2 x public consultation pdfs (Caithness Moray leaflets.pdf and Caithness Moray boards.pdf
SSE came to visit the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay to discuss using Shorewatch data to inform planning regarding timing / mitigation for the development. It was a sunny summer day and they recognised how many people are around and how clearly you could see the proposed landing site (for the cable) at Portgordon – they took back the strong message that SSE corporate should understand that the site is highly visible. *Note that the presence of people who are watching made an impact before any data had been passed along.
After an initial review of Shorewatch data from Spey Bay, they identified peak sightings and peak numbers of dolphins in the months of May, June, July and August. They used this to put together a mitigation strategy which went to Marine Scotland and based on that, they persuaded the contractors that works should not occur (within 12 nm) off Portgordon during these four months.
The contractor engaged the consultancy, Natural Power, who also reviewed data used, including our Shorewatch data.
Katie runs a Shorewatch training (on request) for project engineers and SSE directors to inform them about cetaceans in Scottish waters and how they might be impacted by development. Our direct SSE contact has fed back to us that this training raised awareness and empathy throughout the company; he has had a far easier time in getting them to address concerns with regard to impact on cetaceans. *Note: the impact is far greater when a data user really understands that data are not just numbers, sightings do in fact represent individual dolphins and survey areas are their home.
Summer / Autumn 2016:
Drilling begins to create the cable ducts. Drilling closest to the Portgordon terminus (most impact on the bottlenose dolphins) occurs outwith the four months (May-August) identified as having 'peak' presence. SSE sends the Notice to Mariners to the Scottish Dolphin Centre so that Shorewatchers can identify the vessels conducting works. *Note: WDC and Shorewatch are a stakeholder because we provided data and are known to have 'eyes on the sea.'
SSE sends around a notice to stakeholders 'Caithness Moray Project Update' setting out the table of works and indicative timeline for trenching and laying cable; they also identify vessels which will be involved. Drilling at Portgordon and route clearnance
Trenching and cable laying
SSE has provided seasonal updates to the Dolphin Centre staff and volunteers so that they are aware of current works and able to discuss the project with visitors who are worried about impact.