10 June 2021

New Offshore Wind Environmental Evidence Register launched

The first ever UK-wide register of offshore wind environmental evidence gaps has been launched. This register has been developed by the Government’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and is funded by The Crown Estate through the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme.

The Offshore Wind Environmental Evidence Register (OWEER) will build, for the first time, a publicly accessible UK-wide register of evidence gaps and relevant research projects across three main  areas – the seabed, marine mammals, and seabirds  – to support the knowledge base for the sustainable development of new offshore wind farms. 

The OWEER will increase understanding of the current breadth and scope of the research field, it will help to reduce duplication, identify key funders and researchers, and improve the sharing of project findings. It will also raise the awareness of current research to help facilitate debate, discussion and change.

The OWEER is also being used to inform the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme, ensuring its strategic evidence projects are targeted where they can make the biggest difference in improving our understanding of the likely impacts of offshore wind development on our precious marine environment. It is also intended to encourage collaboration and help inform other offshore wind research programmes.

The Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme is led by The Crown Estate, which has committed to a five year £25m ‘kick-starter’ investment. It is being delivered in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). 

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow MP, said: “We’re pleased to lead on the delivery of the first UK-wide environmental evidence register for offshore wind farms.  A greater understanding of the impact these developments can have on our marine environment is vital as we protect our precious marine life and meet our ambitious offshore wind commitments.”

Mandy King, Programme Manager for the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme, said: “Ensuring that decisions on future offshore wind farm development are based on the best possible scientific information is vital in helping to deliver the infrastructure needed to achieve net zero emissions, while maintaining healthy, biodiverse seas. That’s why we’re funding projects like this, maximising the knowledge of technical experts, like JNCC, and sharing research and data to benefit the whole sector.”

Karen Hall, Offshore Wind Lead, Marine Management Team, said: “JNCC is proud be supporting the Offshore Wind Evidence and Change Programme and undertaking this important project to build the first ever UK-wide register of offshore wind evidence gaps.  Given the huge UK Government ambitions for offshore wind, alongside the current biodiversity and climate change crises, it is critical that we further the vital strategic scientific evidence required to support sustainable management of our seas.”

The OWEER can be viewed here.

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