Project Background

SP Energy Networks and ScottishPower Renewables are developing several windfarms throughout Scotland. As large investments in the renewable-energy sector, these wind farm developments will be effective contributions towards the UK government’s ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, most of the proposed sites involve trees and woodlands and some are even situated in large commercial forestry plantations. The clients need to obtain planning permission and have contracted ADAS’ parent company, RSK, to perform environmental impact assessments (EIA), while ADAS Environment provides forestry support for seven wind farm developments.

The challenge

To help progress each development through the planning stages, ADAS Environment needs to identify any constraints, such as ancient woodlands, and to minimise the amount of any tree felling required, for example, keyhole felling rather than clear felling. Minimising the amount of tree felling makes it easier to obtain planning permission for developments and helps to gain the support of Scottish Forestry and the other consultees. In helping the clients to obtain planning permission, our team, which includes chartered foresters, is providing a wide range of technical advice to identify any constraints and to select the best route for overhead electricity lines and the best locations and designs for the wind turbines and their associated infrastructure. In some cases, the developments will include solar installations.

The solution

A key requirement for the forestry support has involved employing a highly qualified and experienced forester in the clients’ project team. Each development site is unique; however, most will require:

  • desktop research to obtain all the available forestry information for the scoping report, including any constraints.
  • A site assessment to capture additional information and surveys to establish the yield classes of the various plantations.
  • Calculations of the wooded areas to be felled and the volume of timber that will be removed once the scheme plans have been finalised.
  • Producing either a forestry chapter or technical appendix to the EIA.

Invariably, the proposed wind farm sites are in remote areas, some in Northern Scotland. We conduct our on-site activities safely and, where necessary, use a specialist safety system.

Client benefits

Our dedicated project team works effectively to ensure our clients make informed decisions and understand their opportunities so that they have the best chance of gaining planning approval. Client representatives are an integral part of our project teams: they attend design workshops and gain invaluable insights into the capability and experience of our project managers and technical specialists. We always aim to minimise the financial loss from any reduction in timber production, which benefits both the client and the landowners. Forming a distinct part of the RSK group, ADAS Environment’s forestry team provides essential support to the rest of the group for all forestry-related services.

Contact us

Wayne Scurrah, Associate Director, ADAS at wayne.scurrah@adas.co.uk.
Tel: +44(0)7780145427