The Environmental Surveys involve visual inspection of the rivers and floodplains to help identify environmental features that may be constraints or opportunities for the flood protection scheme, for example the plants and animals on or near to where we might construct flood protection measures.
There are a number of environmental designations and sensitive features in the Grangemouth area that mean we need to carry out a statutory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) during the development of the scheme design, and to work out ways in which we can mitigate the impacts of construction work.
The Firth of Forth has three separate environmental designations:
There are also other nature conservation sites, heritage designations, and an area of Townscape Value present, and the potential risks of encountering protected species, invasive species, buried archaeology, and for the construction works to disturb the local communities and businesses.
Therefore, a series of environmental surveys are planned as detailed below:
A series of bird surveys at the Forth Estuary between Dunmore and Blackness has been carried out to assess the potential effects of the flood defence scheme on their habitat. Much of the survey area forms part of Firth of Forth, which supports a variety of species populations of European importance during the migratory and wintering periods. The wintering bird and breeding bird surveys commenced in August 2015 following agreement on the scope with Scottish Natural Heritage and was completed in August 2017. The information received from this survey has provided critical information on the location and behaviour of birds within the survey area.
Initial Ecological Surveys
Our first group of ecological surveys for the Flood Protection Scheme were completed between February and May 2016, in the area shown on the map . The covered features such as habitats, otters, water voles, badgers, invasive plants and habitat suitability for great crested newts.
Further Ecological Surveys
Further ecological surveys will be planned to provide more information on the protected, notable and rare species in the study area, or to provide more detail to / to update the initial surveys. These may include bats and trees and the protected, rare or notable species identified in the initial ecological surveys.
Fluvial geomorphological surveys have been undertaken on the River Carron, Grange Burn and River Avon to document, through mapping, the existing morphology (shape) of the channels and process of sediment transport, erosion and deposition that are ongoing within the channels. A geomorphological survey has also been undertaken along the Forth Estuary between Bo’ness Harbour and the Kincardine Bridge, again to identify the existing nature of the shoreline and its behaviour. This information will provide a baseline of the existing conditions and then feed into the design of the FPS to ensure that it works with natural processes and is sustainable.
Other Environmental Surveys
As the EIA studies progress, it is likely that other surveys will be completed to help inform the design the proposed scheme design and construction methods, and to identify opportunities for integrating further benefits. This work will also inform any environmental licences and consents required in agreement with the environmental regulators.
Such surveys may include landscape and visual amenity, geomorphology, archaeology and heritage, noise and vibration and traffic surveys.