Liverpool Bay/Bae Lerpwl Special Protection Area (referred to as Liverpool Bay SPA) is a large area in the Eastern Irish Sea extending from Anglesey in Wales to Blackpool in England and covers from low water to approximately 20 km offshore. It is classified to protect a number of bird species, including common scoter (Melanitta nigra) and red-throated diver (Gavia stellata) due to the large wintering populations in the area. This document reports the findings of a study to understand the effect of anthropogenic activities on the spatial distribution of the two waterbirds within the SPA.
Common scoter and red-throated diver are sensitive to disturbance from anthropogenic activities such as shipping and offshore wind farms. Liverpool Bay SPA is next to the port of Liverpool, one of the busiest in the UK and a large number of ships pass through the SPA daily. In addition, the arrays of four offshore wind farms are within the boundary of the SPA with the accompanying shipping traffic for servicing.
This report outlines the statistical analysis and modelling undertaken to understand how different aspects of shipping (i.e. ship size and distance to birds), offshore wind farms and environmental variables (i.e. depth and salinity) influences the spatial distribution of common scoter and red-throated diver within the Liverpool Bay SPA.
This report and accompanying appendices could be used to inform similar studies in Liverpool Bay and in offshore SPAs with similar levels of anthropogenic activities. The results will be used for evidence in relation to future plans and projects within the Liverpool Bay SPA.