Ecosulis
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Case Studies

Energy

Project Name:
Wind Power Sector – Capability Statement
Client:
Various
Year:
Aug 01, 2010
Keywords:
n/a
Summary:
Introduction Ecosulis is an environmental and ecological consultancy and contracting company and has been designing and implementing practical solutions to meet ...

Introduction

Ecosulis is an environmental and ecological consultancy and contracting company and has been designing and implementing practical solutions to meet clients’ objectives and regulatory requirements since 1990. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) team was established at Ecosulis following detailed consideration of the best way to approach environmental assessment.

Our EIA project managers are experienced in securing consent for projects under a number of differing regulatory regimes. As such we understand the variation in approach required; from non-EIA planning applications to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) right through to complex application to central government bodies.

We also understand the complexity and various components that are part of the broader development process for these schemes. We appreciate the sensitivity of these projects and our attention to detail starts pre-appointment; for instance, as part of the bidding process we typically visit an application site to ensure our proposed scope is realistic. We find these sites visits invaluable (for larger schemes) as they allow us to more realistically price projects for our client; a good example would be the verification of vantage points required for passage and winter bird surveys.

Following appointment we have been involved with the process of developing preliminary arrays via the consideration of high level ecological and environmental constraints/buffers, evaluating landscape/visual capacity; conducting tip height assessments etcetera and then summarising this information in GIS into constraints maps.

Being predominantly an ecological consultancy we benefit from excellent internal ecological resources, who endeavour to ensure their work reduces consenting risk. At the onset of the EIA process our project managers develop programmes which are in the main driven by seasonally constrained surveys. Our project managers also prioritise agreeing survey methodology with the Statutory bodies (were possible) as we have found this significant reduces risks to our clients.

We have the ability to undertake all protected species surveys in-house. Our in-house ornithologists are experienced in a range of bird survey and assessment methodologies including vantage point, species specific and breeding bird surveys; collision risk modelling. Our bats specialist are experienced in surveying and assessing potential roost sites and bat activity areas for wind power schemes. Further to a recent planning appeal (involving a proposed wind farm in Norfolk) the need for very thorough bat activity survey work (including both transect surveys and activity surveys using static detectors to cover all turbine locations) has been highlighted. This precedent has again shifted what constitutes robust data, and consequently we have revised our survey methodologies to increase confidence in results, whilst ensuring that the collected data remains valid, with the changes that typically occur in turbine locations as the design evolves.

Our project managers are experts in building teams, scoping and managing surveys and ensuring report are aligned with client objectives and engineering design. Due to our model of concentrating project management and ecological expertise and using approved sub-contractor for other environmental disciplines our project managers retained flexibility in how teams are built. It is our experience that this approach means project teams are built around the needs of a project and we are able to appoint on the basis of competence and competitiveness.

Ecosulis has worked a number of projects that have been subject to planning appeals, and involved members of staff providing expert witness advice. Director Cain Blythe has the majority of this experience and has provided ecological expert witness for a variety of schemes and plans. Proofs of evidence prepared have covered various species and habitats including overwintering and migratory birds.

Key strengths

  • Our business model allows flexibility to build teams to suit a projects consenting requirements;
  • We provide a single point of contact for each project’s environmental requirements
  • Integrated EIA and ecology team with Appropriate Assessment expertise;
  • We offer expertise in developing and implementing stakeholder engagement and consultationstrategies;
  • Considerable experience in the management of complex noise surveys;
  • Integrated management system certified to the ISO 9001 quality standard and the ISO
  • 14001environmental management standard. and
  • Public Inquiry Experience.

 

Selected project Experience

IMS – Ventnor Wind Farm – Isle of White.

Included undertaking and coordinating ecological surveys, especially related to the presence of rare bat species known in the local area including barbastelle and Bechstein’s; assessing likely impacts; designing appropriate mitigation, and liaison with statutory bodies and planners

Confidential Client - Aust, South Gloucestershire

Managed ecological surveys associated with a proposed wind farm in South Gloucestershire. Surveys included wintering birds, bats, great crested newts, reptiles, otter and water vole. Consultation with the Local Authority and wildlife organizations including Habitats Regulations Screening Assessment due toadjacent Natura 2000 and Ramsar sites

Confidential Client – development of planning application for portfolio of small wind power sites

Developed an approach to secure consent for a portfolio of small wind farms projects on brownfield sites. The project are currently confidential with key services being offered including landscape, planning, ecology and archaeology. The consent applications will be lodged this summer.

Scottish and Southern Renewables, Confidential project - 2009

Rod Ellison was project manager for a 23 turbine wind farm development at a location near to inland water body designated as a SPA and Ramsar Site. Project in the early stages of development but includes extensive ecological surveys and design optimisation.

Confidential Windfarm Client – Cumulative noise modelling - West Wales

Developed a detail noise model to assess the potential noise impacts of three unconsented schemes (with planning application submitted) in combination with our client’s proposed project. The modelling was an iterative process as initial runs indentified poor correlation between data within submitted ESs and the Cadna outputs. The output will inform the client due diligence in deciding whether to proceed with the project.

Expert Witness for Structure and Local Plan Reviews and Appeal Inquiry - Swindon

Provided evidence that was supported by Natural England and the Planning Inspector, primarily relating to overwintering and migratory birds covering aspects such as Flight Initiation Distances, impacts on migration and roosting birds, building height impacts and predation risks.

 

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