Academics from the University of Kiel have recently confirmed what the UK offshore wind industry and statutory nature conservation advisers have known for a while – that HiDef’s bespoke ultra-high resolution digital video aerial technology remains the standard bearer for offshore wildlife surveys.
The study by renowned academics including Dr. Bettina Mendel and Prof. Stefan Garthe, which was published early last month (May 2016), has highlighted the effectiveness of HiDef’s technology, with a direct comparison to two still camera platforms. The study reports on the findings of inter-technique calibration surveys, where HiDef’s technology (used under license in Germany and Denmark by HiDef’s licensee, Bio Consult SH) was shown to have recorded high concentrations of both birds and marine mammals, whilst competitor systems, including main rival APEM, only recorded densities which were half as high. The report suggests that there is a 99% probability that this difference was statistically significant.
HiDef’s technology recorded high numbers of guillemot, while APEM’s only recorded very few. This was quite surprising, the report’s authors suggested, given that the weather conditions were almost optimal when this survey was undertaken, with minimal solar glare and a low sea state. Particularly surprising was the fact that both floating and flying guillemots were recorded much less by the rival technology, suggesting that the small and dark nature of guillemots was obviously often overlooked, even under prime survey conditions.
Mark Robinson, HiDef’s Managing Director welcomed the study:
“The academic community has confirmed what the UK renewables and conservation sectors have known for some time, that HiDef’s bespoke service provides accurate and scientifically robust densities and abundances for offshore wildlife. Having accurate data is essential for ensuring that the environmental effects of offshore development can be properly considered, leading to project consents which are robust and unchallengeable.
When selecting a survey provider potential clients are faced with claim and counter claim by suppliers, especially about their technology and science. This study is the first scientific comparison where the supply chain was able to deploy their own preferred techniques, the results are confirmation of our long held views on how to deliver scientifically robust results, it also highlights the importance of using video technology.
The fact that results obtained from our technology were used as the study’s baseline further confirms our place as the industry’s gold standard. We look forward to discussing the implications of this work with our clients, the statutory nature conservation advisers and our wider industry colleagues”
This study is of particular importance to the renewables industry as it confirms the robustness of the results achieved by HiDef at offshore wind sites in the UK and provides comfort to both developers and regulators that the counts are scientifically accurate and reliable.
Those interested in further information this study, or requiring a copy, should e-mail: