Wind Farms – Environmental Services

If you are developing a wind farm or just a turbine or two, Penny Anderson Associates Ltd. (PAA) has the experience and expertise to help you either independently or as a member of a design team.

Wind farm surveysPAA has a long association with onshore wind farm development ranging from single turbines to large-scale projects, often working as an essential member of design teams informing design and mitigation. Wind farm development assessments are complex and require the services of a wide range of specialists e.g. botanists, ecologists, ornithologists, licensed bat ecologists, moorland scientists, hydrologists, soil scientists, geomorphologists, geologists and GIS specialists, all of which we have at PAA.

Guidelines for bird surveys have been established for a number of years and more recently, survey protocols for bat surveys have been developed by Natural England and the Bat Conservation Trust. PAA keep abreast of these and all relevant guidelines to ensure the effects of any proposal can be thoroughly and appropriately evaluated.

Assessing the environmental impacts of wind farm development presents specific challenges where our experience and expertise in the following is essential:

  • Bird surveys: vantage point, night surveys, winter wildfowl surveys, breeding bird, specific species surveys, cumulative impact assessments, collision risk analysis;
  • Bat surveys: incorporating automated detectors for long-term data capture and analysis;
  • GIS: to manage, represent and analyse baseline data layers, mapping and modelling bird and bat flight activity;
  • Hydrology: hydrological surveys to assess potential impact on surface waters and groundwater on site and within the wider catchments, LiDAR analysis to model impacts on hydrology and flood risk analysis;
  • Peat: depth assessment, handling, restoration and mitigation, carbon storage and budget analysis;
  • Habitat assessments: to identify levels of impact of access roads and construction and to find the best solutions for turbine and road locations; and
  • Protected species: amphibians, reptiles, otter, water vole, badgers and others as relevant.

wind farm ecologyThe Renewable Energy Strategy commits the UK to satisfying 15% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. It is planned to increase the energy contribution through a number of approaches including bioenergy, wave and tidal power and hydro-power.

The UK has some of the best wind resources in Europe making it ideal for wind farm development. Wind generated energy is carbon free and perhaps the cheapest of the renewable technologies. For these reasons wind farms are predicted to take on a critical role in future energy production in the UK.

Government policy actively supports renewable energy. Wind energy and other renewable technologies are supported in principle by both statutory and non-statutory conservation bodies. Nevertheless, objections to wind farms are frequently made on ecological and environmental grounds.

For planning applications to be successful the Environmental Impact Assessment needs to be robust and mitigation proposals comprehensive. Appropriate survey methodologies and best practice must be adopted, particularly in the case of birds, bats and for development proposals in peat-covered areas.

For more details on our services relating to
wind farm developments, please contact us