JNCC Report on the Correct treatment of uncertainty in ornithological assessments 2021
Assessing impacts of offshore renewable developments (ORDs) on marine birds is challenging, as it involves a number of key interlinked elements, from observations of birds’ behaviour in response to ORDs, to predicted population trajectories. The synthesis of multiple sources of data and a range of modelling approaches must be used to understand a set of complex behavioural, energetic and demographic processes, operating in a marine environment that is both spatially and temporally highly dynamic and logistically challenging to work in. Consequently, there is considerable uncertainty associated with such assessments.
In this project we have, through a workshop-based process of consultation with relevant experts and stakeholders, produced a framework for how scientific uncertainty can be quantified and reduced throughout the assessment process, to facilitate the development of more precise ORD impact estimates. The project focuses upon offshore wind farm developments, rather than on other ORD technologies such as tidal or wave developments. We highlight key areas in which new empirical data and research are required in order to reduce uncertainties, and outline, in broad terms, the resources and activities required for their delivery.
This work has involved bringing together a wide range of relevant experts and stakeholders to:
- review the methods that are currently used to quantify uncertainty within the assessment process, and evaluate the ways in which these uncertainty estimates are currently used within the assessment process.
- highlight key areas in which the quantification and interpretation of uncertainty could be improved, either through statistical modelling, additional data collection or adaptation of the assessment process.
- provide a framework for the end-to-end quantification of uncertainty, which brings together estimates of uncertainty associated with individual stages of the assessment process.
- develop recommendations for the research required to both better quantify uncertainty, and to reduce it, to better underpin and inform potential reductions in consenting risk for future offshore wind development through more certainty about likely impacts of planned developments.
Update June 2021: This report was revised in June 2021 to address some minor typographical errors.
Resource type Publication
Topic category Environment
Reference date 2021·05·25
Searle, K.R., Jones, E.L., Trinder, M., McGregor, R., Donovan, C., Cook, A., Daunt, F., Humphries, L., Masden, E., McCluskie, A. & Butler, A. 2021. JNCC Report on the Correct treatment of uncertainty in ornithological assessments. JNCC Report No. 677, JNCC, Peterborough, ISSN 0963-8091.
Assessing impacts of offshore renewable developments (ORDs) on marine birds is challenging, as it involves a number of key interlinked elements. In this report, we have produced a framework for how scientific uncertainty can be quantified and reduced throughout the assessment process, to facilitate the development of more precise ORD impact estimates.
Communications, JNCC publisher
Limitations on public access No limitations
Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0
Metadata date 2021·06·21
Metadata point of contact