The INSPIRE model has been developed by Subacoustech over the past five years to estimate the levels of underwater noise from impact piling operations at sea. Impact piling is currently the most widely used offshore construction method and noise levels are extremely high. As a result noise from piling tends to be a significant focus of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Throughout the development of INSPIRE, the model has constantly validated against real-world measurements from a large number of different construction developments including wind farms.

The main benefits of INSPIRE are:

  • Calculates impact ranges in both dBht and M-Weighted noise criteria for a wide range of species;
  • Variable blow energy and slow starts can be combined with our fleeing animal model to design mitigation methods (see INSPIRE Light below);
  • Easily understood graphical outputs (contour maps) available as GIS shape files;
  • Regularly validated using real-world measured data;
  • Widely accepted by regulatory authorities.
By default, INSPIRE produces a high definition output that is suitable for use in submission to regulatory bodies. As a consequence each run of the model can take a number of hours which has lead us to develop INSPIRE Light.


INSPIRE Light was developed to quickly provide indicative results and to support faster decision making. This version of INSPIRE runs much faster (in a few minutes) and is designed to give an indication of the likely outcomes of a particular piling operation within the context of a workshop. Clients have found this to be particularly useful when designing scenarios with marine biologists and piling engineers as a large number of different scenarios can be run within a couple of hours to determine the most viable solution for all concerned. Detailed modelling can then be undertaken with a much greater degree of confidence.