Offshore wind—permits and permissions
Produced in partnership with Helen Mitcheson of Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (Europe) Ltd
Offshore wind—permits and permissions

The following Energy guidance note Produced in partnership with Helen Mitcheson of Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (Europe) Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Offshore wind—permits and permissions
  • Introduction
  • Planning and development of offshore wind farms
  • Pre-planning and application for development consent Order (DCO)
  • Pre-application
  • Acceptance of application
  • Pre-examination and examination
  • Decision
  • Post-decision judicial review
  • Summary

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—the implications for English and Welsh planning law and practice or visit the Planning area of the Brexit toolkit.


Under European Directive 2009/28/EC (the Renewable Energy Directive), the UK is required to derive 15% of its energy use from renewable sources by 2020. The offshore wind sector is key to achieving this target. The Renewable Energy Directive further requires Member States to ensure that procedures for licensing and consenting new renewable energy infrastructure are clear, transparent, coordinated and proportionate.

The UK currently has more capacity deployed in the offshore wind sector than any other country. In 2014, the UK had over 1,000 fully operational turbines, which have been installed in accordance with environmental and planning procedures governed by EU and UK legislation.

The first offshore wind farm in the UK was in Blyth harbour and started operating in 2000. Since then, the sector has developed with a series of licensing ‘rounds’ co-ordinated by the Crown Estate (the landlord and owner of the UK seabed). Round 1 was launched