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Quality assurance of bat expert opinions

Project title: Expert discussion (consultation phase) on quality assurance of bat expert reports for wind turbine planning and approval

Focus

  • The project facilitated an expert discussion across a wide range of stakeholders in order to work on the complex topic of the quality assurance of expert reports.
  • The aim is to identify challenges in quality assurance, to investigate the possibility of joint recommendations for improving quality assurance, to develop joint recommendations and point out any areas of disagreement.

Contact

Competence Centre for Nature Conservation and Energy Transition (KNE)
Kochstr. 6-7, 10969 Berlin
Dr. Mathis Danelzik
Tel.: +49 30-7673738-40
mathis.danelzik(at)avoid-unrequested-mailsnaturschutz-energiewende.de

Funding

FKZ 3517 86 0500
Term: 01.04.2017 – 28.02.2018

Guaranteeing the quality of bat expert reports for wind turbine planning and approval is an important current requirement for an environmentally compatible energy transition. Species protection needs to be guaranteed, thus increasing the legal security for developers. The project tests an expert discussion as a communication and working process that aims for the joint processing of problem areas in quality assurance and possible improvements.

Expert reports on bats are regularly compiled in the course of wind turbine planning and approval. The quality of expert reports on bats is the subject of controversy and attention is drawn to the variability in quality of nature conservation expert reports. The relevant stakeholders in the energy transition and nature conservation see a need for agreement and action on this, which will be addressed by an expert discussion.
The expert discussion should contribute to a mutual understanding amongst all the relevant stakeholders and identify options for improving expert reports on bats. The instrument of expert discussion is particularly suitable for discussing or disputing different approaches to a solution in the case of a non-consensual problem description. The definition of the problem and approaches to a solution are not made unilaterally, but worked out collaboratively, with the Competence Centre for Nature Conservation and Energy Transition (KNE) functioning as a neutral moderator and mediator. The participants will identify the need for action on quality assurance in expert reports on bats for wind energy planning as well as possibilities for cooperation, and develop recommendations where required.

Methods

First the KNE made great efforts in finding potential participants, topics and external experts in order to take account of all the existing points of view and to be able to cover all aspects of the expert discussion both politically and technically. Representatives from nature conservation, the energy industry, the German regions and the planning and approval authorities are involved. Contributions will also be made by experts as well as individuals with practical experience.

The consultation phase of the expert discussion funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation held two meetings. These identified problem areas and discussed possible approaches to solutions for the quality assurance of expert reports for bats. These meetings also promoted mutual understanding amongst the participants and agreement on the self-conception and working method of the expert discussion.

The consultation phase laid the foundation for the working phase which developed the content in greater detail and in which the expert discussion worked at formulating joint recommendations.

In parallel to this process, an evaluation was carried out to define the opportunities and limits of expert discussions more precisely and to optimise the form of future expert discussions.

Results

The results report on interim findings of an ongoing expert discussion that will be further developed during the working phase up to September 2018. An analysis was made of which aspects of the expert discussion instrument had proved effective for this topic, what challenges remain and what points may require optimisation. Two main elements were identified, first the design of the process and second the results in terms of content, as far as is possible at present.

The expert discussion is a suitable method for processing complex topics in a participatory way in the conflicting area of nature conservation and the energy transition, and for reaching joint recommendations. The participants identified specific factors that could lead to quality problems with expert reports on bats and proposed solutions that will be elaborated in the working phase and formulated in recommendations.

Five basic problem areas from which quality problems in bat surveys can arise were addressed by the expert dialogue during the consultation phase:

  • low qualification of consultants
  • conflicts of interest of consultants
  • competence and capacity challenges of authorities
  • underdeveloped quality assurance structures
  • deficiencies in the content and methodology of survey reports

On this basis, a solution-oriented approach for the development of concrete recommendations will be pursued in the work phase following the consultation phase. The following solution approaches will be worked on:

  • expert nature conservation recommendations
  • competence centres
  • further training for consulting experts
  • further training for representatives of the public sector
  • certification/pool/quality label for consulting experts with proven expertise, and expert opinions
  • placing of contract by public authorities
  • institutionalization of quality checks (random sampling)

The KNE published the results and recommendations of the expert dialogue in October 2019: Fachdialog zur Qualitätssicherung vonFledermausgutachten für die Planung und Genehmigung von Windenergieanlagen

Work packages

Work packages

  1. Identifying potential participants and review of the current state of knowledge
  2. Initiating and coordinating an expert discussion on the quality assurance of expert reports on bats with all the relevant stakeholders in the energy transition
  3. Evaluating the process and the results

Project partners

Project partners

Project management

Competence Centre for Nature Conservation and Energy Transition (KNE)
Kochstr. 6-7, 10969 Berlin
Dr. Mathis Danelzik
Tel.: +49 30-7673738-40
mathis.danelzik(at)avoid-unrequested-mailsnaturschutz-energiewende.de

Funding authority

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)
FG II 4.3 Nature conservation and renewable energies
Alte Messe 6, 04103 Leipzig

Jens Ponitka
Tel.: +49 341 30977 169
Jens.Ponitka(at)avoid-unrequested-mailsBfN.de

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