Solar - EcIA Puriton Solar Farm

Puriton Solar Farm, Puriton, Somerset

Background

 Stratus Environmental Ltd were seeking planning permission for a solar farm occupying three individual parcels of land totalling approximately 26 ha.

Action

 In order to ensure all the ecological input was relevant and justified; AEcol performed Phase 1 habitat mapping of all three areas and applied our Predictive Ecological Assessment System to produce a list of all the legally protected and UK Biodiversity Action Plan species of plants and animals that might be present within each habitat in the overall survey area.

 This information was combined into an overarching report in order to agree exactly what additional surveys would be needed to satisfy planning policy. Armed with the results of our Predictive Assessment, we were able to demonstrate that many surveys were unjustified at this site, meaning that only those that were absolutely necessary were performed. This gave the client the peace of mind that they were doing only what they really needed to do, but that they were doing enough to ensure there were no unforeseen delays or conflict upon submission of the final reports. In the interim, while the remaining surveys were performed, the client had sufficient information to proceed with designing an appropriate scheme in order to avoid the habitats that had been predicted to hold the greatest biodiversity interest.

Outcome

 Despite a number of  protected species issues needing to be built-in to the scheme, including great crested newts, the foundation given to all stages of the ecological input by our Predictive Ecological Assessment System meant that ecology was not a sticking-point, and the planning application progressed smoothly.  

If you would like to know how our Predictive Ecological Assessment System can save you time and money, please click here.