Ecology surveys, Triton Knoll Offshore Windfarm

The brief

RWE were seeking planning permission for the onshore components of the Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm. A number of potential cable route options were initially under consideration prior to the selection of the 60 km route. We assisted RWE throughout the planning process by assessing the ecological value of the proposed route options. We designed and implemented numerous habitat and species surveys throughout three years of works, often rapidly mobilising large numbers of qualified staff. The survey work culminated in the production of the ecology chapter of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

What we did

  • We held regular consultations with key stakeholders, including RWE, Natural England and the Wildlife Trust during the Evidence Plan process of the EIA, to agree pragmatic approaches to survey methodologies and data gathering.
  • We focussed on parts of the route, through innovative use of TIM (Thomson Ecology’s interactive mapping tool), to avoid ecologically sensitive features and combine surveys where possible for added value and time saving.
  • We conducted extended Phase 1 habitat survey across over 5000 hectares.
  • We carried out a full suite of protected species surveys, including Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) assessments for great crested newts within 2800 ditches and 300 ponds.
  • We carried out bat transects and static monitoring, resulting in over 4000 hours of monitoring, and analysis of approximately 30,000 bat calls.
  • We conducted breeding bird surveys of the full 60 km route, which we believe to be one of the largest breeding bird surveys undertaken in the UK.
  • This culminated in the production of the ecology chapter of the EIA.

Outcome

Thomson Ecology successful delivered the complete survey package, including the production of the (draft) ecology chapter, on time and on budget.