Strangford Lough and the SeaGen Tidal Turbine

  • Graham SavidgeEmail author
  • David Ainsworth
  • Stuart Bearhop
  • Nadja Christen
  • Bjoern Elsaesser
  • Frank Fortune
  • Rich Inger
  • Robert Kennedy
  • Angus McRobert
  • Kate E. Plummer
  • Daniel W. Pritchard
  • Carol E. Sparling
  • Trevor J. T. Whittaker
Part of the Humanity and the Sea book series (HUMSEA)


The background to and outcomes of the Environmental Monitoring Programme (EMP) required by statutory regulators for the deployment of the SeaGen tidal turbine in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, an area with many conservation designations, are described. The EMP, which was set within the context of an adaptive management approach, considered possible effects of the device on local populations of seals and harbour porpoises, representative seabirds and benthic communities. The studies on seals were carried out on both local and regional scales. The ecological studies were complemented by detailed field and hydrodynamic modelling investigations together with a programme of mitigation measures designed to reduce collisions between seals and turbine rotors. In general only minor statistically significant changes in abundance, distribution and animal behaviour patterns were recorded, principally associated with small distributional shifts close to the turbine structure and with the likelihood that these changes were ecologically of little significance. The seal–rotor collision mitigation studies provided a base for the establishment of acceptable collision risk strategies. The EMP highlighted observational, methodological and statistical challenges in assessing the environmental consequences of marine energy devices. A brief review of related studies in Strangford Lough is included.


Benthos Current measurements Environmental monitoring programme Marine mammals Mitigation measures Seabirds SeaGen tidal turbine 



For the Adaptive Management section of this paper, sincere thanks are due to many for the work done by members of the Science Group and colleagues over the eight years of the SeaGen project between 2004 and 2012, particularly by Gemma Keenan. For the marine mammals section, various people were responsible for the design, implementation and analysis of the studies summarized, and detailed methods and results of each study will be published in due course by those concerned. However, thanks are necessary here to Ian Boyd, Bernie McConnell, Callan Duck, Gordon Hastie, Mike Lonergan, Cormac Booth, Beth Mackey, Simon Northridge, Alice Mackay, Monique MacKenzie, Carl Donovan, Andrew Murray, Chris Morris and Daryl Birkett. For the section on SeaGen and the flow regime, thanks are due to Cuan Boake, Jeremy Rodgers and Simon Rodgers for their assistance in carrying out the ADCP measurements and to Cuan Boake for preliminary analysis of the datasets. Finally, David Erwin provided necessary leadership and guidance in seeing through the environmental impact aspects of the whole SeaGen project: his support was invaluable to its success and is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Savidge
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Ainsworth
    • 2
  • Stuart Bearhop
    • 3
  • Nadja Christen
    • 3
  • Bjoern Elsaesser
    • 4
  • Frank Fortune
    • 5
  • Rich Inger
    • 6
  • Robert Kennedy
    • 7
  • Angus McRobert
    • 8
  • Kate E. Plummer
    • 3
    • 9
  • Daniel W. Pritchard
    • 4
  • Carol E. Sparling
    • 10
  • Trevor J. T. Whittaker
    • 4
  1. 1.Marine LaboratoryQueen’s University BelfastPortaferryUK
  2. 2.Marine Current TurbinesBristolUK
  3. 3.Centre for Ecology and Conservation, College of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ExeterPenrynUK
  4. 4.School of Planning, Architecture and Civil EngineeringQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  5. 5.Royal Haskoning DHVLeithUK
  6. 6.Environment and Sustainability InstituteUniversity of ExeterPenrynUK
  7. 7.Marine Ecosystem Research Laboratory, Ryan Institute, School of Natural SciencesNational University of Ireland GalwayGalwayIreland
  8. 8.Water Management UnitNorthern Ireland Environment AgencyLisburnUK
  9. 9.British Trust for OrnithologyThetfordUK
  10. 10.SMRU Marine LtdSt AndrewsUK

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