Offshore electricity generating stations: applying for consent

Guidance on obtaining development consent for energy infrastructure: offshore electricity generating stations.

The Planning Act 2008 dis-applied the provisions of the Electricity Act 1989 in relation to consents for projects in England and Wales except in certain circumstances.

The Secretary of State remains the decision maker for applications for development consent for energy infrastructure made under the Planning Act 2008 (including offshore generation stations over 100MW in English and Welsh territorial waters and in the Renewable Energy Zone, except any part of the Renewable Energy Zone in relation to which the Scottish Ministers have functions).

Potential applicants (including applicants wishing to make material changes to Development Consent Orders) should seek advice from the Planning Inspectorate in the first instance.

Applicants wishing to make non-material changes to Development Consent Orders should seek advice from the Energy Infrastructure Planning team in BEIS in the first instance:

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is responsible for processing offshore renewables energy generating station applications under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 (and associated safety zone applications) for projects above 1MW and up to 100MW in English and Welsh territorial waters and the renewable energy zone.

For further information on how the MMO processes section 36 applications, contact them on 0300 123 1032 or at

Variations of Section 36 Consents

Consents which have been granted under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for the construction or extension, and operation, of electricity generating stations (“section 36 consents”) by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy or their predecessors or the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) can be varied. The Department has published guidance that explains how to lodge an application for a variation under the Electricity Generating Stations (Applications for Variation of Consent) Regulations 2013.

By applying to vary a section 36 consent it may be possible to obtain authorisation for a generating station to be constructed, extended and/or operated in a way that would not be consistent with the existing consent.

Varying consents granted under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for generating stations in England and Wales: a guidance note on the new process

Environmental Impact Assessment

The department must consider the environmental consequences of all applications. Key regulations include:

As a public body, BEIS also has wider duties to promote biodiversity and ensure public participation in its decision-making.

Safety Zones for offshore renewable energy installations

Decommissioning offshore renewable energy installations (OREIs)

Read the Guidance notes on decommissioning offshore renewable energy installations

We are updating this 2011 guidance and consulted on it in February 2018. Updated guidance will be published shortly.

Sections 105 to 114 of the Energy Act 2004 provide powers to the Secretary of State to require a person who is responsible for an offshore renewable energy installation (OREI) to submit a decommissioning programme. This will include the provision of financial securities to reduce the risk of default and costs falling to the taxpayer. Developers of OREIs should contact BEIS at the earliest opportunity to discuss proposals for decommissioning of their devices and arrangements for financial security.

The department seeks decommissioning solutions which are consistent with UK international obligations, as well as domestic legislation, and which have proper regard for safety, the environment, other legitimate uses of the sea and economic considerations.

See the Addendum to the guidance covering tidal lagoons.


Published 1 January 2000