Ecological surveys at Galloper Offshore Windfarm, Sizewell, Suffolk

Client: Galloper

Objective: Habitat and protected species surveys

This Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm, will comprise up to 140 wind turbines off the Suffolk coast, with the capacity to generate up to 504MW of energy. Ahead of planning permission, the scheme required the full suite of habitat and protected species surveys.

The problem
The Ecology Consultancy was contracted to provide botanical and protected species surveys followed by detailed mitigation measures to avoid impacts on biodiversity, for the onshore elements of the scheme.

The solution

Our ecologists conducted botanical surveys of vegetated shingle and coastal sand dunes, both of which are habitats of principal importance under Section 41 of the NERC Act 2006. We also conducted badger, bat and reptile surveys. A combination of bat survey techniques established the use of the site by bats. These included automated detector surveys, which helped us to establish the range of species using the site for foraging and commuting, notably barbastelle and Nathusius’ pipistrelle.

Our qualified tree climbers revealed three small bat roosts of noctule and soprano pipistrelles. A European Protected Species Mitigation (bats) licence was obtained and the necessary loss of two roosts will be compensated by the provision of summer and hibernation boxes throughout the remaining area of woodland.

Our reptile surveys on the site confirmed the presence of adders, grass snakes, common lizards and slow worms. Directional drilling was recommended to lay the cable, both to avoid impacts on reptile populations along the route, and to safeguard important shingle, dune and hedgerow habitat. Planned mitigation included a reptile translocation programme within the substations site. A receptor area was identified and enhanced ahead of the translocation. Management of the receptor site included the cessation of mowing to encourage a diverse sward structure and the provision of log piles, large hibernacula and banks for foraging, refuge and basking.

The outcome
We represented our client at a Public Hearing and through close consultation with other stakeholders such as Natural England and Suffolk Wildlife Trust, we were able to devise detailed mitigation measures to avoid impacts on biodiversity.

 

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