Scottish Natural Heritage consults on guidelines to protect marine wildlife from tidal turbines

Atlantis Resources Meygen wave turbines (artists' impression)New guidance from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to help the offshore renewables industry ensure the right development goes in the right place has gone out to public consultation.

High energy tidal environments are attractive to marine mammals, fish and diving birds, and are used as locations for tidal stream energy projects.

Operational tidal turbines may pose a collision risk to marine wildlife. For single turbines the risk may be low, however for larger turbine arrays, the risk may increase.

SNH has produced guidance to support developers undertaking collision risk assessments, and has launching a 12-week public consultation to gather industry and interested parties’ views.

The guidance describes three models which can be used to estimate the number of animals likely to collide with tidal arrays. It also provides a step-by-step process of estimating animal densities at collision risk depth.

Chris Eastham, the SNH officer who leads the project, said: “Our role is to provide advice and guidance to developers, consultants and consenting authorities on potential impacts of marine energy installations and how these might be avoided or minimised.

“Our current knowledge of how marine wildlife interacts with tidal turbine arrays is limited, but this guidance will provide greater confidence to developers undertaking collision risk assessments and, importantly, help protect our marine wildlife”.

The consultation is available at:

 http://www.snh.gov.uk/planning-and-development/renewable-energy/consultations/

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