In accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Habitats Regulation Appraisal (HRA) developers need to consider the impacts of a plan or project on Special Protection Areas (SPA) populations where there is the potential for an interaction to exist. At present there is no single source of information that identifies the best available population trends of SPA breeding populations to inform this process. As a result there is often inconsistent population estimates with high degrees of uncertainty used in impact assessments. The application of various approaches to EIA and HRA places additional resourcing requirements on Marine Scotland and their statutory nature conservation advisors who will review each approach adopted. To address this issue Marine Scotland commissioned Natural Power Consultants (NPC) to undertake a review of extant data on SPA breeding populations around the Scottish Coast to:
- Provide an overview of current data availability for key seabird species relevant to offshore renewable developments at SPA’s for which they are designated.
- Demonstrate evidence for any population trends in species on an SPA basis with a view to estimating current population sizes if possible.
- Provide a resource detailing the allocation of data from colony counts from JNCC to specific SPA colonies.