Impact study of windfarm on seabirds welcomed by MSP

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin

Plans by Vattenfall to invest in unique bird research has been welcomed by Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin.

As part of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre’s (EWODC) €3million scientific programme, a call has been issued to bird specialists for research funding.

The work involves a panel of experts which includes RSPB Scotland, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Marine Scotland Science and Scottish Natural Heritage.

The research will focus on the northern gannet, black-legged kittiwake and large gulls such as great black-backed gull and herring gull.

The work, according to Vattenfall, is the first time that the avoidance behaviour of birds ‘commuting’ between breeding colonies and feeding grounds through turbines has been monitored at an operational wind farm on this scale during the breeding season.

The successful applicant will start their research from spring 2019, with monitoring anticipated to last for between two and three years.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said: “Vattenfall’s commitment to investing in this ground-breaking research is truly commendable.

“We know the seabird population has changed quite dramatically in recent years and I welcome any research which looks at how we can help support the bird population.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for ornithology specialists, the energy industry and key stakeholders to have the most accurate data when assessing what impact offshore wind turbines have on bird populations.”