number of organisations and expert bodies to seek their views on protecting human health, the environment and potential interference with legitimate uses of the sea. These include but, are not limited to:

  • Various departments within Natural Resources Wales eg Technical Experts;
  • Royal Yachting Association;
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency;
  • Trinity House;
  • Isle of Anglesey County Council; &

Each of these expert bodies would comment on their area of knowledge or responsibility. For example, we will ask the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to comment on potential interference with other sea uses such as shipping and safe navigation. We will work closely with all consultees to address any concerns and take their expert advice into account when making our decision.

In addition to consulting with organisations and public bodies, we have also consulted with the public, to help us to take account of views that we might not otherwise be aware of. We publicly consulted on the information submitted in the original application. That consultation ran for 42 days starting on the 27 November 2019 and ended 8 January 2020.

Following consideration of consultation responses further information was requested from the applicant on the 2 March 2020, and subsequently received on the 8 July 2020.

We consulted with a number of organisations and expert bodies to seek their views on this further information submission. In addition, we consulted with the public. This second consultation ran for 42 days and ended on the 9 September 2020.

The application documents including the further information submission can be accessed on our online public register (You can search for the documents using the application reference number ORML1938).

What will be the next steps?

Following consideration of the supporting information and the consultation responses received we considered that further information is required from the applicant in order to properly consider the potential environmental effects of the project. Further information has been requested from the applicant on the 14 October 2020.

We are currently awaiting the submission of this information. Once this information has been received, we will again consult with a number of expert bodies to seek their views on the submission as well as consulting with the public.

We will consider all responses received during the consultation period to help inform our determination of the application.

We will continue to assess all the information we have received to help us make our decision, and will seek further expert advice if required. We may also choose to request clarification or further information from the applicant if considered necessary.

Once we are satisfied that we have fully assessed all the relevant information, we will announce our decision.

We will produce a decision document that summarises our proposed decision and shows how we’ve taken comments we’ve received into consideration.

We’ll publish our final decision on our website.

Here is a summary of the decision process that associated with this type of ‘Band 3’ marine licence application. 

What other consents does the project need?

In addition to the marine licence application, Menter Môn has submitted an application for a Transport & Works Act order which is currently being considered by Planning Inspectorate Wales. Further information on the application for a Transport & Works Act order can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.  Our determination on the decision regarding the marine licence application is made independently of other consents.