Project : Avonmouth Docks Wind Turbines
Bristol City Council granted planning permission for the erection of three wind turbines at Avonmouth Docks in December 2005. The Landmark Practice had managed the EIA process on behalf of The Bristol Port Company, and negotiated with the council on the suite of planning conditions for the development. A key planning condition required delivery of a long term ecological monitoring strategy “…to assess the impact of the turbines on mortality and disturbance to birds in the area”. Ecotricity subsequently became the site developer.
The Landmark Practice designed and implemented the ecological monitoring strategy on behalf of Ecotricity, and regular monitoring surveys have since been undertaken by Landmark ornithologists. These include:
- Vantage Point surveys
- Disturbance surveys
- Ground search surveys
- Surveys of breeding ringed plover
After the first three years of monitoring, the surveys showed that whilst there is an overall reduction in flight activity of 24% around the turbines, the flight activity of some species (notably starlings and linnets) had increased. No collision mortality had been confirmed and the surveys recorded an increase in the abundance of estuarine birds within the turbine disturbance zones – of the species for which the Severn Estuary is cited as a Special Protection Area (SPA), the increase was in the order of 55%. Both oystercatchers and ringed plovers have nested directly beneath the turbines.
The results of the Year 3 monitoring surveys were presented at the international ‘Conference on Wind Energy and Wildlife Impacts’ held in 2011 at Trondheim, Norway. The presentation, delivered by Ecotricity, was based upon data gathered and analysed by Lyndon Roberts of The Landmark Practice.
The robust wind turbine monitoring strategy demonstrates best practice and the data gathered provides an important contribution to industry knowledge of wind turbine impacts on birds. Both the Bristol Port Company and Ecotricity have been recognised in an international context as industry leaders.