APEM Keeping an Eye on Gwynt y Môr’s Wildlife

APEM is carrying out an initial first year of post-construction aerial surveys at the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, located off the coast of North Wales.

The works commenced this month with the initial contract running for 12 months, with a potential extension for a further two years.

Ultra-high resolution aerial surveys will monitor birds and marine mammals at the wind farm, plus a 4km buffer and a wider area in Colwyn Bay (NW5) where the wind farm is situated. A grid design will be used to survey the wind farm area, as well as NW5. A month-long series of surveys will take place in summer 2016 and a series of surveys will take place in winter 2016-17. During mid-winter, a dawn and dusk survey will also be undertaken. The key ornithological species of interest are red-throated divers and common scoters.

Paul Carter, offshore consents manager at RWE Innogy, said: “Gwynt Y Mor Offshore Wind Farm are looking forward to working with APEM again, after successful delivery of pre-construction and construction ornithological surveys.”

APEM’s project manager, Beth Goddard, said: “We’ll be using a ‘Before After Control Impact’ approach, following on from surveys carried out by APEM both before and during the construction of the wind farm, in 2010-11 and 2012-13 respectively.

“To make sure that the data gathered on the new surveys is fully comparable with the previous surveys, the survey design will replicate that of pre and during construction surveys.”

High resolution digital cameras will be fitted to APEM’s specialist survey aircraft and these will capture hundreds of detailed images, from which the company’s ornithologists can determine the numbers, distribution, species and direction of birds and marine mammals, as well as the heights that any birds are flying at.