Development of Moray West was initially constrained as a result of other human activity in the area, including Ministry of Defence use and existing oil infrastructure.
Conditions are changing bringing the possibility of development which can be undertaken in harmony with those who already use this part of the Moray Firth.
Britain is a maritime nation, and the seas around the UK have supported the development of various activities through time. We recognise that offshore wind is a new proposal, bringing a new activity to areas of the sea which are already used by different communities, individuals and industries for different purposes, and we have always sought co-existence.
Man’s use of the Moray Firth is dynamic and changing over time.
In 2011, restrictions placed on part of the southern coast of the Moray Firth by the Ministry of Defence were lifted as a result of changing needs for aircraft. Those restrictions had included part of the Moray West site, and the lifting of those restrictions removed a constraint to development.
In the 1970s, oil was discovered in the Moray Firth – the ‘Beatrice’ oilfield. Industrial extraction of the oil began in 1981, and a number of oil platforms were constructed through the 1980s to allow drilling, extraction and processing to be undertaken in the Moray Firth.
While the platforms themselves do not lie within the Moray Firth Zone, the requirement for exclusion areas for helicopter access placed restrictions on development in the western area of the Zone.
Oil production in the Beatrice field came to an end in 2015, with decommissioning proposals published in 2017, thus lifting a further constraint to development.
As a result of these changes, initial proposals for offshore wind development of Moray West were published in 2016, and a scoping report is available in the Moray West document library.