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Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

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The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process that considers how a proposed development will change existing environmental conditions and what the consequences of such changes will be. It therefore informs both the project design and decision-making processes. 

The findings of the EIA are presented in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) which forms part of the application. The main topics assessed will be: 

  • Landscape and Visual Amenity
  • Ecology
  • Ornithology
  • Cultural Heritage 
  • Noise and Vibration
  • Traffic, Transport and Access
  • Hydology, Hydrogeology and Geology
  • Socio-economics, Recreation and Tourism
  • Shadow Flicker
  • Aviation and telecommunications 

The EIAR will provide an assessment of the likely significant effects of the proposed development against the existing environmental baseline conditions and if required propose mitigation measures to manage and minimise potential effects. 

Submission of the Application and EIAR to South Lanarkshire Council

The proposed development is up to 30MW, and so we will apply for the permission under Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as amended. 

As the development exceeds 20 MW a major development planning application will be accompanied by a PAC report and a Design and Access Statement which details the design quality and access details for the site.

The development falls under Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 (the "EIA Regulations") under the description “Installations for the harnessing of wind power for energy production (wind farms)”.  An EIAR will be prepared in accordance with the EIA Regulations and submitted with the planning application.

Consultation period

Once the application has been submitted it will be advertised by South Lanarkshire Council in a local newspaper, the advert will include details of where to view the application documents and how to provide comments South Lanarkshire Council planning department. The application documents will be available on our project website as well as the South Lanarkshire Council planning portal. The consultation period allows 4 weeks for the public to comment and submit responses to South Lanarkshire Council on the application.

Providing comments as part of this exhibition does not replace or preclude the ability to make representations on the planning application once it is submitted.

Consultation and Determination Process

South Lanarkshire Council will consult a wide range of statutory and non-statutory consultees and their responses will be taken into consideration in determination of the application. South Lanarkshire Council will determine the application following completion of the consultation exercise and full consideration of the EIAR. 

Environmental Impact Assessment Topics

Landscape and Visual Amenity

The Landscape and Visual Assessment (LVIA) is being carried out by Chartered Landscape Architects at Ramboll UK Limited in accordance with the Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GLVIA3). The assessment will describe the landscape and visual effects resulting from the wind farm and identify which of these are significant in the context of the EIA Regulations. 

The assessment will consider potential impacts arising from the Development on landscape character types, landscape fabric and designated and classified landscapes, and views and visual amenity experienced from settlements, properties and public routes (including footpaths and roads) located within the 45 km radius Study Area from the outermost turbines in the Proposed Development. In the event that aviation lighting is required for the Proposed Development, the LVIA will address effects on the character of the landscape after dark.  Inevitably, such an assessment will need to describe the night baseline as the character of any landscape at night is different to that of daylight hours.

Zone of Theoretical Visibility Download

The assessment will include representative viewpoints from which the visual effects of the Development are considered. The selected viewpoint locations are all publicly accessible and represent views experienced from roads, recreational routes, hill summits, promoted viewpoints and settlements in the surrounding area. The location of these viewpoints and format of visualisations have been agreed with South Lanarkshire Council and NatureScot (formerly SNH). However, the assessment viewpoints do not represent an exhaustive list of every location from which the Development will be visible. 

The representative viewpoint locations include: 

  • Viewpoint 1: Tinto Hill 
  • Viewpoint 2: East of Lanark 
  • Viewpoint 3: Carnwath
  • Viewpoin 4: Douglas
  • Viewpoint 5: Priests Pool 
  • Viewpoint 6: Local road north of Shotts
  • Viewpoint 7: Glassford
  • Viewpoint 8: Coalburn  
  • Viewpoint 9: Core Path - Glespin
  • Viewpoint 10: Core path – B740
  • Viewpoint 11: Roberton
  • Viewpoint 12: Lamington
  • Viewpoint 13: Rigside
  • Viewpoint 14: Hart Fell
  • Viewpoint 15: Culter Fell
  • Viewpoint 16: Dungavel Hill
  • Viewpoint 17: Between Lamington and Coulter

Visualisations from each representative viewpoint will accompany the assessment and will be prepared and presented in accordance with NatureScot guidance. These will be presented as wirelines and photomontages, which are computer generated images which illustrate how the wind farm will appear in the landscape from the representative assessment viewpoints.

As well as assessing the potential landscape and visual effects arising from the Development, the LVIA will also consider cumulative landscape and visual effects, arising from the addition of the wind farm to a baseline which includes other existing and proposed wind farms.  It will focus on developments that are likely to give rise to significant cumulative effects. The cumulative assessment will therefore concentrate on operational, consented and proposed developments located within 4 km of the outermost wind turbines of the Development.

Viewpoints are represented by photomontages of the following viewpoints:

Viewpoint 1: Tinto Hill 

Tinto Hill is a popular recreational destination for hill walkers. The expansive and panoramic view from the summit to the south east extends across the southern slopes of the hill towards an area of moorland farmland and plateau moorland interspersed with areas of settlement and road networks.

Clusters of wind farm development are visible in the distance. Little Gala Wind Farm would be located in the middle ground of the view, situated within an area of agricultural farmland, adjacent to a forestry plantation. 

Viewpoint 10: Core Path B740

The view from this viewpoint extends across rolling agricultural farmland and moorland landscape towards the site. The M74 sits in the middle view with communications and electricity lines visible in the foreground and Thirstone Quarry site partially visible to the south east. 

The turbines would be partially visible above the skyline. The majority of the turbine towers and ground-based infrastructure such as access tracks and transformers would be screened by topography in this view.

Viewpoint 11: Roberton 

The view from the western edge of Roberton extends north west along the local road, towards the northern moorland slopes of the Roberton Burn valley – the summits of which forms the skyline of the view. Areas of rough grazing and moorland landscape are interspersed with individual or small groups of trees, with some small areas of forestry and woodland present also. 

Little Gala Wind Farm would be located along the skyline in the background of the view. The bases of the turbines and all ground-based infrastructure would be screened by topography. All 7 proposed turbines would be visible to varying degrees.

Viewpoint 13: Rigside

The view has been taken from the eastern edge of the village of Rigside, extending across low lying agricultural farmland associated with the valley of the Ponfeigh Burn with more elevated moorland hills forming the background and skyline to the view. The view was selected to be representative of views from the settlement as well as for users of the A70.

Areas of woodland and forestry are present across the skyline to the north of the view, and local electricity distrbuition lines pass through the landscape in the middle- and background of the view. Little Gala Wind Farm would be located to the south of an area of forestry which is present along the skyline.
 

Landscape Figures Document Download

Ecology

Arcus Consulting Ltd are carrying out the ecological assessment of the potential impacts on the flora and fauna on site and the surrounding area. The assessment will focus on the potential effects of direct and indirect impacts during construction, operation and decommissioning of the Development. 

To inform the ecological assessment, and sufficiently avoid or mitigate any predicted effects, habitat, protected species, bat and fish habitat surveys have been undertaken on site.

The Proposed Development comprises of upland hill farm with a small shelter belt, with managed grouse moor beyond the site boundary. Due to the dominance of farmland including grassland habitats utilised for grazing; habitats within the site and surrounding are considered to be of generally lower value to protected species.  Bat surveys have been undertaken and highlighted some use of the site associated with watercourses and parts the ‘Little Galla Strip’ tree line, although appropriate separation buffers between turbines and these areas can be applied to limit the risk of impacts. 

The ecological assessment will include: 

  • Direct and indirect habitat loss and disturbance (temporary and permanent loss of terrestrial habitats, including sensitive or protected habitats such as peat).
  • Direct and indirect effects on protected species (including bats, otter, water vole and badger). 

Mitigation measures will be included in the EIA to avoid and reduce effects on these species.

Ornithology

MacArthur Green Ltd will be undertaking the Ornithological Impact Assessment (OIA), which will consider the potential direct, indirect and cumulative effects that the construction and operation of the Proposed Development could have on ornithology. 

Baseline ornithology surveys were undertaken for the site in 2019 and 2020. Since then we have consulted NatureScot (formerly SNH) and RSPB to agree an appropriate survey methodology for the site. Based on the findings of the surveys it is considered that the site has generally low ornithological sensitivity.  It has been agreed with consultees that black grouse, curlew, lapwing and merlin will be included in the ornithology impact assessment. 

The potential impacts commonly assessed are; habitat loss and disturbance to breeding, wintering and non-breeding birds during the construction period; displacement around turbines and/or collision risks during the operational period; and cumulative effects associated with the proposed development.

Any potentially significant effects upon birds will be avoided/ minimised, where practicable, within the design process, and a suitable Breeding Bird Protection Plan (BBPP) will be produced to further reduce potential impacts. Good practice during construction, operation and decommissioning of the proposed development will also be implemented. 

Hydrology, Hydrogeology and Geology

Ramboll UK Limited has completed desk based surveys for the proposed development.

The site drains predominantly to the north to the ‘Garf Water’, which crosses the northern part of the site in an east to west flow. A small area in the south west of the Site drains in a southerly direction to the Hashy Burn. A review of the SEPA online Flood Risk Management Maps shows that there is a very limited area of the site, adjacent to Garf Water in the north east of the site that is High risk of river flooding. 

Turbines will not be located within 50m of any watercourse and during construction a Pollution Prevention Plan will be drawn up setting out measures to be put in place to control and minimise runoff from the site and in particular to prevent pollution of any surface or groundwaters.

Based on habitat surveys and a desk-based review of available peatland mapping, it is considered unlikely that there will be any significant deep peat deposits on the site, and that the impacts on peatland will be minimal.  Site surveys are being undertaken to confirm the presence and depth of any peat within the site to allow the design to respond to this and ensure impacts are limited.

Cultural Heritage

Archaeologists from CFA Archaeology will consider direct, indirect, and cumulative effects on archaeology and cultural heritage. This will include the consideration of the following:

  • Nationally designated assets including World Heritage Sites, Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, Inventoried Gardens and Designed Landscapes, Inventoried Battlefields and Conservation Areas
  • Undesignated assets (including above and below ground assets) as recorded by the local Historic Environment Record (HER), cartographic record, photographic record, or identified through the walkover survey
  • The potential for currently unknown (buried) archaeological remains to exist within the Development.

Between 5km and 10km from the site boundary an initial desk top survey has identified one World Heritage Site (New Lanark), one Inventory Garden and Designated Landscape (The Falls of Clyde) and three Conservation Areas (Douglas, Lamington and New Lanark). 

There are five Scheduled Monuments (Castle Dykes, Castle Hill Strip, Dungavel Hill, cairn, Wildshaw Hill and Thorril Castle), nine Category B and four Category C Listed buildings within 5km of the site boundary.

A review of aerial photography and a site walkover by an archaeologist has been undertaken to identify any unrecorded archaeological features within the site.  This has identified some previously unrecorded features of archaeological interest, and the more sensitive of these will be avoided through the design process.  A scheme of archaeological mitigation to mitigate impacts on any previously unrecorded below-ground remains will also be implemented during construction.

      Noise

      The noise assessment will be undertaken by TNEI and will include both construction and operational activities of the windfarm and will include cumulative noise from existing windfarms in the area.  Windfarm noise in Scotland is assessed in accordance with ETSU-R-97 “The Assessment and Rating of Noise from Wind Farms” and the associated Good Practice Guide published by the Institute of Acoustics.

      The main objective of the noise assessment is to inform an iterative design of the development that allows it to meet noise limits at the closest properties which ensure it will not have an unacceptable effect on the amenity of those receptors. These limits will then be proposed as conditions of any planning consent to give the Local Authority the ability to enforce compliance with the limits.  The cumulative impact of nearby developments will inform the limits that are set to ensure that the cumulative effect of noise from all schemes does not result in an unacceptable impact on the amenity of the closest receptors.  The EIA Report chapter will present a review of relevant policy and how it guides the assessment, the results of noise measurements, and finally the assessment of the noise predictions against the noise limits.

      In addition to the operational noise assessment, an assessment of construction noise will be undertaken and presented in the EIAR. In most cases, construction noise (including construction traffic) is controlled through the implementation of mitigation measures (such as limiting hours during which construction can be done) and carrying out construction works in accordance with good practices, such as using well maintained and serviced plant, and the appointment of a site contact to whom complaints/ queries can be directed. 

      Traffic and Transport

      The potential effects of increased traffic on the surrounding road networks will be considered within the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). 

      The Proposed Development is located in a relatively rural part of South Lanarkshire, however road access to the Site is relatively good, with the M74 motorway lying to the south west of the Site providing strategic access to Glasgow to the north west and to the north of England to the south.  The Site would take access from the B7055 which runs in an east west direction to the north of the Site.  The B7055 links to the A70 to the north east of the site and the A70 links with the M74 motorway at Uddington.

      Abnormal Loads are likely to be transported from Glasgow to the north west via the motorway network, the 7078, A70, and B7055 but this will be confirmed by means of an Abnormal Loads Assessment which will be submitted as a technical appendix to the EIAR.

      General construction traffic will generally utilise the M74 motorway (from north and south) and then access the Site via the B7078, A70 and B7055.  

      To assess the impact at its peak, the likely percentage increase in traffic is determined by comparing estimates of traffic generated by the proposed development with future predicted baseline traffic flows on the roads used by construction traffic in vicinity of the site.

      Socio-Economics, Recreation and Tourism

      The assessment of socio-economics, tourism & recreation is being undertaken by Ramboll UK to identify the effects, both adverse and beneficial, of the wind farm development.

      Initial desk based surveys notes that the site is surrounded by scattered settlements, villages and towns including: 

      • Rigside, approximately 2.5 km north west;
      • Douglas, approximately 3 km west; 
      • Newton, approximately 1.5 km east; and
      • Roberton, approximately 2 km south east.

      There is no tourism assets or designated sites within the Development site; however, the local area includes a number of visitor attractions and tourism destinations including; 

      • New Lanark World Heritage Site, located approximately 10 km north of the Site.  This includes a visitor centre and woodland walks within the Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve;
      • Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum, located in Biggar, approximately 14 km east of the Site; and
      • Golf courses located in Rigside, Carnwath and Biggar.  

      The Clyde Valley tourist route is also located in the wider area along with several summits and long distance paths; including Tinto Hill to the north of the site and the Clyde Walkway 10km to the north at the closest point. 

      Within the EIA Report, an assessment of tourism & recreation will identify a full list of sensitive tourism and recreational receptors and identify the potential effects of the wind farm development on these receptors. The assessment will also examine the level of construction activity and job creation and the potential linkages with the wider local economy. This will include an assessment of potential multiplier effects within the local economy and the degree to which local businesses could benefit from the construction, operation and decommissioning of the proposed development. Potential community effects will also be examined and the assessment will consider the potential for the proposed development to affect other existing business activity.

      Aviation 

      Consultation will be undertaken with National Grid to confirm the stand-off distances applied between the turbines, other infrastructure and the high-pressure gas pipelines in the vicinity of the site, and to determine whether any additional construction control measures are required.

      Consultation will be carried out with telecommunication providers to confirm the locations of the links.  Information obtained from the consultees will be analysed and if required the Proposed Development layout will be adjusted to achieve recommended separation distances from the existing telecommunication links or mitigation provided.

      Consultation will be carried out with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and MoD as part of the EIA process to inform the assessment of potential effects on civil and defence installations.

      Avoidance of impacts on these receptors will principally achieved through the design of the proposal, although there are well tested technical mitigation solutions available where these are required e.g. mitigating impacts on the NATS Lowther Hill Radar, to which the development will be visible.

      If you would like further information or wish to provide feedback, please complete our questionnaire or contact us.

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        Ian Simms
        Senior Development Manager
        BayWa r.e. UK Limited
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        Laura Fleming
        Project Developer
        BayWa r.e. UK Limited
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