ScottishPower Renewables has appointed aerial survey specialists APEM to carry out ultra-high resolution bird and marine mammal surveys of its proposed East Anglia ONE North area.

APEM is also continuing baseline surveys of the East Anglia TWO area after ScottishPower Renewables extended its contract.

All the surveys will employ APEM’s recently developed proprietary camera system, Shearwater II, one the most advanced ultra-high resolution stills system in use for offshore wind farm surveys. ScottishPower Renewables will use the results of the surveys for the baseline bird and marine mammal data for its EIAs for the two areas.

Surveys of the East Anglia ONE North area began this month. At the same time APEM is also carrying out further surveys of the East Anglia TWO area, building on surveys carried out last winter.

David Walker, development director of ScottishPower Renewables offshore business said: “APEM are offering cutting edge technology to ensure the data we get from bird surveys is highly accurate, and this is critical when planning an offshore windfarm. As well as the quality of the data, the process of gathering information is very efficient.

“The offshore wind industry is always seeking to deploy innovative technology solutions to deliver all aspects of a project, and we look forward to working with APEM in the coming months.”

APEM’s state-of-the-art Shearwater II camera system offers reduced costs for developers by speeding up the time it takes to carry out a survey. It was developed in-house and is capable of delivering exceptionally high quality data, gathering imagery at a ground level pixel resolution of 1 cm or more from any height to well above 2,000 feet.

Shearwater II allows APEM’s in-house ornithology team to identify the species of well over 95 per cent of the birds in the images and also provides precise bird flight heights that satisfy the requirements of statutory agencies.

Dr Mark Rehfisch, head of ornithology at APEM, said: “These surveys demonstrate the cost savings and high quality data made possible by our new camera system. We’re grateful to ScottishPower Renewables for again backing the use of innovative new technologies and techniques.”

“The East Anglia zone was the first place anywhere in the world that an offshore windfarm was consented using purely high resolution aerial imagery for its bird and marine mammal surveys. SPR and APEM have revolutionised offshore consenting.”

Last winter’s surveys of East Anglia TWO captured over 10,000 high resolution images that have revealed data on the numbers and distribution of species including auks, gannets, kittiwakes and fulmars.

Since 2009 APEM has worked extensively on wind farm areas in the East Anglia zone on behalf of both Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall, delivering surveys for East Anglia ONE, East Anglia THREE and East Anglia FOUR.

Once constructed, the East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North offshore windfarms would lie around 31 km from the port of Lowestoft and offer a maximum generating capacity of 800 MW each.

If you have any queries, please contact Dr Mark Rehfisch, head of ornithology.
Alternatively you can email them here. Or call 0161 442 8938.