In order to conduct testing activities within Scottish waters, it is necessary to gain statutory licences and consents. This ensures that the proposed activities are carefully managed whilst safeguarding the environment and controlling any risks to other sea users. EMEC provides support and guidance to clients throughout the consenting process. Since the test sites were developed, EMEC has worked alongside the Regulator, Marine Scotland, and their statutory advisors to implement a streamlined consenting regime across our test sites.

During the development of the facilities, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) were performed for the grid-connected wave and tidal test sites. Each site EIA comprised detailed considerations of the potential issues relating to the build of the test facility and use of the site in principal. The environmental characteristics of each site, including the two scale test sites, have been detailed in the Environmental Descriptions provided in the ‘documents for download’ section below.

In order to build further efficiencies into the consenting process at the Fall of Warness, in 2014, EMEC embarked on the production of a detailed Environmental Appraisal and a subsequent Appropriate Assessment. The assessments have since supported developers’ applications for Marine Licences and a site-wide Section 36 consent for deployment of an ‘envelope’ of device types and operations at the site. Following successful implementation of the Environmental Appraisal at the Fall of Warness, EMEC conducted a similar assessment for the Billia Croo test site in 2018/19 based on an envelope approach. EMEC is currently in the process of applying for a site-wide Section 36 consent for the Billia Croo test site. Both the Fall of Warness and Billia Croo Environmental Appraisals are available to download below.

EMEC has also undertaken site-wide Navigation Risk Assessments for all four test sites, which are based on a range of device types and activities. The risk assessments include up-to-date vessel traffic analysis and are compliant with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Maritime Guidance Note (MGN) 543. These assessments are available for download below.

For clients wishing to install at EMEC’s test sites the consenting process requires the client to produce the following documentation to accompany their Marine Licence applications, alongside the relevant site-wide environmental report and navigational risk assessment:

  • Project Information Summary
  • Project-specific Environmental Monitoring Programme (PEMP)
  • Project-specific Navigational Risk Assessment (NRA)
  • Third-party Verification/Certificate (TPV/TPC)
  • Decommissioning Programme (DP)

The project-specific assessments should make reference to the findings from the site-wide assessments and be direct in their findings and recommendations. EMEC is continually working with the Regulators to make sure that the most efficient and effective licensing processes are put in place at the sites. To assist with the consenting process at each test site, EMEC has created guidance documents for use by clients which are available on request from


Marine Scotland have produced a Consenting and Licensing Manual for offshore renewables energy developments within both Scottish Territorial Waters and Scottish Offshore Waters.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is Scottish Government’s independent statutory advisors on nature conservation including renewable energy applications. SNH has provide numerous useful guidance documents regarding impact assessments and monitoring methodologies. Please refer to SNH’s webpage for further details.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) give advice and guidance relating to safety associated with offshore renewable energy installations. The MCA have produced MGN 543 regarding safety response for offshore renewable energy developers and MGN 372 for mariners operating in the vicinity of renewable developments. In addition, the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) has produced recommendations on The Marking of Man-Made Offshore Structures which should be implemented as a minimum requirement.

Documents for download

Billia Croo Wave Test Site:

Billia Croo - Environmental Appraisal Report 2019

Fall of Warness Tidal Test Site:

Scapa Flow Scale Wave Test Site:

Scapa Flow Navigation Risk Assessment

Shapinsay Sound Scale Tidal Test Site:

Shapinsay Sound Navigation Risk Assessment







Aquamarine Power


Atlantis Resources Corporation



Naval Group

Naval Group


Open Hydro


Orbital Marine




ScottishPower Renewables



Sustainable Marine Energy

Sustainable Marine Energy


Voith Hydro


Wello Oy

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