The amount of noise associated with the installation, operation and decommissioning of tidal stream devices and the effect that this noise has on the resident and transient marine wildlife populations is a prime concern of the marine energy stakeholder community.
Before assessing the potential impact that a marine energy device may have on the environment, it is crucial to characterise underwater background noise as a baseline of a marine energy project.
This paper considers the ambient noise associated with anthropogenic noise at two sites typical of hosting tidal stream turbines in the future. The first site is an open channel measuring approximately 2.5 km long by 1 km wide, varying in depth between 25 and 70 m referring to the Lowest Astronomic Tides (LAT) and subject to tidal streams in excess of 3 m.s-1. The second site is an inlet channel, 1.5 km long by 200 m wide, between 2 and 10 m LAT and again experiencing flows of around 3 m.s-1 during spring tides. Anthropogenic noise occurred during the recordings: intense boat traffic (first site), pile driving and vibro-drilling (second site). The impact that these anthropogenic noises may have on ambient noise in shallow water are quantified and discussed.
Acknowledgement: This article was identified by the Crown Estate Wave and Tidal Knowledge Network