This Discussion Paper is intended to support and inform the Navigational Risk Assessment (NRA) work of developers of wave and tidal stream energy projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters (PFOW) area.
This Paper has been produced with the contributions and assistance of both the marine and energy sector regulators and advisors, and the companies involved in developing wave and tidal stream projects in PFOW. The paper considers the currently available information on the development projects, the locations of the Agreement for Lease (AfL) areas and marine traffic recorded within the areas that make up the wider PFOW Strategic Area. This has allowed a strategic appraisal of the potential, alone and in-combination/cumulative, impacts on shipping and navigation to be made.
Analysis of the vessels operating within the PFOW Strategic Area has been performed using the data available for the PFOW Strategic area. It clearly details the known routes used by both transiting and local traffic, highlighting the areas of high density traffic and variation due to weather, tides and seasonal changes. Traffic associated with the regular ferry services that run to/from Orkney Mainland and the services that operate between the islands are clearly identified, as are the transiting traffic routes past the islands within the wider strategic area. Areas of highest traffic density and current pinch points, like the transiting vessels passing through Pentland Firth, are identified as well as that of the crossing traffic and its interaction with other routes. The report also considers the influence of weather and tide has on routeing or vessels.
This naturally leads into a high-level, strategic marine traffic analysis for each of the PFOW AfL areas, identifying the amount of traffic present and the vessels operating within and near to these developments. Both of these analyses enable a better understanding of the movement of merchant shipping vessels, fishing vessels and recreational vessels. This emphasises the types of vessel and behaviour exhibited while transiting or operating in proximity to the AfL areas and makes it possible to further analyse the possible impacts associated with safety and navigation.