Nevis Environmental worked with Statkraft UK on the development of the Berryburn wind farm in Morayshire.
The site is part of the Altyre Estate whose laird, Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming, sees it as a source of employment and local procurement and a focus for innovation and partnership.
Sustainability is central to the Altyre vision; the estate is determined to make best and responsible use of its scarce resources, including its woodlands, its water courses, its bio-diversity and its buildings and materials. Self-sufficiency is at the heart of the sustainability project and centres on the production of energy from the Estate’s renewable sources. It also involves conservation and recycling and efficient waste control.
It is in this context that Statkraft developed a windfarm of 29 turbines with 6km of access roads in an area of upland moorland, near other windfarms, but also close to several sites of special scientific interest.
The site at Berryburn is particularly boggy and the access roads and infrastructure had to cross a large peat bog. Some of the turbines themselves were located in deep areas of peat. During construction, there were issues concerning restoration and management of surplus peat on the site, alongside the major challenges of dealing with the condition of the ground and water.
After the building of the windfarm, work began on a detailed monitoring of the habitat areas, including the development with the landowner for long-term bog restoration and muir burning on the site. Muir-burning is practised by hill farmers and land managers to burn off rough, hill grasses and long, mature heather to improve grazing for sheep and grouse. Nevis also set in place an extensive monitoring scheme for the bird activity on the site.
Nevis staff were involved in all phases of the project from initial surveys before building work began, through with environmental monitoring during construction, and eventually a five-year programme of operational surveys and monitoring. Nevis staff carried out extensive bird surveys over the area of the site, providing detailed annual reports to stakeholders, and liaised with the client, estate and others to successfully restore the habitat on and around the site.
Nevis Environmental brought their expertise in ecology and hydrology to the project, assisting throughout and beyond the construction period across the entire site. The team had excellent knowledge of the site, its history and evolution, and a collaborative approach to protecting the environment. This ensured that all aspects of the environment were managed expertly and issues of concern were identified, and monitored over a long period of time, leading to a satisfactory result for all concerned.