Nova has been conducting environmental survey and monitoring activity in Bluemull Sound, Shetland since November 2010. Initial environmental surveys were carried out to gather information in support of consent applications for Nova’s existing turbine deployments in Bluemull Sound. Following turbine deployments, the focus of environmental monitoring shifted to activity required under the consent conditions, to monitor the effects of the deployed turbines on marine wildlife.
To date, environmental monitoring in Bluemull Sound has focussed on possible effects of the project on marine mammals, diving birds and the avoidance of impacts on sensitive seabed habitats during installation, utilising underwater cameras and land-based vantage point surveys.
This document summarises the background, methodologies and outcomes from the environmental monitoring in year 1 of the EnFAIT project. Since this is the first in a series of three environmental monitoring reports required for the EnFAIT project, an overview is provided of the longer-term environmental monitoring programme that Nova has been conducting around the Shetland Tidal Array since 2010, to provide additional context. This provides a foundation on which further monitoring undertaken as part of the EnFAIT project will be built and refined. An overview of the scope and objectives for the ongoing monitoring programme, as the number of deployed turbines increases and device configuration within the array is altered, is also provided.