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Coastal Bird Conservation and the Needs of Society

Professor Richard Stillman

Impact on policy

This research has led to the creation of a system which combines computer modelling and behavioural research to quantify the effect of environmental change on coastal birds. This has enabled advice to be disseminated around the potential impact of environmental change before the change takes place; this advice identifies the balance between the needs of the birds and human activity.

This successful model has impacted on policy as it has been applied to 35 sites in Europe and one in Australia. In England specifically, it has been used on 812 km2 (29%) of Special Protection Areas identified by The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).  For example, evidence was provided to the UK Government on the impact of proposed tidal power barrages within the Severn Estuary. This contributed to the decision to abandon funding of the scheme on environmental grounds.