The Energiekontor UK owned New Rides Wind Farm, located on the Isle of Sheppey in North Kent, comprises four wind turbines located in a unique setting adjacent to an RSPB nature reserve and close to an internationally designated site for birds. Avian Ecology provided comprehensive support for this highly complex project, through design, field surveys, provision of robust EIA documentation, planning support, discharge of planning conditions, construction (ECoW) services and ongoing operational monitoring. Planning permission was awarded following appeal in November 2017 and the Avian team ensured planning conditions were efficiently discharged, enabling construction to commence in March 2018 and generation commenced at the end of the same year.
A new 24ha wet pasture wildlife enhancement area has been created by raising water levels in the network of ditches, which in turn involved specialist mitigation for water voles under licence from Natural England. The habitat enhancement area will be managed for the benefit of birds and other wildlife for at least 25 years under the supervision of an independent steering group, with success verified by a clear programme of monitoring.
The New Rides Wind Farm project is an exemplar of how renewable energy projects and biodiversity can achieve mutual benefits, and was winner of the ‘Sustainability’ category of the prestigious Construction Excellence SECBE 2019 awards in June 2019.