First Flight Wind, a consortium comprising B9 Energy, DONG Energy and RES, has appointed Natural Power Consultants (NPC) to carry out boat-based bird and mammal surveys over the Wind Resource Zone off the County Down coast.
This is the area awarded by the Crown Estate, th eowner of the UK seabed, within which First Flight Wind will identify a suitable site for an offshore wind farm. NPC is using Kilkeel vessel Glenravel to carry out the surveys.[caption id="attachment_41232" align="alignleft" width="360"] Aboard the Glenravel before it set off from Kilkeel harbour on its first bird and marine mammal survey for First Flight Wind (l-r) ornithologist Nick Veal, Sinead Maguire from First Flight Wind, Alein Shreeve NPC ecologist and skipper Thomas Conneely.[/caption]
During the boat-based surveys, which started in July, ornithologists and marine mammal observers record the number of species they see within a 500 metre radius of the boat. The boat-based surveys will take place over three continuous days each month until late 2014.
First Flight Wind began its survey campaign to collect bird and marine mammal activity within the Wind Resource Zone in December 2012. Hi-Def Aerial Surveying Ltd was appointed to carry out monthly surveys using a plane equipped with four high definition video cameras, to record bird and marine mammal activity in the area. These aerial surveys were carried out until June and the boat-based surveys will now take over to collect data on a monthly basis. The full results from all the surveys will show exactly what birds and mammals are active in the area.
The monthly boat survey requires calm sea conditions, if a survey cannot be carried out, Hi Def will collect the data for First Flight Wind through an aerial survey. This will ensure that First Flight Wind can continue to collect data on a monthly basis.Dr Carolyn Heeps, Project Development Manager of First Flight Wind said: “As part of the overall Environmental Impact Assessment, First Flight Wind is undertaking a suite of surveys within the Wind Resource Zone. All of these surveys play a crucial role in building a comprehensive picture of the existing environment, and will help us to assess the potential impacts of the proposed offshore wind farm.
“We are delighted that we can use a local fishing vessel to enable the consultants to carry out their boat-based survey work.” Thomas Conneely, the Skipper aboard the Glenravel said: “I think it’s great that First Flight Wind is using local vessels in its survey work; we have the resources to do this and it’s also a good way for us to be more closely involved with the development process.”
If you’d like to find out what is involved in a boat-based survey or what an ornithologist does, visit www.vimeo.com/firstflightwind
FFW has also recently appointed two fishing industry representatives (FIRs), one from the Kilkeel area and one from Ardglass. They will act as a main point of contact for the fishing industry to liaise with First Flight Wind and its fishing advisors. Regular meetings with the fishing industry are taking place to discuss the project as it progresses.First Flight Wind also recently appointed specialist consultants Pegasus Group Ltd., for Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment ; a commercial Fisheries Consultant, Brown and May Marine Ltd and ABPmer to undertake physical process studies; all these investigations are necessary to support the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Natural Power Consultants is a leading independent renewable energy consultancy and products provider. The company offer proactive and integrated consultancy, management and due diligence services, backed by an innovative product range, across the onshore wind, offshore wind, wave, tidal, biomass, pv and hydro sectors.]]>