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The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) have developed the Marine Noise Registry (MNR) to record human activities in UK seas that produce loud, low to medium frequency (10Hz – 10kHz) impulsive noise.
Underwater noise from human activities can affect marine organisms from fish to marine mammals in a variety of ways, from masking sounds used to communicate and find food, to physical injury and even death. Understanding when and where noisy activities take place will help us define the baseline level for impulsive noise in UK waters and will inform research on the effects of noise, particularly on vulnerable species like cetaceans.
The MNR is a user-friendly data input space for industry and regulators. It collects estimated location and date data on noisy activities (during the planning stages). This data should be provided as a Proposed Activity Form in the MNR at the application stage of a licence application.
Please note that applications will not be accepted until this has been completed.
The MNR also collects the actual location and date data (after the activity has been completed). This data should be provided as a Close-out Report in the MNR following completion of the activity. Please note that any licensee with a marine licence granted subject to conditions specific to the MNR will need to complete the appropriate data submission to fulfil the MNR.
Activities include impact pile driving, geophysical surveys (seismic, sub bottom profiling and multibeam echosounders), explosives and some acoustic deterrent devices. The MNR also collects, where available, source property data (in line with TG noise guidance) including frequency, maximum airgun volume, maximum hammer energy, TNT equivalent, sound pressure level and sound exposure level. Developing this Registry was a commitment made in the UK Marine Strategy.
Maps will be produced annually showing the spread of activities in ‘pulse block days’ (the number of days within a set period of time that impulsive noise has been generated within each UK oil and gas licensing block). These maps will be available from: gov.uk. Data in the Registry are also fed into a Europe-wide registry through OSPAR (the Oslo and Paris Convention for the Protection of the North-East Atlantic).