The Welsh Government proposes to introduce a Marine Planning Notice (MPN) to identify Strategic Resources Areas (SRAs) for tidal stream energy.

Tidal stream energy resource occurs in several areas around the Welsh coast, mainly where water flows are restricted, such as areas around coastal headlands. However, there are a limited number of small and discrete areas where sector activity may realistically be possible.

Safeguarding these areas of resource through the introduction of SRAs is, therefore, key to ensuring that the potential for the tidal stream energy sector to submit future applications to locate activity in these areas is not inappropriately compromised by short term planning and consenting decisions relating to other sectors.

Mapping SRAs will help to:

  • identify areas of natural resource with potential to support future use
  • ensure public authorities consider these resources when determining marine licence applications
  • ensure ability to access these areas in future is not compromised by short term planning and consenting decisions
  • provide evidence to support future marine planning work


Photo: Mark Thomas


Safeguarding strategic resources policy

Proposals which may have significant adverse impacts upon the prospects of any sector covered by the Wales national marine plan to engage in sustainable future strategic resource use (of resources identified by an SRA) must demonstrate how they will address compatibility issues with that potential resource use.

Proposals unable to demonstrate adequate compatibility must present a clear and convincing case for proceeding.

Compatibility should be demonstrated through, in order of preference:

  • Avoiding significant adverse impacts on this potential strategic resource use, and/or
  • Minimising significant adverse impacts where these cannot be avoided; and/or
  • Mitigating significant adverse impacts where they cannot be minimised.

Tidal stream resource areas mapped

During the initial phase of SRA mapping by the Welsh Government, SRAs have been identified to safeguard specific areas of resource around the coast of Anglesey, and off the coasts of the Llŷn peninsula, Pembrokeshire, Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan. These areas cover both surface and seabed/water-column resource.


Proposed Strategic Resource Areas for tidal stream energy. Source: Welsh Government


Purpose of safeguarding resource for tidal stream

The identification of SRAs for tidal stream energy does not indicate any planning intent regarding preferred locations for tidal stream development. There is no requirement for the sector to bring forward proposals to locate within an SRA, nor are proposals to locate outside an SRA precluded. Proposals for tidal stream energy development can come forward and be considered on their individual merits both within or outside an SRA.

If an application is made for a tidal stream energy development within an SRA, the identification of an SRA does not provide any planning support. Equally, there is no presumption that non-tidal stream development within a tidal stream energy SRA is automatically precluded.

SRAs alert those proposing future development to the presence of areas of tidal stream energy resource, which they otherwise might not have considered. This should ensure that these areas are not unnecessarily or inappropriately sterilised, whilst allowing other development to proceed where adequate compatibility can be achieved or there is a clear and convincing case for proceeding.

Further information

The consultation from the Welsh Government, ‘Welsh National Marine Plan: Draft Marine Planning Notice – Introduction of Strategic Resource Areas and Activation of Safeguarding Policy for Tidal Stream Energy’, can be found here.

The consultation closes on 5 June 2024.

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