Data on the numbers and distribution of waterbirds and seabirds in UK inshore waters are required for a variety of purposes, including strategic environmental assessment for the second round of offshore windfarm (OWF) development, the Environmental Impact Assessments required by Round 2 wind farms, compliance with licence conditions for constructed Round 1 windfarms, for monitoring of waterbird numbers and distribution in inshore waters, and identification of Special Protection Areas (SPAs). Prior to 2004, only limited data on the abundance or distribution of waterbirds was available for many nearshore waters in England and Wales (eg Cranswick et al 2003, Wetlands Advisory Service 2003, Cranswick et al 2004). Consequently, the then Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR)), supported by other Government departments, agencies and industry, commissioned large-scale survey of strategic areas identified for the second round of OWF development, plus adjoining areas identified as potentially important for birds. The first comprehensive survey was undertaken by WWT Consulting in 2004/05 (Department of Trade and Industry 2006), with a subsequent programme of surveys from winter 2005/06 through to summer 2006 (DBERR in press). These provided large-scale survey data covering the nearshore waters of strategic windfarm areas in Northwest England (from Anglesey to the Solway Firth), in the Greater Wash and in the Thames (from Flamborough Head, Yorkshire, to Sandwich Bay, Kent). DBERR commissioned a third programme of aerial surveys to be undertaken between January and March 2007, which included repeat surveys of many of the previously surveyed areas and included new areas in the south west of England and Wales (referred to here as the South West Strategic Area). This report provides results from aerial survey in the South West Strategic Area during the third programme of aerial surveys, undertaken between January and March 2007. This report augments the report for surveys undertaken during the same programme in the North West, Greater Wash and Thames Strategic Areas. The numbers of birds encountered are provided, and estimates of total numbers calculated using â??distance analysisâ?? are presented for the more numerous species of conservation importance. Maps are provided showing the large-scale distribution of waterbirds in the South West Strategic Area.
2007 Final Report