Prior to construction, surveys of birds, fish and shellfish, benthic and marine mammals were undertaken to identify the use of the area by marine life.
It was found that the Black Bream spawning at the Kingmere Reef Marine Conservation Zone were particularly sensitive to noise during foundation piling, and therefore the piling activities during the most sensitive breeding season (from April to July) were stopped.
Piling noise can also impact on marine mammals so before any piling activities were started, specialised marine mammal observers were on site to look out for any animals in the sea near the piling activities. Piling is put on hold until the animals are no longer in the area.
When piling at night passive acoustic monitoring devices were used to identify the presence of mammals. Throughout the campaign the observers spotted two harbour porpoise – although neither of these were in the wind farm site itself, but in the transit corridor between their base at Shoreham Harbour and the wind farm.
Although there are a number of seabird species along the South Coast, an assessment of the potential impacts to birds by ornithological experts determined that the presence of the wind farm would not result in any significant impacts to birds in the area.
Once construction is completed, further fish and shellfish plus benthic ecology surveys will be undertaken, as agreed with the authorities, to determine whether the presence of the wind farm has led to any changes in the use of the site by marine life.