Soil and peat survey data inform a range of developments and addresses a number of agricultural, horticultural and development related issues.
Surveys include soil resource and peat surveys; soil health assessments; validation and verification of restoration; buried infrastructure asset protection; soil erosion assessments; soil quality assessments (to prove the quality of soil or waste-derived soil forming material prior to import, or the quality of the existing on-site resource). Surveys are conducted using manual sampling techniques resulting in minimal disturbance.
Early consideration of soils in the development process can streamline the planning application process and reduce planning, design and construction costs.
Planning Conditions often require that Soil/Peat Management Plans (SMP/PMP) are produced prior to development works commencing. However, there is an increasing trend for outline plans to be required pre-consent.
Management plans can be a powerful tool in maximising the reuse of existing on-site resource and ensuring its suitability for reuse in the redevelopment; and can deliver significant savings by solving or avoiding potential problems earlier in the development process. They provide site specific methodologies and mitigation for the handling, storage and restoration (reinstatement) of soil/peat resources; and detail aftercare requirements, ensuring that all works are in line with policy, best practice and planning condition requirements.
The location of development on land of lower quality in preference to land of higher quality; and the reinstatement of temporarily disturbed land its prior quality/condition, are accepted drivers of planning policy. Agricultural land quality is therefore used to inform the iterative design and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, as well as construction methodologies through Soil Management Plans.
Wardell Armstrong routinely assess land quality using Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) and Land Capability Classification for Agriculture/Forestry (LCCA/LCCF). These typically combine a detailed review of available soils and land quality data, followed by soil survey to verify existing detailed data or accurately define land quality where no detailed data exist.
Our highly experienced team can advise on all aspects of land restoration.
Wardell Armstrong have been instrumental in the design of restoration/improvement plans for large areas of degraded natural peatland, and the creation of semi-natural peatland habitat; and have considerable experience in peat-turf translocation.
We also routinely design restoration schemes using site-won soils, imported soils or waste-derived soil-forming materials. We have worked with energy companies on numerous soil reinstatement schemes to assure the integrity of buried assets.
We undertake restoration verification assessments; and provide practical site-specific remediation advice.
We prepare Environmental Permits (bespoke and standard) for landspreading; applications for deployment under those permits; and agricultural and ecological benefit statements.
Wardell Armstrong has a wide range of experience and expertise in peatland management and assessment.
We undertake preliminary (peat depth) and detailed (peat resource) surveys, develop constraints mapping and through the ‘mitigation through design’ process inform masterplanning and construction techniques to avoid or minimise impacts to peat resources.
We prepare detailed survey and Impact Assessment reports, Peat Management Plans, Groundwater-Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems (GDTE) assessments and Peat Landslide Hazard Risk Assessment (PLHRA).
Disturbing peatland can lead to carbon emissions. We routinely determine the scale of development-caused emissions and the carbon ‘payback time’ of the development using carbon balance assessment.