Robin Rigg Offshore Wind Farm is E.ON Climate and Renewables' (E.ON) third offshore wind farm and the first commercial offshore wind farm in Scottish waters. The site is comprised of 60 three megawatt Vestas turbines and an offshore sub-station and is situated within the central part of the Solway Firth, immediately to the north of the English/Scottish boundary which roughly bisects the firth. The centre of the turbine layout lies some 11 km from the Dumfries and Galloway coastline within Scotland and 13.5 km from the Cumbrian coastline in England.
Prior to the construction of the wind farm, a Marine Environment Monitoring Programme (MEMP) was developed in conjunction with the Robin Rigg Management Group (RRMG), covering the pre-, during and post construction stages of development in accordance with consent from Scottish Ministers under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.
The remit of the MEMP was to record any changes to the physical and ecological environment that may be caused by the construction and operation of the wind farm, complying with condition 6.4 of Section Consent 36 conditions. The programme concentrated on areas where there was uncertainty on the effects of the offshore wind farm and where those effects may cause potential impacts on the marine ecology. This included benthos, fish, birds and marine mammals.
The purpose of this report is to assess data collected as part of the MEMP prior to the construction of the Robin Rigg Offshore Wind Farm (defined as baseline/pre-construction, 2001 - 2007) with that collected during its construction (December 2007 – February 2010) and during operational year one (March 2010 – February 2011). These data will form a basis from which to assess any impacts from the operational phase of Robin Rigg for E.ON, the RRMG and Scottish Government (Marine Scotland). Reports examining operational years two, three, four and five will follow.