The aim of this project is to quantify avoidance behaviours of key marine species at offshore wind farms. An integrated, multifaceted research programme will be required, enabling investigation of avoidance behaviour at all scales, ranging from estimation of macro avoidance to investigation of micro avoidance behaviour and collisions. This will require the deployment, at operating offshore wind farms, of a proven, practical and cost effective offshore monitoring system, comprising of more than one piece of monitoring equipment on a suitable number of turbines, which is capable of measuring both bird avoidance behaviour and collision impacts.
The aims of the project are to:
- Identify a number of offshore wind farms in the UK or overseas suitable for undertaking a monitoring programme whereby the collation of data obtained will be suitable for use to inform consenting of current and future projects.
- Select a range of suitable equipment that can be deployed in order to measure either or both micro and macro avoidance behaviour 1 and, if appropriate collision impacts.
- Measure the level of bird avoidance and collision at one or more offshore wind farms and provide robust evidence on the rates of avoidance and collision for a number of key species identified as being most at risk from collision with offshore wind turbines.
The objective of the project is to obtain data on avoidance behaviour and collision impacts at operating offshore wind farms using proven, practical and cost effective monitoring systems that can be used to inform the estimation of potential impacts of other offshore wind farms. This aims to reduce the uncertainty over the prediction of the impact of new offshore wind projects on key bird species, and the degree of precaution necessary in assessments in the light of that reduction in uncertainty. In order to meet the objectives of the project a clear rationale for the preferred statistical methods will also need to be presented, that demonstrates a clear understanding of how data collection, using different methods, will be analysed and interpreted in order to maximise the overall usefulness.
The results from the monitoring undertaken during the project will provide robust, substantive evidence on the levels of avoidance behaviour and collision impacts for a range of seabirds and, if appropriate, non-seabird species that currently pose significant uncertainty for developers, advisors and regulators during collision risk modelling for consent applications.