With RWE and SSE Renewables joining forces for North Falls Offshore Wind Farm, an extension to the existing Greater Gabbard, Barton Willmore is set to play a leading role in the development consent order (DCO) consenting process.
Barton Willmore’s infrastructure and energy team will bring a fresh approach to the consenting of offshore wind farms which focuses on applying a planning perspective and mindset to the process. The approach will ensure that all aspects of the technical assessment and consultation requirements can be identified, drawn together and addressed. Compared to the engineering-led approaches seen on previous projects, the outcome of this new approach will be to achieve a balanced resolution of all of the issues and factors, ultimately leading to a consent which is both flexible and deliverable.
Barton Willmore will be an integral part of the consenting team having oversight of, and responsibility for, the end-to-end delivery of the DCO. They will also work closely with the project’s key consultants including those responsible for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and habitats regulations assessment as well as other advisors to ensure planning is at the centre of the overall consenting process.
"A fantastic win for us," says Barton Willmore's Ben Lewis.
Ben Lewis, infrastructure and energy director at Barton Willmore, said: “This is a fantastic win for us and shows the potential of our consultancy model to support DCO developers on wind farm and other Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. We bring a consent-focused approach grounded in planning and EIA strategy which places the DCO at the heart of the design process. We’re harnessing experience and expertise from across a wide portfolio of renewable energy and linear planning projects and packaging that into something distinctive. The combined experience of our team will bring real benefits to the project and we’re tremendously excited by the opportunity to showcase what we can do to support the realisation of the North Falls Offshore Wind Farm.”
Daniel Harper, consents manager at North Falls, said: “We’re assembling a bespoke team to deliver this incredibly important project and ensure that it progresses smoothly through the planning and consenting process. Barton Willmore will bring a great deal of DCO experience, which will undoubtably add value to our project. Their skills and expertise are well-known and we’re looking forward to working with them.”
The three-year North Falls Offshore Wind Farm development programme will see Barton Willmore and the wider consultancy team work together to prepare the application, from initial site surveys and stakeholder consultation to finalising the application design and associated assessments. The team’s work will allow the client to identify the optimum approach for the wind farm balanced with a suitable package for mitigating environmental or ecological impacts, minimising these wherever possible.
The existing Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, which is located more than 20 kilometres off the UK coast in the southern North Sea, has an operational capacity of 504 megawatts. The proposed extension project is named North Falls Offshore Wind Farm, after the North Falls sandbank located to the southern tip of the proposed site, which covers an area of 150 square kilometres and is adjacent to Greater Gabbard. The final generating capacity of the extension project will be determined during the development and consenting process.