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Morlais - Marine license application

Menter Môn Morlais Ltd has applied for consent to put in infrastructure to support installation of a 240 MW array of tide turbines covering an area of 35 km² immediately offshore of Holyhead. Worse case scenario places 620 turbines in the array with up to 130 of these being floating devices which could be up to 72 metres long with rotors up to 24 m diameter in 40 m of water.

Snowdonia Canoe Club is supportive of the sympathetic development of tidal power. However, the Environmental Impact statement indicates that the scheme is likely to have significant impacts on sea kayaking and these have not been taken into account by the Morlais scheme developers.

The area affected is 'The Stacks' which is one of the best assessible locations for challenging sea kayaking and training in Europe. Anglesey with the Stacks as the jewel in the crown, supports one of the highest densities of advanced-level guides and training providers in the World.

Examination of the Morlais documents reveal several potential impacts relevant to sea kayaking:

  • Restrictions on access and passage across Abraham's Bosom and around South Stack during phased construction over several years

  • Hazard posed by the many emergent and floating devices – particularly if dealing with an incident while being carried on strong tidal flows into the array

  • Changes to flow rates, eddies and overfalls between Penrhyn Mawr and North Stack as tide is slowed through the array and diverted around it

  • Risks to marine wildlife (birds, dolphins, seals etc.)

  • Potential losses related to reduced access to Stacks for local sea kayak businesses and associated tourism

  • Degradation of the seascape with industrialisation of the Holyhead Mountain Heritage Coast noted for its wild character

To progress the scheme Morlais require a Transport and Works Act (TWA) Order from the Welsh Ministers and a Marine license from Natural Resources Wales. Applications for both of these are live. The TWA application is closed for public consultation but Canoe Wales will be representing its members in the public inquiry which is expected to commence in March 2020. The Marine license application is open until the 8th January 2020. For both, we would like the decision makers to consider the impact the development will have on sea kayaking. It is the quality of the evidence presented rather than the numbers of objections which will be most important.

If you would like to contribute to saving the Stacks as a sea kayak destination then there are two things you can do:

  • Any person wishing to make representations regarding the application and the environmental statement should do so by writing to NRW to the Permitting Service, Natural Resources Wales, Cambria House, 29 Newport Rd, Cardiff CF24 0TP or by email to by the 8th of January 2020. Representations should be dated and clearly state the name (in block capitals) and the full return email or postal address of the person making the representation. Please quote reference number ORML1938 in all correspondence.

  • Send information on your trips to Anglesey and the Stacks – when, how often, how many people, GPS tracks or route description if available and what the area means to you to SCC

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