Environment and ecology
We’re passionate about hydro as its environmental credentials are second to none – it is the most durable and efficient form of renewable energy and thus one of the best ways available to displace fossil fuels.
Accordingly, in our minds it would defeat the point to build hydro schemes that damage the local environment.
We take great care to select sites and design and install systems that do not cause loss of habitat to the local fauna or flora, and do not create noise or discernible visual impact for those living nearby.
At the outset this involves careful planning – screening sites for sensitivity then carefully coordinating marrying design with ecological constraints (defined by exhaustive surveys as necessary) to ensure an optimum balance. Examples of this range from selecting a pipe route that avoids sensitive habitats, to setting higher than usual compensation flows and installing fish passes to ensure migration routes are not impeded.
In many cases (particularly with high head hydro) the greatest potential impact of a scheme is during the construction phase. To minimise potential effects at this stage, we start with the drafting of method statements that are based on site specific dialogue with contractors to establish what is realistically possible. However, we don’t just rely on words – it is much more important to ensure that contractor working practices are as low impact as possible and that mitigation measures (e.g. control of silty run off water) are adjusted to suit the circumstances as they unfold. In some sensitive environments we appoint an ecological clerk of works to help us as projects unfold.