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Evaluating underwater noise regulations for piling noise in Belgium and The Netherlands
Rumes, B.; Erkman, A.; Haelters, J. (2016). Evaluating underwater noise regulations for piling noise in Belgium and The Netherlands, in: Degraer, S. et al. (Ed.) Environmental impacts of offshore wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea: Environmental impact monitoring reloaded. pp. 37-48
In: Degraer, S. et al. (Ed.) (2016). Environmental impacts of offshore wind farms in the Belgian part of the North Sea: Environmental impact monitoring reloaded. Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, OD Natural Environment, Marine Ecology and Management Section: Brussels. ISBN 978-90-8264-120-2. ix, 287 pp., meer

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  • Rumes, B., meer
  • Erkman, A.
  • Haelters, J., meer

Abstract
    There is concern about possible effects on the marine ecosystem of high levels of underwater noise generated during pile driving for the construction of offshore wind farms. As a result, various national governments in Europe have identified limits of underwater sound levels, as such imposing in many cases the use of noise mitigation measures. In this paper we compare the regulations with regard to impulsive underwater noise in the Belgian wind farm zone with those in the Dutch wind energy zone of Borssele. These (planned and existing) wind farms are situated at opposite sides of the maritime border between both countries. These regulations are quite different and at times even contradictory and developers could benefit from an alignment of regulatory practices on a regional basis. Measurements of piling noise from constructed wind farms are used to extrapolate the anticipated noise levels of the next two wind farms to be constructed, and these are evaluated in relation to the new regulations on underwater sound. Wind farm developers are already developing strategies for costeffective piling noise reduction but uncertainty remains with regards to both the level of underwater noise produced during piling as well as with the effectiveness of the noise mitigation measures being applied. Our results indicate that a combination of noise mitigation measures may need to be used to comply with the new regulations.

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