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Services

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Technical and robust

a RPS’ EIA team includes several of the UK’s leading practitioners with experience in managing and supporting large, complex and high profile schemes across a range of sectors.

Our approach has been shaped by many years of preparing technically and legally robust Environmental Statements(ES) which adopt best practice techniques and are prepared to the highest standard, thereby minimising the risk of challenge or delay in the determination of the client’s planning application.

Our multi-disciplinary expertise means that we can complete all components of the EIA process and related studies. In conjunction with our Planners, our EIA team often acts as the lead consultant to coordinate the input of large and diverse project teams so that they are focussed on the completion of a comprehensive and cohesive ES.

We support projects at all stages of development; from conception through to the establishment of development parameters, full design and the discharge of conditions and reserved matters. At each stage we assess potential environmental effects, formulate and recommend mitigation strategies and advise on how the environmental and sustainability features of a scheme can be optimised to ensure the greatest likelihood of planning success.

Our services include:

Preparation and submission of screening letters and scoping reports

Co-ordination, peer review and project management of technical consultants

Engagement with stakeholders and consultees

Writing the Environmental Statement, Non-technical Summary and associated documents

Assessment of applications for reserved matters and planning conditions

Preparation of screening reports, conformity statements and ES Addendums.

Download our EIA Capability Sheet here

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Case Studies

EIA Quality Mark Scheme

Introduction
For many years RPS was a founder corporate member of Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). During 2011, IEMA launched the EIA Quality Mark establishing a new standard for organisations that co-ordinate Environmental Impact Assessments. Following our submission to IEMA, key RPS offices were awarded the IEMA Quality Mark in April 2011.

What is involved?
The EIA Quality Mark is based around a set of EIA Commitments (detailed in Box 1 below), which organisations registered to the scheme agree to comply with.

Box 1: EIA Quality Mark Commitments:
1. EIA Management – We commit to using effective project control and management processes to deliver quality in the EIA we co-ordinate and the Environmental Statements we produce.
2. EIA Team Capabilities – We commit to ensuring that all our EIA staff have the opportunity to undertake regular and relevant continuing professional development.
3. EIA Regulatory Compliance – We commit to delivering Environmental Statements that meet the requirements established within the appropriate UK EIA Regulations.
4. EIA Context & Influence – We commit to ensuring that all EIAs we coordinate are effectively scoped and that we will transparently indicate how the EIA process, and any consultation undertaken, influenced the development proposed and any alternatives considered.
5. EIA Content – We commit to undertaking assessments that include: a robust analysis of the relevant baseline; assessment and transparent evaluation of impact significance; and an effective description of measures designed to monitor and manage significant effects.
6. EIA Presentation – We commit to deliver Environmental Statements that set out environmental information in a transparent and understandable manner.
7. Improving EIA practice – We commit to enhance the profile of good quality EIA by working with IEMA to deliver a mutually agreed set of activities, on an annual basis, and by making appropriate examples of our work available to the wider EIA community.

In order to meet the Quality Mark commitments, RPS need to provide information to IEMA throughout the year. This information includes copies of Environmental Statements, articles, presentations and case studies on EIA practice and recent projects.

What does it mean?
In order to maintain the Quality Mark accreditation, our Environmental Statements are audited by a panel appointed by IEMA to ensure that they meet legal and best practice criteria. Our staff are interviewed in order to ensure that they are providing a high quality and knowledgeable service.
RPS has passed all of its annual reviews to date and believe that the EIA Quality Mark provides us with a benchmark for our EIA activities and allows us to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to effective practice.

Greenwich Peninsula

Greenwich Peninsula

London

Quintain Estates and Development Plc

RPS have been advising on the redevelopment of Greenwich Peninsula since 2005.

Outline planning consent was approved including alterations and change of use to the Dome and a mixed-use development for the remainder of the Peninsula (Southern Lands), comprising approximately 10,000 residential dwellings, student accommodation, special needs housing, office/research floorspace, hotel floorspace, light industrial business park, retail, community uses and open space.

We led the original EIA and Sustainability Assessment for the Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan on behalf of Meridian Delta Ltd.

We also managed the Planning, EIA and Sustainability assessment process for the Greenwich Cable Car Area Masterplan (CCAM).

We are currently assisting to secure new planning permissions for approximately 1,250 units in the Peninsula Riverside area in addition to a residential-led, high quality, mixed-use development comprising some 1,604 new homes at Peninsula Quays

Hassockrigg Clinical Waste Facility

Hassockrigg Clinical Waste Facility

Near Shotts

Healthcare Environmental Services Ltd

RPS was commissioned to undertake and manage the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and planning application for the relocation of an existing clinical waste treatment facility.

The existing facility treated waste via steam autoclaving to render it harmless for transfer to landfill for disposal. However, the revised proposals introduced advanced thermal treatment technologies in order to improve the efficiency of the business by avoiding the need to treat waste elsewhere.

Through the identification of appropriate mitigation, RPS successfully demonstrated in the EIA that the proposed facility would have no significant adverse environmental effects, a position accepted by the Council and statutory consultees.

The application was recommended for approval but was refused by Committee, which resulted in our appointment to appeal the decision.

Kemsley Paper Mill

Kemsley Paper Mill

Kent

E.On

RPS submitted a full planning application supported by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to secure planning approval for a Sustainable Energy Plant (SEP).

Our multi-disciplinary team of planning consultants, environmental specialists and designers worked prepared and submited a planning application for the plant, to provide steam and electricity to Kemsley Paper Mill in Kent. The application was unanimously approved by Kent County Council.

The EIA element considered the likelihood of significant environmental effects occurring at the site itself as well as the surroundings, and with mitigation measures incorporated it is deemed that any effects are at acceptable levels. Our EIA demonstrated that the proposed SEP will result in beneficial environmental effects by:

Securing a sufficient and reliable energy source for a high intensive energy user

Significant Contribution to Renewable Energy Targets

Diversification from fossil to low carbon energy source.

Utilising waste that would otherwise be land filled managing waste through recovery in the waste hierarchy.


When fully operational the SEP will have net generation capability of 48.5 MWe. Low carbon and renewable energy generated by the SEP is categorised as Good Quality CHP.

London Array

London Array

Thames Estuary

London Array Ltd

RPS acted as lead consultants for the Environmental Impact Assessment for this 1,000MW offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary and provided the Environmental Statement accompanying both onshore and offshore applications.

The full development includes 341 turbines rising from the sea about 12 miles (20km) off the Kent and Essex coasts, as well as five offshore substations and up to four meteorological masts. The onshore grid connection is at a new substation near the existing National Grid overhead line at Cleve Hill, near Faversham in Kent.

RPS provided environmental services including the provision of a dedicated project manager to the consortium for the duration of the ES production. The specialist surveys and studies included Ecology, Ornithology, Noise (including marine), Landscape and Visual resources, Archaeology, Agriculture and Soils, Traffic and Transport, Shellfisheries, Flood Risk and Drainage, Planning and GIS support.

Four RPS specialists were Expert Witnesses at the successful planning appeal for the onshore application for the substation.

London City Airport

London City Airport

London City Airport Ltd

RPS has provided various Planning, Environmental and Sustainability services to London City Airport (LCY) for a number of years – the duration of our involvement with LCY is a testament to their satisfaction with our work and our ongoing ‘added value’ advice.

We supported the preparation of LCY’s application for a 50% increase in the permitted number of flights and related operational controls. This included the preparation of the ES, Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and Sustainability and Carbon Analysis Report. Subsequently, RPS drafted the Airport Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan and separate Biodiversity Strategy to discharge Section 106 obligations attached to the planning permission.

RPS coordinated the Environmental Impact Assessment to support the major reorganization of the Airport known as the Apron Stands Replacement Project (ASRP). We successfully negotiated the scope of the component assessments with the LPA and statutory authorities. A full draft of the ES was completed in in support of a planning application, which remains in abeyance pending revisions to the Airport Master Plan. The challenge for the EIA was that it should be ‘bullet proof’ in light of an earlier (unsuccessful) JR challenge by Friends of the Earth.

West Benhar Wind Farm

West Benhar Wind Farm, near Shotts

Partnerships for Renewables

RPS was commissioned to undertake and manage the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and planning application for an eight turbine (132m high) wind farm development within West Benhar Forest near Shotts.

The project was commissioned under RPS’s framework agreement with Partnerships for Renewables (PfR). The proposed wind farm is located within a commercial forestry plantation and is being developed by PfR in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS).

RPS was responsible for managing the layout and detailed design of the proposed wind farm, taking into account visual, environmental and ground stability constraints as well as consultee and public feedback.

A key element of the design process was ensuring that the design of the proposed wind farm ensures optimal compatibility with the existing and proposed future forestry operation of the site. This involved a staged design process whereby the existing forest design plan was used to inform the layout and design of the proposals.

Planning permission for the proposed wind farm was granted in December 2014.