Next Stages of Development
Preliminary studies are planned for the WSL scheme to be carried out later in 2021. These studies will provide an independent review of the scheme and of the design and investigations carried out to date and also will include preparation of a detailed scope of work for the EIA, DCO and marine licence.
A Development Consent Order (DCO) now has to be used for all Nationally Significant Projects. This is used instead of the traditional planning process. The necessary consultations and all the desk and field studies have to be carried out before an application is made. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a key part of the application. The EIA and DCO process is likely to take around 4 years, with a target to start in 2023 and to complete in 2027. The construction start would then be in 2028, with first power in 2033 and full power in 2034.
Formal consultations will be held during the next stage of study with local councils, landowners, environmental and statutory bodies, businesses and the general public to obtain their views on the proposals. Based on some initial discussions, it is believed that the scheme is likely to be supported by most.
The lagoon will lie just outside both the Exmoor National Park and the Quantocks Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Informal discussions held with representatives of both suggest that neither is likely to object in principle.