Pathways to Growth

PATHWAYS TO GROWTH

Pathways to Growth (P2G) is the Sector Deal’s workstream focused on identifying and addressing the key environmental and consenting challenges that will be a barrier to the UK meeting its offshore wind 2030 target and playing its full role in delivering net zero. Recognising the scale of the challenge, P2G brings together government representatives, Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies (SNCBs), and industry across the UK’s Devolved Administrations to work together in partnership - to have an open and frank debate about what is required, what is achievable, and the actions needed if offshore wind is to achieve its full potential in delivering net zero whilst maintaining and enhancing the environmental status of our seas. 

“Working in partnership is critical to delivering the genuine step change needed to resolve consenting and environmental challenges and to support the offshore wind sector deliver the 2030 and ultimately the UK’s net zero targets. The commitment by the P2G Coordination Group members to  work collaboratively has seen some major steps being taken towards delivering answers in 2021, laying the groundwork for resolving long-standing challenges as we move into 2022 and as the industry continues to scale up.” 

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Benj Sykes
Workstream Sponsor, Ørsted

Working collaboratively

The work is supported by the P2G Coordination Group – a collaborative and proactive group comprising representatives of the key UK Devolved Administration consenting organisations as well as representatives from the Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland, industry trade bodies and their nominated developer representatives. 

 

The Coordination Group’s activities are overseen by the P2G Executive Board with Director level representation from BEIS, Defra, Scottish Government and Welsh Government. The Board is chaired by Benj Sykes – Workstream Sponsor and Head of Market Development, Consenting and External Affairs at Ørsted.

 

Coordinating delivery

Working together, the P2G Coordination Group has prioritised a list of the ten biggest environmental and consenting challenges that are causing delays and uncertainty in offshore wind consenting. In 2021 we have worked together to agree road maps for each of these ten issues - each roadmap setting out key milestones for work already underway or planned that collectively will deliver resolution to the issues. The roadmaps are also a tool to help identify opportunities to share best practice, work on common approaches across the UK and discuss and recommend new activities necessary to close any gaps that the road mapping process highlights.

 

Three of the ten issues have been identified by the Coordination Group as the most critical issues to resolve to support the scale of offshore wind deployment required to meet 2030 and net zero targets. These top three issues are: 

 

  • Agreeing a clear approach to the Habitats Regulations derogation process including identifying and implementing compensation measures where that is deemed necessary; 

  • Finding an effective means of ensuring that SNCBs and regulatory bodies can scale up their resourcing to meet the volume of consenting casework needed to meet the UK’s offshore wind targets; and 

  • Reducing the uncertainty around calculating cumulative impacts on seabirds by improving the evidence base and agreeing a consistent approach to carrying out cumulative impact assessments.

 

Other issues include clarifying governments’ position on underwater noise management and ensuring that learning and evidence is more rapidly adopted by decision makers. 

 

Delivery so far

2021 has seen the delivery of some pivotal activities highlighted in the P2G road maps and a major step forward in addressing P2G’s 10 prioritised environmental and consenting issues. These include the publication of Defra’s MPA Compensation Guidance consultation, the delivery of the Offshore Wind Environmental Evidence Register and the first tranche of projects securing funding through the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme (OWEC).

P2G has taken responsibility to actively support Government’s efforts to ensure that the anticipated volume of offshore wind consent case work will be resourced to meet our 2030 and net zero targets. The group is working together to define all the interlinked issues that must be addressed if we are to attract the right skills into the sector and ensure those skills are not lost from the organisations they are recruited to. P2G is also funding the development of a suite of e-learning modules for those new to the sector and specifically to consenting and environmental roles. The e-learning modules will be delivered in early 2022.

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Brian McFarlane
Workstream Lead, SSE Renewables