Forth Road Bridge: Special measures to protect seabirds while work gets underway

Special measures have been put in place to protect a colony of seabirds while work goes ahead on the Forth Road Bridge.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 3:00 pm

The measures by BEAR Scotland aim to minimise the noise and visual disturbance during the breeding season for a range of birds nesting on Long Craig Island beneath the giant structure.

It is part of the Forth Islands Special Protection Area (SPA), and home to a colony of nesting common terns..

The bird are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 - it is an offence to cause a disturbance when they are breeding.

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Picture Michael Gillen

That has given BEAR Scotland a challenge as it progresses work on the bridge’s main expansion joints.

It has decided there will be no access to the island by boat, or any other means.

Sound soundproof floor panels and curtains, which block out construction noise, have been fitted to the bridge’s north main tower, which falls within a 400-metre noise exclusion zone.

Noise monitoring equipment has been put in place at the base of the north main tower and side tower.

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It will monitor noise levels 24/7, alerting engineers to sounds exceeding 75 decibels. In the event of a noise breach, construction work will be stopped immediately;

BEAR has also employed a dedicated environmental clerk of works (ECoW) to monitor terns during breeding season.

If they deem the birds are being disturbed by construction noise, work will be stopped immediately.

A BEAR spokesman said: “These beautiful seabirds face many threats to their existence. In the Firth of Forth, there are several breeding grounds which have provided safe havens.”

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