Environmental Impact Assessment
We are committed to renewable energy and our reputation offshore is built on our unrivalled capability as a high quality 'one-stop shop', incorporating survey and monitoring design, data gathering, analysis and interpretation within ornithological EIA and HRA (Habitat Regulations Assessment or Appraisal) reporting and client representation. In fact, we extend a similar service across the full range of our projects, where we also aim to achieve net environmental benefit.
We have operated as lead ornithological consultant to produce Environment Statement ornithological chapters for nine offshore wind farms, whilst operating as the equivalent lead marine mammal consultant for the largest of the Round 2 sites we have worked on. Our range of clients includes Seagreen Wind Energy Limited (SSE/Fluor), Statoil ASA, Statkraft, Channel Energy Limited (RWE), Centrica Energy, Warwick Energy and RES as well as large consultancies such as Royal Haskoning DHV and RPS. The quality of our work has been identified in an independent review of offshore wind farm assessment methodology as well as by the SNCBs.
We consider ourselves fortunate to have been part of the ultimate successful consent of seven sites for a total of more than 3.7 GW, which we think makes us more experienced in this area than any other similar company in the UK. We estimate that the electricity that we have helped to generate is enough to power more than 2.5 million homes and reduces carbon emissions by nearly 6 million tonnes of CO2 per year. We are extremely proud of this contribution in tackling the effects of climate change.
Most recently, two of 'our' projects, Seagreen Alpha Wind Energy Limited and Seagreen Bravo Wind Energy Limited were consented in the Firth of Forth. Here, we undertook technical reporting of our own surveys, and then went on to conduct the ornithological EIA, working closely with the lead EIA consultants, Royal Haskoning DHV. We subsequently undertook the detailed and complex HRA for both sites involving eight species within four SPAs.
Our extensive experience with all aspects of ornithological assessment within the wind farm industry provides us with a unique perspective of this sector. This allows us to quickly target points of contention upon which the ultimate outcome of assessment can hinge. Dealing with these issues at an early stage in a frank and open dialogue with the SNCBs has proven to be most beneficial as it allows technical solutions to be developed and tested. In the Firth of Forth it was notable that the Rochdale Envelope for both sites stayed virtually unchanged in terms of turbine numbers, size and arrangement and thus site capacity throughout the consenting process, largely because it had been based on rigorous assessment and design principles to begin with. The strategy adopted undoubtedly reduced costs (as well as stress levels) for our client.
We maintain similarly high standards of working and approach to all our EIA work that has included onshore wind farms in relation to birds and bats as well as a several high profile transport schemes with possible consequences for fisheries, including the Channel Tunnel, HS2 and the Stonehenge bypass. On all these schemes we were subcontracted by a larger consultancy for our specialist knowledge. During such work we often link with local stakeholders. One example of the good public relations that may ensue was the rescue and translocation of large Brown Trout that had become trapped in isolated pools on one seasonal water course that was to have a new bridge. This service was provided to the very appreciative local angling organisation at no extra cost to them or the client.
Further assessment of the actual rather than predicted impacts upon fisheries has been undertaken for a number of abstraction schemes and a major project to change bench level in a large quarry with possible hydrological impacts upon headwater streams. No negative effects on fisheries have been realised, in some cases as a result of effective mitigation to correct previously damaging practices. For example, narrowing of a previously over widened channel coupled with in-channel habitat enhancement to promote a sinuous flow path and natural variety of flow, habitat and substrate conditions. This was to the benefit of such fish as salmonids as well as Bullhead, now a species of conservation importance.