WHAT'S HAPPENING OFFSHORE
Throughout summer 2021, Sofia will be busy with offshore surveys as part of the project's pre-construction commitments and site preparation works.
Nearshore surveys covering five areas of interest were completed in March, with seabed imagery collected along the export cable corridor using a drop down video. The findings were compared to earlier data to understand changes in seabed habitat. The offshore phase of the pre-construction benthic survey programme will be undertaken in summer.
An anomaly in previously collected geophysical data required a dedicated archaeology investigation, so in April a remotely operated vessel took videos and images, which are now being analysed.
Pre-construction ornithology surveys also began in April, marking the start of a two year aerial monitoring programme comprising 12 surveys over the array area. A new approach using LiDAR technology to measure bird flight heights via a pulsed laser, combined with aerial photography data, will provide important information to understand bird behaviours.
Unexploded ordnance (UXO) investigations and clearance will be carried out in two campaigns, starting in summer this year and being completed in 2022. Potential UXOs will be investigated, identified and, if confirmed, removed using innovative methods to reduce underwater noise impacts to marine mammals and fish. Any UXO found are likely to be British buoyant mines or German ground mines from WW2. This work will also include further archaeological investigations, as well as underwater noise monitoring.