A new strategic framework to structure cumulative impact assessment (CIA)

M. Declerck, N. Trifonova, J. Black, J. Hartley, B. E. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


In order to alleviate climate change consequences, UK governments are pioneering offshore energy developments with increasing commitment. The North Sea is a dynamic ecosystem with strong bottomup/top-down natural and anthropogenic drivers facing rapid climate change impacts. Therefore, to ensure the compatibility of such large-scale developments with nature conservation obligations, cumulative effects need to be evaluated through cumulative impact assessments (CIA). However, by excluding climate change impacts, CIA lacks spatio-temporal appropriate baselines linking ecosystem components (e.g. physical indicators) to population dynamics which leads to uncertain predictions at populations levels. This study presents an overview of a framework for CIA using a holistic and pragmatic ecosystem approach based on spatio-temporal Bayesian network in order to identify pressure pathways, keystone components, ecosystem connectivity and resilience as well as population-level changes. We will also present potential fine-scale environmental monitoring solutions and data sources generated at MRED (Marine Renewable Energy Developments) site levels. Finally, we will discuss the usefulness of the two components that make up this framework: A database and an application of standardised shared tools that will pave the way to more transparent and multi-disciplinary collaborations. This framework will provide a multi-dimensional decision-making toolkit that would also lead towards more efficient SEAs (Strategic Environmental Assessment) as well as providing the ability to embed the CIAs of projects into regional and multinational schemes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2232-1-2232-9
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Wave and Tidal Energy Conference Series
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2021
Event14th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, EWTEC 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 5 Sept 20219 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC EP/S000747/1) and the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) offshore energy Strategic Environmental Assessment Programme.


  • Bayesian network
  • Climate change
  • Cumulative effects
  • Database
  • Ecosystem approach
  • Marine renewable energies
  • Online application


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