Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) release policy document for offshore wind developments.
Irish territorial waters measure ten times our landmass at 880,000km2, the largest offshore territory in Europe. With the offshore renewable industry set to grow rapidly here in the coming years, the IWDG has released its guidance document for wind energy projects in relation to marine mammal species in Irish waters. This policy document seeks to outline best practice in the development process for offshore windfarms and can be extended to other offshore development projects.
The document provides comprehensive guidelines in minimising the impact of offshore windfarms on all cetacean species, from resident inshore harbour porpoises to deep-water migratory blue whales.
This will allow developers to identify and preserve habitats significant to cetacean species, and to mitigate for disturbance and acoustic trauma, summing to 24 recommendations. These measures include Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) to provide effective 24-hour surveillance at Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and operational stages, and the use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADD’s) and ‘soft starts’ during construction to reduce any acoustic trauma from increasing noise levels on a site. Marine mammal surveys are also recommended to continue three years post-construction to assess effectiveness of mitigation and allow for effective review of measures should they be required.