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Ecology: Mitigation & Enhancement for Onshore Wind Farms

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Presentation on theme: "Ecology: Mitigation & Enhancement for Onshore Wind Farms"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecology: Mitigation & Enhancement for Onshore Wind Farms
Rachael Iveson Senior Ecologist 28th March 2014

2 Overview My background Ecological consultancy Legislation
What we do Legislation Site assessment Environmental Impact Assessment Avoidance, mitigation, compensation and enhancement Examples

3 My Background 2003 BSc (Hons) Forensic Science
6 years in pharmaceutical industry 2010 MSc Environmental Studies 3 years working for RPS (UK engineering and environmental consultancy) 1 year working for dedicated ecology consultancy, MacArthur Green

4 Ecology Consultancy – Our Work
Majority = ecological assessment of a site for a proposed development Planning requirement Monitoring (usually post-consent) Population modelling, collision modelling Advising statutory bodies - guidance

5 Legislation European Natura 2000 sites; Birds Directive; Habitats Directive Individual species: otter, GCN, wildcat, bats, adder, golden eagles, hen harrier, Killarney fern, etc. National UK: WCA, Protection of Badgers Act Scottish (e.g. water vole) Statutory Agencies SNH, SEPA, Marine Scotland Guidance EU, UK, Scottish Invasive non-native species

6 Wind Farm – Assessment Desk based study Field surveys Consultation
Ecological Assessment Significance Avoidance, Mitigation, Compensation, Enhancement

7 Avoidance (Design Mitigation)
Results of ecology surveys should feed into the design as early as possible. Infrastructure: turbines, borrow pits, substation, tracks, lay-down areas, etc. Avoidance – use of buffer zones Protected features Habitats and water (inc. GWDTEs) Flight paths (birds and bats)

8 Mitigation Pre-construction, construction, operation, decommission
Good practice measures Tailored to habitats/ species/ features present Species Protection Plans

9 Compensation Required when mitigation can not be fully achieved on site, e.g. destruction of a protected feature. 'Like for like' replacement. Example: Otter holt underneath root plate of a tree – required to be felled

10 Artificial Otter Holt

11 Enhancement Operational Phase – life of wind farm
Habitat or Conservation Management Plans How is this achieved? Planning condition Steering Group – agreement Monitoring and reporting

12 Enhancement Example: Fairburn Wind Farm
Conservation Management Plan (CMP) Wind Farm consented 2009, commissioned 2010 20 x 1.75MW turbines (35MW generating capacity) Wind farm covers 348 ha CMP covers Fairburn Estate: 4,711 ha (~6x7 km2)


14 Fairburn Wind Farm CMP – Aims
Mitigation to reduce impacts to raptors – loss of foraging habitat and collision of merlin, hen harrier and red kites Compensation for loss of semi-natural broadleaved woodland Enhancement and restoration for native woodland, blanket bog & golden eagle prey


16 Monitoring Ensure all Aims are being achieved Programme in CMP:
Vegetation monitoring Bird monitoring Prey monitoring Conducted periodically Reported to Habitat Management Group

17 Mark Hill Wind Farm Existing site in operation
Consented 2008, commissioned 2011 28 turbines (56MW generating capacity) Habitat Management Plan Aims: to restore blanket bog and native woodland (UK BAP species) Baseline – commercial forestry HMP area extends beyond WF area


19 Mark Hill Wind Farm – Aims of HMP
Blanket bog restoration and enhancement Native woodland establishment and enhance existing woodland Habitat enhancement for amphibians and reptiles Riparian habitat enhancement

20 Summary Overview of ecology consultancy in development of wind farms
Planning through to operation Avoidance, mitigation and compensation – 'neutralise' impacts from wind farm Enhancement – where possible Dependent on land availability, ecology on site, developer, planning conditions

21 Future Improvements? Future enhancement opportunities
Objectives and prescriptions – do these need further scientific rigour? Should enhancement measures be mandatory? How can enhancement appeal to developers - incentives? Biodiversity offsetting – can a metric be applied to ecosystem services, that also incorporates social, economic and other environmental factors? Putting a price on the environment Planning system – policies, guidance to LPAs, enforcement

22 Any Questions? If you would like to ask me any other questions please feel free to send me an

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