Priority research areas for assessing effects of offshore wind farms on kittiwakes identified - JNCC

The latest published outputs from the offshore wind and marine bird partnership OWSMRF highlight research priorities on black-legged kittiwakes to improve assessments of future offshore wind projects.

Delivered by JNCC, the Offshore Wind Strategic Monitoring and Research Forum (OWSMRF) is a collaborative partnership between the offshore wind industry, nature conservation bodies, NGOs, researchers and regulators. The Forum is led by seven offshore wind developers; EDF Renewables UK (chair and DG representative), Equinor, Ørsted, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables and Shell.

Work completed through the OWSMRF Pilot Year (2019–2020) identified priority knowledge gaps and research needs to better understand the effects of large-scale offshore wind development on kittiwakes. A total of 20 research ideas were described in three reports.

These research ideas have been summarised into a series of concept notes, and five high-priority research areas have been developed into detailed scopes of work (see OWSMRF Pilot Year Concept Notes and Scopes of Work), with the purpose of closing key knowledge gaps.

The proposed research is looking at how kittiwakes behave in the vicinity of wind turbines, how they use the marine environment, and how they move between colonies. For example, it is possible to equip birds with a combination of sensors to determine how high they fly and how far offshore they travel, a technology that is very similar to multi-function sport watches. This technology can be applied to other marine bird species within single projects, increasing research cost-effectiveness.

This knowledge will improve how offshore wind farm impact assessments are undertaken and help to inform the design of ecological compensatory measures when required.

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Posted On: 10/08/2022

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