Ocean Science Consulting (OSC) has launched a new microsite, aimed at raising awareness of seabirds' interaction with offshore wind farms. Seabirdsurveys.co.uk went live this week.
Concern for seabirds is growing, given the rapid development of offshore wind farms in European seas. Possible effects include habitat loss or mortality from collisions, while developments can also potentially impact migration routes.
Three methods – land-based, ship-based and aerial – are commonly deployed to monitor seabirds and surveys are often carried out alongside marine mammal surveys. "Sea bird surveys are a new area for us, commercially," OSC's managing director, Dr. Victoria Todd told Windpower Offshore.
To date, Dunbar-based OSC's expertise has been deployed largely in the oil and gas sector, but the growing offshore wind market now offers scope for expansion. Ocean Science Consulting has already undertaken marine mammal surveys for the planned Rampion offshore wind farm, in the English Channel.
A recent Danish study concluded that large offshore wind farms do not necessarily cause "significant damage to nature", provided they are subject to proper spatial planning. A US study reached similar conclusions. But last year, the UK government blocked Centrica’s planned 540MW Docking Shoal project, over fears about the combined impact of it and two other projects, on the Sandwich tern population in the Greater Wash.