Before a building project starts, we investigate any potential impacts on the environment and wildlife.
Our environmental services team assesses hundreds of schemes each year, ranging from the replacement of small pumping stations to the rebuilding of treatment works.
The environmental screening process covers a range of issues including:
- designated sites of local, national and international
- hedgerows and tree protection orders
- archaeology and built heritage including conservation areas
and listed buildings
- social issues such as noise, odour and traffic
- air emissions
- watercourses and flood risk
- planning permission and environmental impact assessment.
The screening process is based around an extensive range of information brought together on our environmental geographical information system (GIS) as well as environmental information we have on each of our operational sites.
We also check records of protected species sourced from the environmental record centres within our region and our own survey programme - we share any information about species diversity on our landholding with the record centres.
When screening a proposed development we often need to consult with national regulators including:
- English Heritage
- Natural England
- Environment Agency
- local authorities
- local groups such as the Wildlife Trusts.
In addition, we consult with ecological specialists about any potential environmental impact arising from our developments.
Where our environmental screening indicates that there is a potential impact to wildlife or sensitive habitat, our ecological team may carry out specialist surveys on the ground before construction begins.
Where we are unable to avoid impact, we may undertake specialist mitigation or reinstatement and seek consent from the appropriate regulators.