A beach at sunset in low tide with three people walking in the foreground and offshore wind turbines in the background

Offshore wind turbines

The extra £25m will be invested into the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme, which brings together government bodies, wind industry representatives and key stakeholders.

The programme shares key data from studies, research and evidence gathering projects “to propel forward the growth of UK offshore wind at pace, while maintaining clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas.

APEM’s Gillian Sutherland, Divisional Director of Marine & Ornithological Consultancy welcomed the news, saying:

“This is a most commendable and welcome investment from Crown Estate, as its role in sustainable management of the seabed. In the current climate of uncertainty on energy security and pressure to expedite consents for offshore wind, data is undoubtably the key. Good quality, scientifically robust data is fundamental to reduce precautionary impact assessment and give clarity to decision makers and advisors.

It also provides potential to afford protection to ecological receptors through longer-term monitoring programmes with clear objectives and refined targets. The offshore wind industry’s collaboration has often stumbled to overcome commercial barriers to strategic data collation, despite some notable successes such as OWSMRF and ORJIP, so it is fitting that a central party takes the reigns on the programme and will continue to commit to the temporal and spatial considerations the evidence gaps require to fill.”

The additional £25m investment will be partly used to deliver research and data projects that address gaps in research on birds, fish, marine mammals and seabed habitats that were identified in the first year of the programme.

Evidence gaps and relevant research projects are listed on the Offshore Wind Environmental Evidence Register, a publicly accessible UK-wide register. It is anticipated that this will reduce duplication of information and raise awareness of current research, to encourage discussion, debate and change.

APEM have been conducting surveys for offshore wind since 2008, providing robust and reliable scientific data. This includes the collection of baseline data, the provision of population estimates to inform environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and collecting pre- and post-construction data.

Like the Crown Estate, we believe in the value of data and collaboration. Our integrated expert approach covers all areas of the natural environment, enhanced with innovative remote sensing technology and world-class laboratory services to provide advice reinforced by data excellence.

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APEM are a global environmental consultancy providing independent advice and guidance to support government and environmental regulatory guidelines.