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Building with North Sea Nature: eco-friendly scour protection

‘Eco-friendly design of scour protection: potential enhancement of ecological functioning in offshore wind farms: Towards an implementation guide and experimental set-up’ is available to download.

The aim of this study was to explore the possibilities to implement ‘Building with North Sea Nature’ in offshore infrastructures in the North Sea by providing guidelines for the eco-friendly design of scour protection structures around monopiles in planned wind farms to enhance ecological functioning.

The guidelines include specifications on:

  • The type of hard substrate material or products available and how these can potentially enhance ecological functioning (and have added value compared to regular types used);
  • How different types of hard substrates and configurations can be (experimentally) designed to vary spatially, in such a systematic manner that the effect on ecological enhancement can be determined empirically;
  • How the effects of these scour protection structures can be monitored and evaluated;
  • Whether site-specific conditions apply to wind planned farm locations in the Dutch North Sea.

This study provides design guidelines for wind farms with optimised scour protection to enhance ecological functioning. In addition, it defines a minimum and a standardized approach for deployment and monitoring of a subset of locations to allow for scientific evaluation. This is considered as a first step in a process that should result in ‘learning by doing’.