These Information Notes will support careful consideration of how, for a particular development, potential impacts that are considered low risk could be safely retired from further detailed consideration within Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), where available evidence supports this approach. Ocean Energy Systems-Environmental (OES-Environmental) has set out a general process for risk retirement1,2 but for developments in Welsh waters, risk retirement should always be discussed between developers and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) at the pre-application stage. In the context of these Information Notes, risk retirement implies that all potential impacts are included for consideration at the project scoping stage, and that following a review of the evidence some impacts may be ‘scoped out’ of any further detailed assessment to focus EIA on key significant impacts3. In all cases, potential impacts should be acknowledged in EIAs, with evidence-based justifications describing why particular impacts could be ‘scoped out’ of further detailed assessment.
Interactions between the marine environment and MRE devices remain poorly understood, in part because of difficulties associated with observing interactions in highly energetic environments. For highly mobile marine animals such as seabirds, fish and marine mammals these difficulties are compounded by the rare nature of nearfield interactions between animals and MRE devices. These challenges require the design of monitoring equipment and associated systems that can survive in high energy marine environments, can manage power to operate instruments, and can collect, store, and (sometimes) analyse large amounts of data continuously (Hasselman et al. 2020).