Environmental Assessment

Rhyl Flats Wind Turbines


IECS has undertaken a series of environmental impact, strategic environmental and cumulative assessments, with particular focus within the Southern North Sea. These have been produced to the client’s requirements (and within regulatory guidelines) utilising both desk based and field studies. Investigation and advice has been provided on the following types of developments:

  • marinas and port developments;
  • offshore pipelines and landfall areas;
  • oil & gas exploration; brine cavern excavation and operation;
  • offshore and onshore wind farms;
  • aggregate extraction & maintenance dredging activities;
  • flood defence and coastal protection construction;
  • power station construction and operation.

Habitats Regulations Assessments

IECS have produced a number of reports fulfilling the Appropriate Assessment (AA) roles which are to:

  • characterise the reasons (including interest features) for the area being designated as an EMS; 
  • describe the proposed development/operation;
  • provide advice on the likely effects of the operation on the key interest feature/s and their constituent parts;
  • produce an overview of the expected effects of the development on EMS integrity; and engage the trust and needs of statutory bodies within the wider project requirements.

EIA components covered by IECS

  • Desk studies, meta data searches, GAP analysis and data collation;
  • Scoping Report – full scoping including initial consultation, liaison with relevant groups;
  • Benthic Ecology – survey design, consenting, grab and ROV surveys, analysis and assessment;
  • Fisheries & Shellfisheries – survey design, dispensation & liaison; plankton, epibenthic & pelagic trawls; potting effort studies; baited trap studies (inc. video footage); assessment;
  • Seabed Mapping – use of ROXSWATH multi-beam AGDS, ROV survey & ground-truthing;
  • Ornithological Surveys – seabirds (boat & aircraft surveys), estuarine and freshwater birds issues for site integrity etc.;
  • Legislation and Coastal Management – integration of multi-strand approach including use of GIS;
  • Environmental Statement, including assessment of impacts, cumulative effects and mitigation measures. This includes full EIA authorship, chapter authoring or niche input as required.

Baseline characterisation and monitoring & surveillance

IECS can design and undertake baseline surveys and surveillance programmes as required within the EIA context.  The following can be designed with client and regulator needs taken into account.

  • Seabed surveys, including ROV deployment, bathymetric studies, sediment dynamics and particle size analysis, benthic grab sampling to establish invertebrate communities.  These can be designed into a wider BACI programme;
  • Characterisation of the crustacean and fish populations through a programme of plankton trawls, seabed and pelagic fish trawls; shrimp netting with quantification of environmental and commercial importance, deployment of sentinel organisms, tagging and recapture;
  • Ornithological monitoring - seabird surveys from boat and aircraft, disturbance and function assessments of key waterfowl and seabird communities, breeding bird surveys, prey preference and consumption rates, flightlines and barrier effects, condition assessments.


For additional information please contact:

Nick Cutts (Deputy Director and Senior Ornithologist) N.D.Cutts@hull.ac.uk


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