Scottish Natural Heritage publishes new guidelines for tidal-energy developers

subsea cabling EMECScottish Natural Heritage has published new guidelines for assessing the risk of marine wildlife colliding with underwater turbines

These will help developers, consultants and regulatory bodies to promote a standardised approach to collision risk assessment for tidal energy projects.

Developers can be asked to include a collision risk assessment as part of Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitat Regulations Appraisal in planning applications.

The guidance includes three models which can be used to estimate the number of animals likely to collide with tidal arrays.

Dr Chris Eastham, marine renewables adviser for SNH, said: “High-energy tidal environments are ideal for renewable energy projects, but they are also important for a wide range of marine wildlife, from mammals and fish, to diving seabirds.

“Tidal turbines pose a collision risk to wildlife and it’s important to understand the degree and extent of this risk. We’ve still much to learn about the ways animals react to turbine arrays in our seas and the whole topic of assessing the risk of collision is still in its infancy.

“Relatively few wave or tidal energy generators have so far been deployed and monitored, so our knowledge of their effect on the environment is limited, as is the detailed advice we can offer on their location or operation.

This guidance will provide greater confidence in impact assessments and help protect our marine wildlife”.

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