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2009-2010, ECON Ecological Consultancy Limited, Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, Pre-construction Ornithological Monitoring

2009-2010, ECON Ecological Consultancy Limited, Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, Pre-construction Ornithological Monitoring

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The FEPA licence issued for Sheringham Shoal OWF (REF) stipulates that
ornithological monitoring will comprise “a Before-After Control-Impact (BACI) and
will be undertaken at the survey areas consisting of the wind farm site, a 1km and 2-
4km buffer zone surrounding the wind farm and the selected reference site”.1

Monitoring was expected to identify any possible changes in the ornithological value
of the area (since Environmental Statement surveys), and provide an immediate
baseline for comparison with data collected during the construction phase. There was
also a requirement to conduct post-construction monitoring to provide a minimum of
three years data from the operating phase.

The following objectives were specifically required by the FEPA licence:
1. To determine whether there is change in bird distribution, use and passage,
measured by species abundance and behaviour, of the wind farm site, 1km
and 2-4 km buffer zones and the reference site.
2. To validate the collision risk modelling to identify avoidance rates of the
Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm site with reference to Tern species. This is to be
achieved by a minimum of three years boat-based, plus radar study (and / or
appropriate alternative) during the breeding season from 15 May to 31 July.
Specific periodicity and geographic coverage is to be determined with Natural
England and the Licensing Authority.

It was specified that the realised monitoring programme (including both aerial and
boat-based surveys, radar studies and any other appropriate monitoring techniques),
would be subject to separate written agreement with the Licensing Authority
following consultation with Natural England (NE), to be finalised four months prior
to the proposed commencement of the monitoring work.

In consultation (meeting on 12th January 2009), NE agreed with the assessment
documented in ECON (2009) that there was no requirement for aerial surveys or
radar studies in relation to Objective 1. However, NE outlined that a full boat-based
survey programme across all seasons would be required as this has now become a
standard requirement for all OWF’s. It was acknowledged, however, that a review of
survey frequency could be adopted at the end of the pre-construction period, with the
potential for a reduction in the number of surveys required.

In addition to a full program of boat-based transect surveys to provide data to fulfil
Objective 1 of the FEPA licence, NE supported the use of visual tracking of terns from
a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB) as a means of fulfilling Objective 2, focussed on
validating the collision risk for terns. It was concluded that this individual-based
sampling method was more likely to provide required information on avoidance
(both near-field and far-field avoidance) responses of terns to turbine presence than
other available monitoring methods such as radar (Desholm 


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2009-2010, ECON Ecological COnsultancy Limited, Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, Pre-construction Ornithological Monitoring, Report