The wind farm developments are predicted to have the potential to generate renewable electricity for more than seven million homes.
In April, following the completion of a Habitats Regulations Assessment – an assessment of the potential impacts on the environmental habitats, The Crown Estate informed the UK and Welsh Governments about its intention to proceed with the Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 plan on the basis of a ‘derogation’.
Derogation is part of the Habitats Regulations Assessments process and can be used where a project or plan could harm protected habitats but there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest to proceed.
In such cases, compensatory measures must be agreed to ensure the overall health of the UK National Network is maintained.
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This month saw the price of offshore wind fall to record lows and today’s announcement will take us another step closer to increasing current levels of capacity almost five-fold by 2030.
“We are already a world leader in offshore wind and these new sites will help secure more clean, affordable, homegrown power for millions of households across the country, while reducing their reliance on costly fossil fuels.”
A few days ago, The Crown Estate announced plans to develop floating offshore wind farms in the Celtic Sea.
Dan Labbad, Chief Executive Officer of The Crown Estate, said: “It is the result of a tremendous collective effort from industry, environmental and conservation stakeholders, governments, and technical experts who have helped shape a rigorous and evidence-led outcome.
“In convening this broad range of stakeholders, we have been able to take a more informed and strategic approach to environmental compensation than ever before, ensuring we balance our rich biodiversity with the urgent need to progress vital renewable infrastructure.”