More nature research required for Hollandse Kust (west)

More nature research needed for Hollandse Kust (west) offshore wind farm

More research is needed into the environmental impact for the Hollandse Kust (west) wind farm. In particular the effects of nitrogen and the impact on soil life, says the Netherlands commission for environmental assessment in its advice to the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate.

The Dutch government wants to generate wind energy at sea. Hollandse Kust (west) is part of the Dutch Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2030. The wind energy zones have been previously selected. A site decision determines where and under what conditions a wind farm can be built in the Hollandse Kust (west) wind energy zone. Before the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (in accordance with other ministers) decides on the plots, the environmental effects of a wind farm are examined in an environmental impact report (EIA).

Two sites

In the Hollandse Kust (west) wind energy zone, there is room for at least two plots of (maximum) 760 MW each. A preferred location and an alternative location were investigated for Lot VI and one location for Lot VII. The EIAs have been prepared. Lot VII and the preferred location for Lot VI have (slightly) negative effects on collisions with birds and lead to habitat loss. The minister had asked the Commission to advise on the environmental impact report for this wind farm.

Future Natura 2000 area

Although the report is detailed and the investigation performed is in-depth, the Commission concludes that insight is lacking into some areas. For one, it is not yet sufficiently clear what the consequences are of nitrogen deposition in the construction phase for this nature area. In addition, the impacts on the future Natura 2000 area Bruin Bank, an important bird area, are insufficient described. Thirdly, the research does not focus on the impact on species that live in or on the sea bed in this specific area. Last, the result of an FSA (Formal Safety Assessment) study was not included in the shipping safety investigation into the impacts of a passage through the wind farm.

The Committee therefor recommends implementing research into the above areas in order to fully take the environmental interest into account when deciding on the plots. Bron: