Infinergy plans to build and operate a single wind turbine in flat, intensively farmed arable land at Botany Bay, near March, Cambridgeshire.
BSG Ecology recognises that the economic viability of Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) schemes is dependent on consultants taking an approach to assessment that is proportionate to the scheme concerned. This typically involves detailed desk study, informed assessments based on initial site appraisals, consultee engagement, identification of pragmatic solutions to minimise risk, and where necessary undertaking an appropriate level of follow-up baseline survey work.
BSG Ecology’s role in the project
We were contracted by Infinergy to provide the ecological evidence base required to support a planning application for this scheme following the receipt of scoping responses from the local authority. The site is located approximately 6.5km from the Nene Washes Special Protection Area (SPA). It was therefore important to demonstrate that species contributing to the qualifying interest of this SPA, were unlikely to be using the local area. We reviewed over 2,000 swan records provided by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, ornithological information from the local biological records centre and the Cambridgeshire Bird Club, as well as assessing the quality of the habitat and the resource available. The potential of the site to support protected species and habitats of conservation importance was established through an Extended Phase 1 Survey.
In assessing likely impacts, we drew on UK and Europe-wide literature concerning turbine mortality in birds and bats to provide the evidence based approach required by the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management when preparing Ecological Impact Assessments. The report was very well received by Infinergy who considered it would provide valuable support to their planning application.
BSG Ecology has developed relationships with a number of FiT scheme developers, and has undertaken many commissions for them. This partially reflects the quality of the up-front advice we provide with regard to the likely conservation sensitivity of individual sites, as this allows the developer to make a decision on whether to take a scheme forward without committing too much time and money to it. It also reflects the quality of our written outputs, our contextual understanding of bird and bat populations and our emphasis on finding pragmatic and cost effective solutions to issues raised by the schemes.