Ricardo Energy & Environment Planning, EIA and Permitting support


Ricardo Energy & Environment provides unique planning, EIA and permitting support. Our expertise is underpinned by a long track record of delivering specialist planning, EIA and permitting support services.

For many decades, Ricardo and our predecessor businesses Ricardo-AEA and AEA Technology, have been providing leading advice and support on air quality and related topics – covering policy and strategy, environmental assessments, measurement, modelling, exposure studies and public information dissemination. We have managed numerous high-profile environmental programmes and contracts for clients around the world. Our work includes:

Ricardo has recently acquired Cascade Consulting, which now forms a specialist practice within the Ricardo Energy & Environment business. The Cascade practice specialises in environmental consultancy services, water resources and environmental impact assessments, and is underpinned by strong relationships with water companies, government departments and regulators. We are quality mark accredited for the production of Environmental Impact Assessments.


Why choose us?

  • We have the right mix of skills to deliver specialist input to any EIA project, with specific expertise in the most challenging infrastructure projects, including sewage works, waste to energy, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), rail and pipeline developments.
  • Ricardo’s Air Quality & Environment practice provides best-in-class resource capability on air quality. Our unrivalled expertise is delivered by a team of over 100 consultants, scientists and engineers working on air quality, including world leaders in the areas of national air pollution assessment, exposure assessment, chemical modelling, inventory development and public information. We provide expertise in related areas including health risk assessment, and evaluation of the impacts of air quality on nature conservation.
  • Ricardo’s Cascade practice is nationally and internationally recognised for expertise in planning and overseeing complex and sensitive projects. Our skills have been used by a wide range of clients within the public and private sectors including the European Commission, government, water companies and developers.
  • Ricardo’s air quality team has a track record of delivery on the most challenging air quality projects and issues over more than half a decade.
  • Providing creative and innovative solutions for our clients, the Cascade team has successfully delivered high quality support on over 700 environmental assessment projects.
  • We are at our best when we are able to integrate our skills into the design process and so use our expertise to deliver sustainable solutions.
  • You will receive a bespoke service from a team which is focused on your project requirements, balancing experience with technical expertise and experienced project management.
  • We are accredited to the EIA Quality Mark scheme operated by IEMA, which gives you independent assurance of the high standard of our work.
  • We provide immediate access to a pool of 450 experts, with over 50 specialists in EIA and permitting, and in the specialist disciplines required for successful project delivery.
  • We have a track record of over 40 years in environmental consultancy and experience spanning over 100 countries.


Planning and EIA in Ricardo Energy & Environment

We specialise in environmental assessment, which forms a core part of our work. We have a significant track record in environmental assessment at both the strategic and project level, from SEA of Water Resources Management Plans, Drought Plans and Flood Risk Management Strategies, to EIA of complex multi-disciplinary projects in the energy, water and commercial and mixed use development sectors.

We are involved with all stages of the EIA process from pre-application consultations and preparation of Environmental Statements, through Public Inquiry if required, to post-application support on the discharge of planning conditions and implementation of Environmental Management Plans. We have particular experience in multi-consent applications.

As founder members of the IEMA Quality Mark scheme, our expertise in environmental assessment is relied on by clients requiring independent reviews of EIA Scoping Reports and Environmental Statements, and we have prepared best practice guidance on aspects of EIA for IEMA and the Environment Agency.

Our key services for planning and EIA include:

  • Strategic Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Appraisal of plans and strategies. EIA project management and expert Environmental Statement review. Construction environmental management planning for development projects.
  • Air Quality Impact Assessment – in support of planning and permit applications for industrial facilities, infrastructure developments, and traffic-generating development.
  • Air quality measurement – from short-term air quality surveys using low cost techniques to fulfil planning requirements, to the installation of air monitoring stations using state of the art measurement and data analysis techniques.
  • Air quality modelling – developing and using models to enable the effects of new development on air quality to be assessed and taken into account during the design stage.
  • Odour measurement and assessment, with our UKAS accredited olfactometry service. Ricardo Energy & Environment offers a comprehensive odour sampling and accredited olfactometry service to provide quantitative and robust evaluations of odour, and ongoing odour management for industrial process operators and regulators.
  • Water and ecology impact assessments: ecological impact assessment; habitat risk assessment; flood risk assessment; water framework directive assessment.
  • Hydroecology - assessment of ecological impact of changes in the water environment, from water resources, flood risk management, wastewater and inland and coastal development.
  • Surveys, Modelling and Assessment: Ecological (terrestrial and aquatic), hydrological and geomorphological surveys, modelling and expert interpretation.
  • Hydraulic fracturing - comprehensive support for policy makers and regulators.


Our projects

Morrison Construction Ltd: Airquality assessment of biomass plant

Ricardo-AEA carried out siting analyses and detailed studies of the air quality impacts for proposed biomass combustion facilities for new school developments in Scotland. These have been important in securing planning permission for the new developments and addressing concerns expressed by local communities in relation to the potential air quality and health impacts of the proposed biomass plant.

Interserve: Permit support

Ricardo-AEA worked with Wardell Armstrong and Viridor to carry out detailed air quality and health risk assessments in support of planning and permit applications for the proposed Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (see http://www.viridor.co.uk/our-developments/glasgow-rrec/). We have gone on to provide support to Interserve to discharge specific permit conditions during the construction phase of the facility. This work required an understanding of the engineering aspects of the facility combined with expertise in air quality modelling and production of a focused report which addressed the specific terms of the permit condition to SEPA’s satisfaction.

This project builds on our extensive track record of supporting planning and evaluation of waste thermal treatment projects.

Stansted Airport Ltd: Air monitoring in fulfilment of Section 106 obligations

Stansted Airport Ltd has obligations under the section 106 UK planning regime to undertake assessments of air quality and possible impacts in relation to the airport activities. Ricardo-AEA manages the air quality monitoring operations at Stansted Airport. This work includes a mixture of automatic and passive air quality measurements.

The project deliverables are quarterly summary reports and a detailed annual report. All data requires thorough data ratification and validation checks before inclusion in the report deliverables. The site monitoring equipment is checked biannually by Ricardo Energy & Environment, referred to as onsite quality control audits.

The site equipment is serviced by a subcontracted equipment support unit following each audit. Monthly site equipment calibrations and diffusion tube deployment is all carried out by Ricardo Energy & Environment.

Norfolk County Council: Planning support and expert witness at planning inquiry into proposed waste to energy facility

Cory Wheelabrator submitted a planning application for a proposed “power and recycling centre” at the Willows Business Park, Saddlebow Industrial Area, near King’s Lynn. Norfolk County Council commissioned Ricardo-AEA to provide specialist support on air quality, health and nature conservation throughout the planning process.

Ricardo-AEA worked with Norfolk County Council and the applicant to clarify and improve the planning application. We supported the Planning Officers’ report to the Council’s development control committee, and provided input in person at the planning committee hearing. Ricardo-AEA’s experts, Mark Broomfield (air quality and health) and Richard Smithers (nature conservation) went on to provide evidence at the subsequent public inquiry as independent expert witnesses.

Norfolk County Council valued Ricardo-AEA’s impartial, expert input, which proved key to their assessment. Nick Palmer, Principal Planner, Norfolk County Council commented:

“Mark Broomfield and Richard Smithers provided valuable input throughout the planning application process and the subsequent inquiry. Their evidence on air quality, health and impact on habitats formed a key part of the assessment and was presented in an impartial and balanced way."

Bernard Matthews: Air quality assessment of poultry farm in fulfilment of permit conditions

Bernard Matthews Ltd manages a number of turkey farms in Norfolk and further afield from its operational centre at Great Witchingham. It is important to ensure that these poultry farms operate without adversely affecting sensitive wildlife close to the farms, and this forms a key part of the environmental permitting process for these intensive poultry units. Ricardo-AEA carried out a detailed dispersion modelling study to analyse the impact of ammonia emissions from two farms on a nearby designated habitat site which formed part of the Norfolk Valley Fens Special Area of Conservation. This study enabled an assessment of impacts to be made, and options for refining the assessment and reducing the impact of ammonia emissions to be explored, in fulfilment of the site permit conditions.

Richmond upon Thames College, London: RUTC Redevelopment EIA

Cascade Consulting has been working with Richmond upon Thames College (RUTC) and London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Council to consider the redevelopment of their College building in Twickenham. The development offers the opportunity to renew the College by introducing a new Science and Technology Centre and new secondary school into the Borough and upgrade the sports facilities and pitches. The potential to completely redevelop the site provides RUTC with an opportunity to create a flagship regional centre of excellence, as well as maintaining its strong commitment to the local community.

Working alongside a range of contractors, Cascade was commissioned to produce the Environmental Statement on behalf of RUTC. In accordance with the EIA Regulations, the ES presents an assessment of the likely significant environmental effects of the project during demolition, construction and operation. Although the design life of the buildings will be approximately 30 years, the buildings will be designed so that they can be adapted for future uses or extended to meet future demand. Where significant adverse effects on the environment are identified, the ES sets out mitigation measures to prevent, reduce and, where possible, offset these effects.

Thames Water Utilities: Deephams Sewage Treatment Works Quality Upgrade EIA

Deephams Sewage Treatment Works is Thames Water’s fourth largest sewage works and lies within the London Borough of Enfield in North London. Development of the works is required to allow the site to meet a new permit standard set by the Environment Agency for treated effluent discharged by the facility. Construction of the development is planned in phases to allow the current works to remain operational and aims to be fully completed in 2018. The works will operate to the new environmental permit by March 2017.

Cascade Consulting prepared the Environmental Statement submitted with the planning application, along with managing a multidisciplinary team, with over 10 specialist sub-consultants and a budget of over £500,000.  Cascade has also been working on post application support for the Deephams Sewage Works Upgrade. This includes support during the determination of the planning application, discharge of planning conditions, and general support to the contractor.

Cascade has also prepared an Environmental Impact Assessment screening opinion in 2015 for a further development at Deephams Sewage Works to install a thermal hydrolysis process to the sludge digestion.  This demonstrated that EIA was not required for the development and Cascade is now preparing environmental reports to accompany a planning application for the development.

States of Jersey: Bellozanne Sewage Treatment Works Outline PA and EIA Roadmap

Cascade Consulting was commissioned by Jersey’s Transport and Technical Services (TTS) Department to develop an EIA road map in relation to the proposed Outline Planning Application for the Bellozanne STW renewal.

The project included a review of previous work undertaken in Bellozanne Valley to identify potential sensitive receptors and baseline data gaps, and identification of possible impact sources and pathways. This information was reviewed against the current programme for the Bellozanne renewal, to enable a roadmap for EIA pre-scoping, scoping and EIS preparation to be prepared. Information was subsequently presented to the STW renewal project manager, and as a result a proposal to complete the EIA scoping stage was prepared. Following on from the creation of an EIA roadmap, TTS appointed Cascade Consulting to undertake EIA Scoping for the Bellozanne STW Renewal Outline Planning Application. This included preparation of an EIA scoping matrix, consultation and planning review.

Cascade was subsequently appointed to prepare the EIS for submission with an outline planning application for the STW renewal which included assessment of ten environmental topics. The assessment work utilised in-house technical specialist as well as six further subcontracted specialists. A change in strategy for procurement of the design and build contractor resulted in the outline submission being withheld, and the detailed design process is currently underway. Cascade has been retained to revise the EIS for submission at the detailed planning stage. Cascade has also recently prepared Environmental Impact Assessment screening opinions for two further elements of the STW upgrade (hillside excavation and clinical waste inclinator demolition), the responses to which are pending.

Please contact us for further information on the Planning, EIA and Permitting support offered by Ricardo Energy & Environment.


Dr Mark Broomfield
Ricardo Energy & Environment – Air Quality and Environment practice
Air quality, odour & health risk
•    mark.broomfield@ricardo.com
•    01235 753493 / 07815 682083



Dr Phil Aldous
Ricardo Energy & Environment – Cascade practice
Water resources, water quality, ecology & EIA
•    phil.aldous@ricardo.com
•    0117 954 4825 / 07703 673883