Forestry and agricultural activities are increasingly exposed to the obligations of the EU habitats, birds and environmental impact assessment directives, for what in the past would have been activities and practices that fell outside any consent or regulatory process. The requirements and costs of compliance can be a significant challenge in these sectors where operations are often only viable with state subsidies.
MKO have provided ecological, environmental and planning advice and assessment at every level within the forestry and agricultural sectors. We have completed Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment screening reports for state bodies such as the Forest Service at the nationwide plan level, right down to the individual site scale, providing planning, ecological advice for agricultural or forest road building projects, entrances onto public roads, the treatment of invasive species, watercourse protection and fish passage.
MKO have an extensive knowledge of the ecological, environmental and planning issues that are associated with the forestry and agricultural sectors, and provide services that ensure regulatory and legal requirements can be met in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Forestry – Key Services
They can be targeted at a specific ecological subject matter of relevance, or span the full spectrum of ecology, from terrestrial habitats, flora and fauna, to freshwater, marine and avian ecology. Our EcIA are solutions-focused, proposing ways to mitigate potential impacts rather than just identify problems. Our clients benefit from the EcIA experience we bring to their projects, from having worked on some of the country’s largest infrastructure projects.
We prepare robust EIAR reports taking account of the latest requirements of the EU EIA Directive and national guidance. Our reports are written to stay ahead of emerging best-practice and ensure projects withstand legal challenges.
They are also written to be practical and aware of the need to implement design and mitigation measures during a project’s construction/operation phase. We project manage client, design team and specialist inputs, and meet our client’s deadlines. Our EIA experience spans every industry sector. Projects and clients benefit from the combined experience of all our company’s staff, who have refined our EIA knowledge and practices over decades of work in this field.
Habitats Directive Assessments (AASR / NIS / HDA)
The requirements of the EU habitats directive are well known to us, and we prepare Appropriate Assessment Screening Reports (AASR) as Stage 1 assessment/reports or Natura Impact Statements (NIS) as Stage 2 assessment/reports.
Our expert knowledge of the requirements, pitfalls and nuances of habitats directive assessments has been honed by completing many hundred such assessments/reports over the last decade. Our knowledge of the planning system, makes us acutely aware of the planning implications of conducting a Stage 2 assessment for developments that otherwise would not require planning permission. Given our experience, we can advise clients very quickly on whether a Stage 1 “screening” will suffice of whether a full Stage 2 “assessment” is required.
LVIA is a core company specialism, with our approach to projects being informed by our specialist landscape architecture, planning and environmental staff. We use qualitative and quantitative methodologies in our landscape policy, landscape character assessment and visual impact assessment work on projects of every size, from large scale wind farms to single houses.
We prepare detailed photo-realistic visualisations, wireframe models and other visual tools to help stakeholders visualise a project’s scale, size and setting in the receiving landscape. Our project-specific, tailored approach to LVIA has proven to be effective on multiple large scale infrastructure projects.
As the ECoW (environmental clerk of works) on construction projects, we provide an on-site presence to assist contractors and developers get their job done, while ensuring that all required measures are implemented to meet any planning or regulatory requirements.
Our presence can by full-time or more occasional, as required by the scale of project, site sensitivity or client’s requirements. Our ECoW staff have the necessary experience to be able to translate written mitigation and design measures into practical, on-the-ground solutions to ensure the implemented measures are fit for purpose. We can take responsibility for on-site environmental monitoring (water, noise, dust, air), as well as all auditing and reporting duties.
We manage the entire planning permission application process, or provide key inputs and planning advice. From advice at the pre-planning stage, through to preparing and managing the planning application or responding to further information requests, we help applicants or their project teams navigate a project through the planning process.
We can either lead the planning-phase design team or are equally happy to play out part as a team member. Our most experienced planners lead the consultations with the Planning Authorities, from the initial concept feasibility discussions right through to agreeing pre-commencement compliance requirements.