Ecosulis and the Wind Power Sector

Posted by on 2/08/2008

This year Ecosulis ltd is pleased to announce that it has significantly strengthened the depth and quality of the service it offers to on and off shore wind farm developers. As we move into our third decade of commercial operation we have further diversified our survey and assessment capability by:

  • Existing bats and birds
  • Developing an in-house Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), planning and project management service; and
  • Partnering with Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Consulting further bolstering our ornithological survey capability and technical expertise.

EIA Project Management
Ecosulis ltd has been planning the establishment of this new division for a number of years.  The rationale behinds its establishment has been to listen to our clients ensuring that our service offering is competent, flexible and competitively priced.

Rod Ellison who heads up our EIA team has experience of Section 36 applications, local authority applications and supporting small scale renewable projects. He has considerable experience in stakeholder engagement and consultation and has presented papers at engineering conferences on the subject.

Quality Ecological Surveys and Advice
We have the ability to undertake all protected species surveys. Our in-house ornithologists are experienced in a range of bird survey and assessment methodologies including vantage point, species specific and breeding bird surveys and collision risk modelling.  Refer to our website for further details on specific services that can be undertaken.

Our bat specialists are experienced in planning, surveying and assessing potential roost sites and bat activity areas. Further to a recent planning appeal (for 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) has again been highlighted. The inspector emphasised that turbine siting and mitigation should follow rather than precede bat activity surveys and that wind farm proposals should be more responsive to identified sensitivities.   This precedent has once more 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.  Additionally we have staff with relevant public inquiry experience if required.

Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Consulting
Ecosulis Ltd has a close working relationship with Wildfowl and Wet Trust Consulting (WWTc); the commercial consultancy of WWT. WWT was established in 1946 by Sir Peter Scott and is a respected, independent conservation organization.   We typically call on the expertise of WWTc to support our own in-house team with additional ornithological expertise as and when required.  We find this relationship highly beneficial as WWTc currently has nine specialist staff and is the leading national organisation in terms of bird surveys methods for wind projects.  To retain their independence from the impact assessment process and from a client’s perspective to increase the robustness of the data, Ecosulis Ltd’s team typical interprets the baseline surveys for use within Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIAs).

Seasonal Reminder

  • Passage Bird Survey commence August/September and March/April
  • Wintering Bird Survey commence September, to be completed in March

SNH guidance on onshore wind suggests 36 hours per vantage point for passage/winter bird surveys as a minimum.  It is our experience that it is possible to agree a shorter survey period through consultation (depending on local sensitivities).  It is also prudent to agree other aspects of surveys methodology (including the number and location of vantage points) prior to the commencement of surveys.  Clearly with the passage surveys commencing in August now is the time to commence consultation if possible.