The European Union has adopted one of the most ambitious renewable energy policies in the world. Restructuring Europe’s energy sector along renewable lines whilst ensuring compliance with EU nature legislation requires careful and early stage spatial planning in order to avoid creating new hazards for wildlife. As part of a wider study on the impacts and available mitigation measures in the interplay of renewable energy sources and EU protected species and habitats1 , specific attention has been paid to a key instrument in this context, which is wildlife sensitivity mapping. In wildlife sensitivity mapping, spatial biodiversity data, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and wildlife sensitivity assessment approaches are employed to identify areas where the placement of renewable energy could adversely impact the wildlife protected by the EU Nature Directives (Directive 92/43/EEC, the Habitats Directive; Directive 2009/147/EC, the Birds Directive) and should therefore be avoided or mitigated.
This manual provides a comprehensive overview of the datasets, methodologies and GIS resources needed to develop effective wildlife sensitivity mapping approaches within the EU. The manual draws together the information needed to develop such approaches for renewable energy technologies. The focus is on a number of key wildlife attributes; these include all species and habitats protected by the EU Nature Directives, with particular emphasis on birds, bats and marine mammals. The manual includes key recommendations relating to the most suitable data types and sensitivity analysis.