Client: BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP Petroleum Ltd)
Location: Point of Ayr, on the North Wales coast
When oil and gas reserves were discovered in the Irish Sea, BHP Petroleum sought planning permission to construct an on-shore gas terminal at the Point of Ayr, on the North Wales coast. The locality is internationally important for birdlife, a holiday destination, adjacent to the village of Talacre and close to the Talacre Warren and Gronant Sands dune system.
Nicholas Pearson Associates were involved in the development of the scheme design and planning submission and were responsible for the comprehensive environmental framework proposed to support the development. Extensive baseline surveys were carried out to provide an understanding of the sensitive environmental context , including overwintering migrant and breeding bird surveys, botanical and freshwater ecological surveys, together with colour, landscape and visual studies. Our environmental work resulted in objections from Countryside Council for Wales, RSPB and the Planning Authority, to be overcome prior to the Public Inquiry. We provided expert witnesses at the Public Inquiry and permission was granted by the Secretary of State for Wales.
The scheme involved the creation and long-term management of water bodies and extensive areas of wet grassland to provide roosting and feeding habitat for the variety of wading birds and other water fowl species, several present in internationally important and others nationally important numbers. This involved the agricultural management of the grassland and the design of a water collection and pumping system to control water levels in the fields. We were involved in the crossing and reinstatement of the sand dunes where it was necessary to broach the dunes for the pipeline crossing. This required detailed botanical and invertebrate surveys, working closely with the engineers and preparing detailed reinstatement proposals. The environmental framework also included extensive earthworks and native structure planting to ensure visual integration of the terminal whilst creating an internally attractive functional environmental in which to work.
We worked with the engineers to prepare tender documents and were involved with monitoring of site construction work as well as continuing the environmental and ornithological monitoring.
The Warren Farm and Llawndy Farm fields are now part of the Talacre Warren RSPB reserve and the area has been included in the Dee Estaury SAC/SPA.