The Environmental Dimensional Partnership Ltd commissioned APEM to undertake the marine ecology elements of an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for the proposed London Resort project. This involved designing and undertaking a programme of intertidal and subtidal benthic ecology surveys and fish surveys encompassing protected species, and invasive/non-native species, along the Thames Estuary near the Swanscombe Peninsula.

As the project is so large, it is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). The project therefore required a Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR), which also included a Marine Conservation Zone assessment and WFD (Water Framework Directive) assessment, all of which APEM provided.

Aims

The survey programme was designed to provide a greater understanding of the marine species and habitats surrounding the proposed development area including saltmarsh. The data gathered would inform an assessment of the potential impact of the proposed London Resort project on the marine environment.

APEM were employed as a specialist contractor to deliver the intertidal, subtidal benthic and fish surveys, and to coordinate saltmarsh surveys along with completion of the associated lab analysis, survey reports, ES chapters, WFD Assessment and MCZ Assessment.

APEM team member photographing the estuary

The survey programme was designed to provide a greater understanding of the marine species and habitats surrounding the proposed development area including saltmarsh

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APEM team member setting up surveying equipment

APEM undertook intertidal and subtidal benthic ecology surveys and coordinated saltmarsh surveys

Reports

Assessment Reports

An MCZ Assessment was completed to assess potential effects on the Swanscombe Estuary MCZ with focus on the tentacled lagoon worm.

A WFD Assessment was completed following the Clearing Waters for All guidance, using information gathered via desk-based review and the project-specific surveys. This utilised the SeDiChem tool which APEM had developed previously for the Environment Agency. SeDiChem determines increases in chemical concentrations in the water column following an activity such as dredging.

The PEIR Chapter and ES Chapters of the EIA were completed using information gathered from all field and desk-based surveys and the assessment was conducted based on CIEEM guidance.

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Outcomes

  • APEM were initially commissioned to prepare the marine ecology sections of the Scoping Report and to design the surveys. Following successful completion of these tasks, APEM were commissioned to undertake the surveys, prepare the survey reports and complete the marine ecology chapters of the PEIR and Environmental Statement as well as other required ecological assessments.
  • Key considerations included potential effects of the infrastructure and any dredging on benthic species of conservation importance; underwater noise and vibration effects (mainly from piling) on fish and marine mammals; release of chemicals from bottom sediments if dredging was required (with use of the EA’s SeDiChem tool for the WFD assessment); loss of intertidal habitat and introduction and spread of invasive non-native species. Appropriate mitigation measures were proposed as required.
  • All of the reports were submitted to EDP on time ready for review by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). The project is still ongoing and APEM’s deliverables have been submitted as part of the DCO application with the project due to go to Examination later in 2022. We’re watching the progress of this project with interest!

We’re proud to support our clients with projects large and small, and our specialist teams work together to provide accurate, reliable results that our clients can trust. If you’re looking for advice about surveys or would like to find out more about our marine team, contact us here.

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