As part of our regulatory and policy commitments we appraise every capital project to determine whether it may impact upon any feature of ecological or archaeological interest.
Each project is assessed using our geographical information system which contains data on designated sites, habitats and species. We also work with ecological data centres and specialist wildlife groups to gain further understanding of species distribution throughout the region. This allows us to make informed judgements on the scope of further surveys. By carrying out survey work not only do we meet our legislative duties, but also contributes to the ecological knowledge of the region, by feeding back our survey results to special interest groups. The screening process is also utilised to identify the opportunities that such capital projects may create in terms of wildlife gain.
Screening of schemes such as the construction of a new sewage treatment works at Horden identified the necessary relocation and subsequent management of an area of Magnesian Limestone Grassland. The de-commissioning of a sewage treatment works at Witton-le-Wear provided the opportunity to create a large reedbed in its place.
Environmental screening update
2015 was another busy year for the Conservation Team as we screened a total of 709 projects for ecological and archaeological interest. The majority of the projects we checked for interest were from our new development department managing new connections for a range of developments. The remainder of our screening work was related to projects from our asset delivery and water distribution teams.
Several projects have had ecological interest including protected species being present, where we have worked with local ecological consultancies in addition to using our in-house ecological expertise to minimise our impact on the natural environment.