You have been asked to act as the ecological consultant for a minerals company proposing the extraction of sand and gravel from an area of land alongside the River Hertford between Cayton and Flixton. The proposals will require planning permission and the preparation of a formal Environmental Impact Assessment. The client is proposing to create a series of lakes and ponds following completion of the extraction – there is considerable scope for you to advise them of the most appropriate design for the restoration work.

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Assessment : Ecological Impact Assessment of Cayton and Flixton Carrs (3000 words)

Part 1

You have been asked to act as the ecological consultant for a minerals company proposing the extraction of sand and gravel from an area of land alongside the River Hertford between Cayton and Flixton.  The proposals will require planning permission and the preparation of a formal Environmental Impact Assessment.  The client is proposing to create a series of lakes and ponds following completion of the extraction – there is considerable scope for you to advise them of the most appropriate design for the restoration work.

During the teaching week you will have undertaken the following:

  • Reviewed the development proposals and desk study information.
  • Carried out a walkover survey of site.
  • Considered what further ecological surveys may be required and the likely impacts of the development.
  • Considered possible options for restoration design and any other mitigation that would be appropriate.

Part 1 of your assignment is to undertake an ecological impact assessment of the proposals in relation to one of the following important ecological resources:

  • Otters
  • Water voles

Prepare a written report describing the following for either otters or water voles:

  • The methodology for any survey work done (including the walkover survey and ‘further survey’)
  • The data sources for desk study information
  • The baseline conditions for your chosen resource – based on desk study, habitat assessment, walkover survey results and further survey results
  • The geographical level of importance of the chosen resource – please state this and give some justification for it
  • The effects of the proposals on your chosen resource
    • identify all possible impacts on otters or water voles
    • describe and characterise the impacts
    • consider all phases of the project – extraction and restoration
  • Any mitigation measures that are necessary in relation to the identified effects and the likelihood of their success
  • Describe any residual effects (after mitigation)
  • State whether the project would be likely to have a significant effect on your chosen resource and justify your conclusion
  • Bill your client for the work done so far and estimate the cost of continued monitoring.

You will find it helpful to write your report using the following headings:

  1. 1.    Introduction
  2. 2.    Methodology
  3. 3.    Baseline conditions
  4. 4.    Ecological effects and mitigation measures
  5. 5.    Conclusions

The report should be written as a professional report so make it look like a report you would pay money for!  You do not need to include detailed descriptions of the background biology of the species/group selected, except where it is relevant to the description of the effect.  You also do not need to provide a planning policy/legislation section in your report, although you may find it helpful to refer to planning policies and legislation where appropriate.

Part 2

You are employed by the local planning authority (Scarborough Borough Council) as an ecologist.  It is your responsibility to review planning applications and advise as to whether or not these are acceptable on ecological grounds. 

You have been given the ecological assessment report produced by QUANTS Environmental Limited for a proposed wind turbine development at Woodhouse Farm, Flixton.  This report has been produced to support a planning application for two wind turbines (as shown in the report).  Each will comprise a 30 m mast, with a turbine blade length of 10 m.

Part 2 of your assignment is to review the report and comment (in the form of a letter to the local planning authority’s Planning Officer), specifically on the following issues:

  • Has sufficient desk study and field survey been undertaken to inform the assessment of impacts?
  • If not, what additional surveys would you recommend?
  • Do you agree with the report’s conclusion that significant ecological effects are not likely to occur? 
  • If not, why not?

Note: You do not need to address any issues other than ecological ones (i.e. landscape, noise, archaeology, etc – these will be commented on by other specialists).

Word limits / hand in / marks

Overall word limit for both pieces of work is a total of 3000 words

Price: £169

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