Scottish data integrated onto UK’s world-leading offshore data resource to help drive to net-zero

Following an agreement between The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland, the Marine Data Exchange has been extended to cover Scottish waters. The agreement will allow all developers working in UK waters to benefit from a more streamlined and comprehensive dataset to inform offshore developments, supporting the faster, more sustainable roll-out of offshore technologies that are critical to the UK’s energy transition, while protecting and restoring the biodiversity of our seas and the marine environment.

Created by The Crown Estate in 2013, the Marine Data Exchange is the first of its kind and holds freely available survey data, research and evidence relating to the seas around England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and, from today, Scotland. The platform is free to access, with a simple to use search function providing access to an unparalleled range of information from a variety of industries, including offshore wind, tidal and wave energy, and sub-sea cables, as well as data from research and evidence projects.

With its wide range of data types – including geotechnical, geophysical, marine mammal and fish surveys, archaeological and shipwreck sites, and marine peat beds – the Marine Data Exchange helps offshore projects in UK waters to make informed, evidence-based decisions and to address consenting and planning challenges. 

The inclusion of Scottish data will allow the platform to feed UK-wide data for the first time into other offshore wind initiatives run by The Crown Estate. This includes its Offshore Wind Evidence & Change (OWEC) programme, a £50m initiative which enables the gathering of data and evidence for the sustainable development of offshore wind in the UK, and its Offshore Wind Evidence & Knowledge Hub (OWEKH), an online hub supporting a single point of access to data and information including the latest guidance and best practice documents in offshore wind, to help accelerate the journey to net-zero.

Olivia Thomas, Head of Marine Planning at The Crown Estate, said: “The inclusion of Scottish data onto our Marine Data Exchange is a really important step on the journey to achieving a thriving marine environment. With the UK’s ambition to achieve 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 and net-zero by 2050, having the best evidence and data is a crucial part of achieving these milestones and in making sure we do so in a sustainable way.

“By taking a UK-wide view from today, this new arrangement will benefit the Marine Data Exchange’s many users, the natural environment, and support the faster, more sustainable roll-out of offshore technologies that are critical to the UK’s transition to a net zero energy future.”

Sian Wilson, Interim Director of Marine for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “With the new, expanded Marine Data Exchange now live, a wide range of people and organisations will now benefit from a UK-wide resource of high-quality data, essential to advancing work in many areas.

“The expanded MDE will help support the delivery of the recently concluded ScotWind Leasing round, which involves 20 projects totalling 27.6GW of clean energy and which is a key part of the UK’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency, secure our energy supply, and generate billions of pounds of investment in the economy.”

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