This interim displacement advice note replaces an earlier NE and JNCC joint advice note from 2012. It updates the previous note to take account of potential areas of disparity in approaches that have arisen in casework since the original note was issued. It also follows on from a Displacement Workshop (6-7 May 2015), run by JNCC and the Marine Renewables Ornithology Group (MROG) and funded by The Crown Estate, which sought to make progress towards developing a more refined best practice approach to assessing displacement impacts.
Following recommendations made at the workshop, it was agreed that this Joint SNCB interim displacement advice note would contribute towards achieving one of the recommendations (i.e. the creation of a short-term SNCB advice position). This document is intended to address critical areas of clarification and SNCB positioning. It will not attempt to cover (or make progress towards) the more complex issues of displacement assessment at this time. Nor will it cover the expert elicitation recommendation that came out of the displacement workshop, as it was agreed at a meeting of the SNCBs in June 2015 that this could more realistically be produced against a medium-term objective, in a further round of SNCB guidance.
SNCB advice and positioning on displacement assessment methods and approaches will be an iterative process, with at least three stages expected (see Displacement Workshop report ‘Next Steps’ section, for more details).
The key changes to this document since the earlier advice note are:
- A clearer definition of displacement and barrier terms.
- Further clarity on the application of the ‘Matrix Approach’.
- Further clarity on the use of sensitivity scores in relation to the ‘Matrix Approach’ (based on evidence obtained since the original NE and JNCC advice note).
In addition, this interim advice note aims to provide:
- Advice on how to present information to enable comparable and transparent assessment of the magnitude and potential impacts of seabird displacement from OWFs.
- A method to enable displacement impacts to be compared and potentially combined across multiple sites/projects/activities, with an eye to improving Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) approaches for this impact.
Future revision of this advice note is anticipated when new empirical evidence of displacement levels and associated population-level impacts (e.g. changes to productivity or mortality levels) becomes available. Currently our recommendations are aimed at capturing the full range of potential impacts, while encouraging developers to present any species-specific evidence to further refine this as part of both Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes. It is anticipated we will be able to narrow down predicted range of impacts as more results from postconsent monitoring and other studies are produced.