COWRIE was named Best Environmental Initiative at the prestigious 2009 Scottish Renewables Green Energy Awards, held in Edinburgh on 3rd December. The award, sponsored by BRE Scotland, recognises how the renewables industry, projects and/or initiatives can help to assist in achieving wider environmental goals. COWRIE was selected from a shortlist of four initiatives, all of which represented significant contributions to the renewables projects in Scotland.
Receiving the Award on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Dr Carolyn Heeps told the 600 guest at the dinner “ I am accepting this Award on behalf of the many people that have contributed to the research and studies that COWRIE has conducted since it was established in 2001. In particular the offshore wind sector has made a significant contribution to the development of best practice, demonstrating that it takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously.”
Alan Moore, Chairman of the Board of Trustees further acknowledged the contribution of representatives of Government Departments, statutory conservation advisors, The Crown Estate, NGOs and offshore wind developers, “Cowrie has funded over 44 individual projects, amounting to over £4m, since 2001. Through the working groups we have researched into the most important environmental issues facing the offshore wind industry, including bird collision, displacement and the development of guidance for monitoring and surveying. Marine Mammal studies have also featured in their programme, alongside sediment dynamics, EMF investigations and the testing of high definition video camera monitoring techniques . As a result Cowrie has achieved international recognition for its work and we are delighted to have been recognised as a valuable contribution in Scotland through this Award.”
Carolyn added “As a charity Cowrie has a responsibility to share all of this information with the wider public as well as specialist interest groups. They publish all reports on the website and have also added a range of educational resources for schools. Cowrie also initiated a comprehensive data management system which makes available all of the metadata associated with offshore windfarm development in the UK. Scotland is beginning to realise the potential of its offshore wind resource and the work that Cowrie has conducted will enable developers to follow best practice, ensuring that Scotland’s magnificent marine environment is developed in a sustainable manner whilst offshore wind contributes to Scotland’s energy supply.”
COWRIE was nominated for this award on the basis of a number of strengths. As a charity independent of government, COWRIE is unique in its ability to bring together key industry players to help shape research requirements and develop best practice guidance for the offshore wind sector. COWRIE has funded an incredibly wide range of projects, including: an investigation of the potential impact of underwater noise on marine mammals; guidance on archaeological investigation; interactive web-based resources for schools; stakeholder workshops; bird surveys; and the development of a comprehensive and fully accessible data management system. COWRIE has provided the industry with the necessary platform to become involved in developing and disseminating best practice and in this way has promoted sustainable development practices and decision-making based on robust and improved scientific understanding. COWRIE makes all research findings publically available on its website, which has gained an international reputation as a source of authoritative and robust scientific publications with practical applications for industry.