RSPB Cymru is raising grave concerns over the proposed Morlais Tidal Energy Demonstration Zone off the coast of Anglesey.
The environmental charity fears that the political and economic pressures to complete the application are pushing this development to take unmanageable risks with our fragile marine environment.
We recognise that there is an urgent need for clean, renewable energy generation as an important part of the decarbonisation of Wales. However, poorly located or ill-designed renewable energy generation projects pose significant risks to our natural environment. As we face a dual climate and nature emergency, we must plan our low Carbon and renewable energy projects in harmony with the natural environment and avoid greater impacts on wildlife.
The Environmental Impact Assessment by Menter Môn states that the development has the potential to cause the loss of 60% of the breeding guillemots and 97% of the breeding razorbills from the sea cliffs at the South Stack nature reserve run by the RSPB – which with 250,000 visitors a year is a key tourist attraction on Anglesey.
RSPB Cymru Director, Katie-jo Luxton said: “If this project is serious about being a test bed for new marine energy generation technologies in an environmentally sensitive way, it must proceed in a step-wise manner, learning from each stage. However, our faith in this approach is jeopardised by Menter Môn seeking blanket, large scale consents. We are calling for the large 240MW scale proposal to be withdrawn and be replaced by a smaller scale initial ‘pilot’ project. A smaller scale permission reduces the risks of environmental damage and maximises learning about new technologies in this highly environmentally sensitive location.”