Cascade offers a range of specialist environmental consultancy services covering ecological, environmental and water resource management. To read about these Core Services – please click the “+” button below next to each heading:
Specialist environmental consultancy for coastal and marine development and the environmental assessment of coastal schemes. Our team has a strong background in marinas, docks and harbour developments and has undertaken numerous environmental assessments of marina developments around the UK. We have undertaken option appraisal of coastal managed realignment and coastal habitat creation schemes and in addition, have specialist knowledge in the development and implementation of Government and regulatory policy on estuarine and coastal waters. We also provide expert advice relating to relevant legislation such as the Bathing Water Directive and the Shellfish Waters Directive.
Our experience covers marine developments and environmental assessments for very sensitive locations in or adjacent to many of the UK marine SAC, SPA and Ramsar sites. This represents a significant proportion of the coastal EC designated Natura 2000 sites in England and Wales. Most of the studies have required an assessment of the effects of development on hydrodynamical/geomorphological and ecological interaction.
Projects have required detailed monitoring studies of coastal developments to measure the impact on geomorphology, water quality, ecology and other environmental factors.
Services to support the protection and enhancement of ecology, including the management of habitats and species in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. This forms a core part of our work. Our team has a solid track record in providing ecological services, both nature conservation-led and as part of large, complex developments. Our ecological services cover advising on nature conservation legislation, policy and good practice guidance and assessment of hydro-ecological impacts for National Environment Programme (NEP) and Water Framework Directive (WFD) studies.
We have been involved in all aspects of ecological assessment including: consultation, scoping, collection of baseline information, ecological surveys, European protected species licences, environmental baseline determination and evaluation, GIS, ecological impact assessment (EcIA), design and implementation of mitigation measures and the production of ecological management plans. We also have extensive experience in the completion of Habitats Regulations Assessments (HRAs) in combination with EIAs.
Our ecological work has required us to prepare data requests and obtain data from a range of record centres and authorities including; Environment Agency, Natural England, Countryside Council for Wales, local biodiversity record centres, British Trust for Ornithology WeBS data, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, NBN Gateway, Magic.gov.uk and Cefas.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
Expert Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) services with a significant track record in the environmental assessment of a range of complex multi-disciplinary projects. We undertake EIA’s in both public and private sectors including coastal development, residential, mixed use and commercial development and within the water industry. We have a reputation for providing solutions to controversial development proposals through innovative thinking and careful negotiation with regulators and consultees to achieve our client’s objectives with minimal adverse impact.
Cascade’s tried and trusted approach to scoping and subsequent preparation of Environmental Statements is to ensure that the documents include sufficient information to support applications for all consents required for the scheme. Cascade knows that active engagement and good communication with consultees are essential for successful scheme delivery. We have developed many stakeholder management plans that are developed by reaching agreement on scope, answering all questions and objections from consultees and modifying the approach accordingly (where we agree). Our previous experience has highlighted early engagement encourages stakeholders to ‘buy-in’ and mitigates the potential for problems at subsequent stages e.g. at planning determination.
We have engaged with a large number of consultees including Defra, Welsh Government, Environment Agency, Natural England, Countryside Council for Wales, Marine Management Organisation, Crown Estates, many planning authorities and NGOs. Our EIA capability is underpinned by a wide range of in-house specialised technical expertise including hydrology, geomorphology, water quality and ecology; and by disciplined, professional management throughout the process. We have been involved with each stage of the EIA process from pre-application consultations and preparation of Environmental Statements, through Public Inquiry, to post-application support on the discharge of planning conditions and the implementation of Environmental Management Plans.
STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Leading edge Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), particularly within the water sector. Our depth of experience in strategic planning and long term option appraisal has enabled us to undertake SEA projects for both public and private sector clients. SEA requires a skilled knowledge of the planning system, in terms of both the nature and potential interaction of extant plans and programmes, and how these interactions can result in a potentially cumulative environmental impact.
Cascade’s core team combine planning expertise with extensive experience in environmental assessment, allowing a clear and pragmatic identification of key strategic issues. Cascade has achieved an enviable reputation for its ability to plan and manage both complex and sensitive projects. Past project services have covered SEA scoping, baseline data collection and analysis (GIS capability), environmental reporting and early stakeholder engagement.
We also provide expert witnesses for Public Inquiries, where SEA has been used to support the selection of options taken forward for development. We have utilised past experience in managing interfaces between different developers to ascribe impacts to each of the proponent plans, and to develop an integrated and rational programme for mitigating these impacts to acceptable levels.
An internationally recognised level of expertise in water management including the provision of advice for the European Commission, government, regulators, utilities and the private sector. We provide support for freshwater and wastewater studies, from strategic thinking at the catchment and coastal cell scale, through to detailed site-specific analysis. We deliver a range of water-related services through our specialist hydrologists, geomorphologists, water quality specialists, aquatic ecologists, environmental economists and GIS specialists.
Our services include EIA, preparation of best practice guidance, support for Water Resource Management Plans and Drought Plans, catchment management, water supply scheme assessment and planning, abstraction licence reviews, environmental studies in response to regulatory requirements, development of site selection methodologies, strategic studies, environmental monitoring, water quality modelling and options appraisal. These water-related services are enhanced by excellent project management and we are well known for our ability to plan and supervise complex and/or sensitive water management projects. From the simplest monitoring task through to the whole planning process for large water supply schemes, we will ensure that the project is delivered to the highest standard, on time and within budget.
We turn policy in to practice.
We have have extensive knowledge of the different river, lake, reservoir and canal systems that combine to provide support for many of the water companies and regulators in England & Wales. Our water management services encompass the full water cycle and we have extensive experience in planning and individual scheme implementation. With detailed knowledge of all water-related legislation, we can provide expert witnesses for Public Inquiries, Newton Hearings, criminal prosecutions and pleas in mitigation.
Cascade has unparalleled experience in Water Framework Directive application. Currently, we are supporting and reviewing all WFD pilots for Defra. The company is a recognised expert in the water sector and we are at the forefront of Government and water industry R&D into climate change, water scarcity, water security, catchment modelling and ecosystem impact assessment.