A key element of impact assessments for proposed marine renewable (offshore wind, wave and tidal) energy sites is the possible impact that such developments will have on breeding seabird populations. Many of the seabirds using marine renewables sites will breed in protected areas, including Special Protection Areas (SPAs). The questions which then follow are: from which SPAs do these birds originate and in what proportion?
This guidance is based on original work by Mark Trinder (MacArthur Green) and Andy Douse (SNH). It focuses solely on effects on seabirds during the breeding season. The Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies (SNCBs) are also considering issues surrounding the assessment of impacts on seabirds outwith the breeding season, which will lead to further guidance for developers and regulators.
We present a range of methods to determine connectivity with breeding seabird SPAs. These include both data-led empirical approaches and a theoretical approach for estimating how birds using marine renewables development sites can be ‘apportioned’ to multiple source colonies.