SSE Renewables and Hi Def Aerial Surveying have completed a 24-month aerial survey program as part of the proposed Berwick Bank and Marr Bank wind farms off the shores of Scotland, in the Firth of Forth.
The survey, consisting of 300 hours of flight time across 5,000 square kilometers, involved four aircraft flying simultaneously, once a month, for two years. Each aircraft was equipped with high-definition camera equipment that captures live footage and is then assessed by ornithology and marine experts. So far, the team has analyzed over 15 million images and successfully documented the habits of over 338,000 birds and over 2000 marine mammals.
The proposed Berwick Bank and Marr Bank wind farms would be located in the outer Firth of Forth, over 49 km and 40 km, respectively, from the East Lothian coast. Scoping for Berwick Bank was submitted in August 2020 and virtual exhibitions held in November 2020. The Berwick Bank team recently attended virtual meetings with the East Lammermuir Community Council, Dunbar Community Council and Cockburnsparth & Cove Community Council to provide an update on the plans.
The Berwick Bank project is expected to be 2.3 GW and comprise up to 242 offshore wind turbines. Marr Bank is projected to be 1.85 GW.
“Commissioning such an extensive survey means the proposals for Berwick Bank and Marr Bank will be informed by the most comprehensive dataset on local environmental considerations ever seen for an offshore wind development anywhere in the world,” says Alex Meredith, project director for the Berwick Bank and Marr Bank projects.
“The data provided by these surveys will allow us to identify and better understand the seabird and marine mammal population in the area and if required, plan any appropriate mitigation to ensure appropriate protection for wildlife and their habitats.”
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