Orsted has conducted a thorough search for locations that would be suitable for the siting of artificial nesting structures for kittiwake. Shortlisted sites have been agreed with Natural England and the RSPB, amongst other consultees.
Individual birds are strongly attracted to areas where other kittiwake are already nesting, so locating artificial nesting structures close to existing colonies is essential to ensure they become occupied.
Lowestoft and Sizewell are the only locations between Kent and Humberside with thriving kittiwake colonies. Kittiwake normally nest on steep cliffs with narrow ledges. East Anglia doesn’t have these natural nesting spaces, so kittiwake have reverted to colonising urban areas, for example on windowsills and ledges of buildings. Kittiwake breeding for the first time are most likely to find artificial structures that are situated close to these urban areas. They are less likely to find structures in places where there are not already kittiwake. Lowestoft and Sizewell are therefore two of the few places in East Anglia where artificial structures could be colonised quickly. These purpose-built nesting sites would improve breeding conditions for kittiwake, whilst successfully achieving our compensation requirements to unlock the world’s biggest offshore wind farm.
North East England
Orsted’s seabird specialists have been monitoring existing kittiwake colonies for the last two years. In North East England, four locations have been studied: Hartlepool, Seaham, Boulby – Cowbar and Huntcliff (Saltburn). This research will provide information on the number of kittiwake, nests and chicks in each area which helps us to better understand kittiwake behaviour and how the population is evolving.
As part of our site selection process, we are also carefully considering a range of other factors such as proximity to residential areas, visibility of the structures, local heritage and environmental areas and technical feasibility.