Our environment is our business
Transformative and sustainable development is about protecting and enhancing the things we value as a society – preventing the bad stuff and promoting the good stuff. Our environmental specialists help shape new infrastructure and development to fit in: to protect the resources of land, air, water and nature, and the lives and cultures of the people that live and work in and around it. As part of WSP’s Future Ready vision, we help our clients see the future more clearly by creating developments that foster pride in the direct and wider benefits they return to people and the environment.
Working through consent
The strategic benefits and sustainable growth that should be delivered by new infrastructure and built development can seem intangible for many. Disruptive construction and environmental degradation can be very real risks. Our involvement at all stages of the project lifecycle helps stakeholders understand these issues and tackle them through mitigation and aspiration in design and implementation.
We work mainly through our support at each stage of the consenting process - through inception, design, planning, construction and operation - and for development of all sizes and sectors. We assess the social and environmental risks and impacts of strategies and projects, devise solutions that both address these impacts and secure wider gains, and put in place measures to effect and track their implementation.
Building back greener
Some of the most critical decisions on a development project are made during the earliest phases, before design work has started in anger. Advice on key environmental constraints and opportunities helps developers avoid pitfalls long before they have opened. Our environmental managers appreciate the long-term benefits to development that come from early constraints analysis and stakeholder engagement. Their applied experience supported by a range of analytical tools gives a project a solid launchpad. Our services include constraints assessment (GIS), options appraisal, WebTAG analysis, coordination of specialist support.
As a development proposal takes shape, we provide our clients with a more detailed picture of potential challenges as they navigate the consenting process, and equally of the opportunities to build in wider environmental gains. Drawing on the skills across WSP’s Earth and Environment Group, we manage the assessment of potential environmental impacts by focusing on key effects and developing mitigation options, all to achieve a better fit for the new development. For certain qualifying developments, this service may be formalised through statutory assessment, such as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). We also undertake directly other related socio assessments, including Health Impact Assessment (HIA), equalities impact (diversity) assessment (EqIA), and socio-economic studies.
As one of the world’s largest environmental consultancies, we have experts in environmental areas ranging from ecology, landscape, acoustics, water, ground risk as well as specialists in infrastructure planning, and a range of other sustainability support services including ecosystem services and carbon footprinting.
Future Ready EIA
The UK Government is encouraging more streamlined infrastructure planning. The national plan for growth - building back better, greener and faster – promotes a measured urgency for investments in infrastructure that will help to reshape and strengthen the economy, but in a way that delivers improvements to the natural environment and the health of the planet.
Responding to the government challenge to make environmental assessment a simpler and quicker process that secures better outcomes for the environment, Future-Ready EIA is WSP’s initiative to reshape the way we do EIA.
Future Ready EIA will make EIA (and other related assessment processes):
- more effective for our clients in delivering sustainable development,
- more helpful for decision makers and other stakeholders in crystallising salient information,
- more efficient and professionally rewarding for those of us who do it.
The hard work of securing powers will quickly unravel without systems to secure the commitments inherent with the consent. We help implement sustainable designs and environmental mitigation through mechanisms including environmental management plans and method statements, nature conservation permits, and specific consents for discharges of water, effluent or noise. We provide experienced staff to oversee construction and provide assurance that protective measures are correctly applied, and that works comply with relevant laws and conditions.
Our skill set is grounded in the management of environmental and social impacts from new infrastructure. Coming from a range of backgrounds, our team works closely with others in our Earth and Environment group, and frequently alongside engineers, planners, lawyers, regulators and other players in infrastructure development, across every sector. Our appreciation of the sensitivities associated with development and land use change, and our understanding of the varied ways these can affect (for both good and ill) environmental resources, heritage assets, social health and wellbeing, and global sustainability is key to how we operate and the services we provide.