News

Stephenson Halliday is delighted with the approval of the West Islay Tidal Energy Park this week by Scottish Ministers.

We assisted our client DP Marine Energy to deliver the tidal energy park, consisting of up to 15 surface-piercing devices (comprising up to 30 tidal turbines below the sea surface) located approximately 5.4km off the south-west coast of Islay, Argyll and Bute. The development will have a generating capacity of up to 30MWh; enough to power the equivalent of approximately 18,000 homes.

Stephenson Halliday first became involved in the project in 2012.We prepared the Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (SLVIA) which formed part of the ES submission in 2013. We also prepared supporting material for public exhibition and the consultation process during the EIA.

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Stephenson Halliday have successfully completed their Commitment 7 obligations for the 2016-17 term to retain the IEMA EIA Quality Mark. We were required to submit a case study, two articles and a presentation to demonstrate our commitment to excellence in EIA activities. Further information can be found here which also has a link to our submissions.

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The Birkhams Quarry Section 73 Planning Application, which was granted permission in April 2015  was co-ordinated and prepared on behalf of Marshalls Stancliffe Stones by Stephenson Halliday.  It incorporated the introduction of regular liaison and collaboration with Cumbria Geo-Conservation, The National Trust and Cumbria County Council, which has been coordinated by Stephenson Halliday.  The Wainwrights Coast to Coast footpath passes the small quarry a short distance north of St Bees and the land is also part of the Colourful Coast project between Whitehaven and St Bees. The aim of the Colourful Coast project is to improve public access, enjoyment of the coastline, infrastructure improvements and awareness of the history and rich ecology.  As a result of the collaboration interpretation boards have been implemented on sandstone blocks and positioned adjacent to the footpath which passes the quarry.  The interpretation boards highlight the detailed local geology, mineral value and use, which includes heritage restoration on national and international developments.  Onsite progressive restoration has also been undertaken, which with The National Trusts support will be of nature conservation benefit.  A small part of the site will also be safely accessible for geology groups via pre-arranged visits.

As a result of the proactive collaboration between all parties Birkhams Quarry has been included as a Good Practice Case Study in a report to Natural England regarding the National Planning Policy Framework (2012) relating to:

  • UKGAP Theme 2:   Influencing planning policy, legislation and development design
  • Indicator 4:  Geodiversity gain at development sites and restored mineral sites – The total number of sites where geodiversity has been recognised within the design

The Birkhams Quarry case study will soon be added to the UK http://www.ukgap.org.uk/

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So far in 2017 Stephenson Halliday has welcomed three new members of staff to our Glasgow office. Graham Cann is our new Principal Planner, Susan Bell is our Senior Environmental Planner and Joanna Scott as our 3D Visualiser. Head over to our team section of our website to read more on our new starters and our existing staff.

http://www.stephenson-halliday.com/team/

Stephenson Halliday is delighted with the approval of the Kirk Hill Wind Farm appeal last week.

We first became involved in the project in 2014, providing landscape and planning services to our client Coriolis Energy. These included LVIA and EIA coordination of this eight turbine scheme in South Ayrshire. Following submission of the original planning application in 2015, we continued to be actively involved in the project, providing additional environmental information including detailed landscape character analysis and updated cumulative assessment. Following refusal by South Ayrshire Council in 2016, Stephenson Halliday worked closely with Coriolis Energy to provide landscape and visual advice in relation to the subsequent appeal. The appeal was allowed by a Reporter appointed by the Scottish Ministers in February 2017.Kirk Hill Wind Farm 1 Kirk Hill Wind Farm 2

‘Coriolis were delighted with Stephenson Halliday’s work managing the EIA and undertaking LVIA for Kirk Hill, happily consented at appeal with the Reporter agreeing in almost every case with the assessments made by SH in preference to that provided by SAC and SNH. SH managed the work effectively, to time and to budget. Their work, for an exacting and informed client, never avoided the difficult issues and risks. Their methodology allowed confidence that the assessments were professional and independent whilst communicating closely with the development team. Problems were solved by discussion and ideas between us, rather than imposed by either party. A pleasure indeed!’ – Harry Malyon, Coriolis Energy March 2017

We have been working with our client at Tenement Tarn for a number of years now. The latest proposal for 3 camping pods was refused by South Lakeland District Council last year. Our subsequent appeal has been successful with the Inspector aligning with our view that the proposal would not appear prominent or incongruous within the rural landscape. Additionally, the Inspector made a partial award of costs against the council for its unreasonable behaviour in including reasons for refusal for which there was no evidential basis.

We’re delighted to see Cumbria County Council unanimously approved the Campus Whitehaven new school application.

Stephenson Halliday have been working with Wates Construction Ltd and Iteriad to deliver the joint school campus that will accommodate St Benedict’s Catholic High School and Mayfield School.

The proposal included new access points, car parking and new sports facilities including natural turf pitches, an all-weather pitch and two multi-use games areas.

Stephenson Halliday co-ordinated the public consultation event and submission of the planning application. The team also managed post submission discussions with the Cumbria County Council planning officer to deal effectively with any objections to ensure planning permission was granted within the tight project timescales. The application was presented to Cumbria County Council Development and Regulation Committee on 15th February and approved unanimously.

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Image from Ellis Williams Architects

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Image from Ellis Williams Architects

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Image from Iteriad

Who should prepare Environmental Statements? The consultation document from DCLG on change to the EIA regulations proposes that ES’s should only be prepared by competent experts.  At Stephenson Halliday we have extensive experience of undertaking EIA and preparing Environmental Statements and have obtained the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment quality mark for the standard of our EIA work. See our review of the proposed EIA regs changes here: EIA Regulations Update 2017.

Brexit – what are the implications for environmental legislation? Well, the latest consultation document from DCLG on changes to the EIA regulations makes it clear that the UK remains a full member of the EU until the negotiations for its departure have been concluded. Until that time the UK’s European obligations remain in force. See our review of the proposed EIA regs changes here: EIA Regulations Update 2017 and the consultation webpage.