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Portfolio Environment

it’s travelling and we don’t really have a great deal of understanding yet on the implications of noise from wind farms, particularly on higher invertebrates like whales, dolphins, seals, those sorts of animals and possibly even fi sh.” He also says that there is not yet any

evidence of the possible impacts of the footings of wind farms on the sea bed, but an idea of what the impact might be could be built up by looking at the experiences of other industries such as oil and gas. However, when a potential wind-farm site

is now identifi ed, Baxter explains that the sea atlas can be used to inform the decision. “Once we know where a proposal for a wind

farm is located, we can go to the atlas and we can see what other activities are important in that area, be it fi shing, be it sand and gravel extraction and that will help inform the likely scale of the impact of yet another activity in that area. “T e atlas will also help us inform on the nature of the sea bed from a biological health and biologically important point of view and it’s in case it’s in the vicinity of a particularly rare or vulnerable or sensitive species, the atlas will help inform on those locations and

again, at least the awareness of that in the fi nal decisions that might be taken in terms of how the wind farm is constructed, how it might operate, it might not necessarily stop it but it might infl uence some of the measures that are taken in the construction.” It is also diffi cult to gather information

on the impact of emerging industries such as wildlife tourism and aquaculture, and Roberts explains that LINK would favour a cautionary approach in these cases. “It all comes back again to not understanding

our marine environment as well as we understand the terrestrial environment. Monitoring should be relatively easy once we understand what it is that we need to be monitoring but we need to keep the investment up on the monitoring side – the monitoring is essential to understand where we come from and where we’re going to in a specifi c protected area.” Over the next few years, the information

on the impact of aquaculture is likely to grow and the Crown Estate is one body that is currently funding research in an eff ort to support the industry. Consents and external relations manager Tom Mallows explains: “During 2009/10,

in addition to contributing to the charity Scottish Aquaculture Research Fund, we funded research into jellyfi sh blooms, an increasingly frequent occurrence which threatens to devastate Scottish salmon farms. T is support follows our funding of highly- successful research into satellite monitoring of harmful algal blooms, and demonstrates our commitment to supporting the industry as it develops sustainably and adapts to challenges posed by climate change.” SEPA also has a role in monitoring

aquaculture, and Miller explains that this is done by collecting information on things like water depth and the number of fi sh expected to breed. “After that SEPA will monitor the condition

of the sea bed to see what impacts are being seen locally and we will use knowledge of green ecology, marine chemistry and hydrography to determine the extent to which the environment is being impacted by the fi sh farm activities,” says Miller. He adds: “T e same would happen in

marine renewables although that is very much in its infancy and we’re not very sure the extent that is going to impact on the marine environment.”

One-day conference

This conference can contribute up to four hours towards your CPD target

Holyrood magazine’s Wednesday 20th April, Edinburgh

Speakers include:

Peter Russian (Chair) Chief Executive, Investors in People (Scotland)

Graham White

Director of Human Resources, Westminster City Council

Linda Urquhart Chairman, CBI Scotland

Assistant Chief

Constable John Geates Director, Scottish Police College

Cllr. Graham Houston Leader, Stirling Council

52 Holyrood 28 March 2011

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