Surfers Against Sewage has published their new guidance for offshore renewable developers today, World Ocean Day, as the first act within the new Protect Our Waves (POW) campaign. The guidance highlights sites of special surfing interest that developers should avoid. If the guidance is used effectively it could also help speed up the consent process for suitable offshore developments.
The guidance can be read here and SAS are posting a hard copy to all offshore renewable developers as well as the relevant industry and Government bodies.
SAS has consistently supported offshore renewables and believe they can play a vital part in meeting the UK’s legally binding commitment to generating 15% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020. SAS’s guidance is the first document to really promote the surfing community as an important stakeholder in this sector. It identifies what wave resources are important to the UK surfing community and where they might be. The guidance works within the existing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and so shouldn’t be more onerous. SAS’s new guidance can facilitate offshore renewable developments by speeding up the current consent process for suitable projects.
SAS believes it is imperative that any potential impacts on the nearshore wave climate are considered within the EIA process. This is especially relevant with the larger scale projects proposed in the latest rounds of seabed leasing for offshore energy production. Whilst the initial, smaller offshore wave, wind and tidal projects currently in the water appear to have negligible impact on the near shore wave climate to date, larger projects have the potential to have larger impacts.
Surfing is a well established sport in many regions of the UK, providing great economic and social benefits to the surfing and wider community. It is estimated that over 1% of the UK population surf. In 2004 surfing brought in over 64 million to the Cornish economy, as well as providing over 1,600 jobs. However, with larger scale projects being encouraged, SAS are concerned any possible impact on the surf resource and surfing community is being overlooked. Offshore renewable developers embracing this new guidance will ensure that the surfing resource and the surfing community are well engaged with the EIA process and any potential impacts can be highlighted early on and hopefully avoided.
This guidance launches the Protect Our Waves (POW) campaign, a significant expansion of SAS’s campaign remit. The POW campaign is dedicated to the protection of surf spots from unacceptable levels of environmental impact, impacts on wave quality and recreational water users right of access. SAS will use their 20 years campaign experience, expertise and contacts to ensure the POW campaign is heard at the highest levels of Government down to local decision makers. SAS will work with, and where necessary, against NGOs and developers to ensure surf spots get the protection they deserve.
Surfers Against Sewage Campaign Manager, Andy Cummins, says: “There’s an abundance of clean sustainable energy in the offshore environment, enough for surfers and offshore renewables to both get their fill. We hope this new guidance will highlight sites of special surfing interest that offshore developers can avoid. This is the first action of many within the POW campaign, here to ensure surfers have a voice.”