HiDef are excited to be short listed for a RSPB Nature of Scotland Award, the Innovation Award, at a ceremony at the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh last night.
HiDef has developed an innovative method for assessing how many seabirds and marine mammals are present around offshore renewable energy developments using high resolution digital video cameras. By flying higher than conventional methods, this technique ensures that there is no disturbance to the wildlife being surveyed and more safely than was possible previously. The camera equipment is used in the lowest emissions aircraft possible, greatly reducing the contribution of offshore surveys to climate change.
HiDef has amassed vast quantities of data (petabytes) for many projects around Scotland now which have been summarised and provided for better assessment by the statutory regulatory bodies and non-statutory conservation bodies alike, and identified key locations of sea for species as diverse as red-throated divers, puffins, harbour porpoise and basking sharks. None of the projects that HiDef has worked on have been challenged by either government or third-parties, demonstrating the high quality and accuracy of the data collected.
Where HiDef has worked on mature projects, the proper use of innovative statistical techniques applied to HiDef’s digital aerial survey data has revealed new information about the scale of the potential effects of offshore wind farms on birds. This feeds back into how the potential impacts of wind farms are now being assessed for some species, and has re-defined how future monitoring should be designed.
Andy Webb, HiDef’s Managing Director said “HiDef’s legacy will be better located and assessed projects, where the requirements of the environment, conservation and sustainable development are properly balanced.