11 September 2020
The proposed East Quay development is adjacent to the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation, which is designated for bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins that utilise the SAC are the only known resident population of bottlenose dolphins in the North Sea. Impact piling works will be required to construct the quay therefore the protection of bottlenose dolphins from underwater noise was imperative. EnviroCentre commissioned underwater noise modelling and developed a detailed, site specific mitigation strategy based on the results.
This strategy was then appraised by an expert on the bottlenose dolphin population of the SAC prior to issue to ensure the approach would provide sufficient protection to bottlenose dolphins and other species of marine mammal that utilise the Cromarty Firth and Moray Firth. The use of underwater noise modelling is continuously being refined to ensure assessment outcomes and areas of impact for marine species can be accurately assessed.