River Thames Scheme Development Consent Order (DCO)
What was the challenge?
The River Thames Scheme Development Consent Order (DCO) is a climate resilience flood alleviation scheme, which aims to reduce the impacts of future changes and intensified weather patterns on the community in the region of Surrey, UK. The Temple team, working alongside Binnies, is delivering the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), contributing to various chapters including Climatic Factors, Noise & Vibrations, Air Quality, Health, and Populations. As well as delivering the EIA, the team revisited the pre-existing baseline from 2018, when the project was first started and worked together with Binnies and other consultants to establish a new baseline and collaboratively deliver the EIA.
What was our solution?
Temple’s expert approach delivered the EIA and established the new baseline for the assessment based on the updates to the scheme. The team has been heavily involved in collaborating with the other disciplines in order to provide a holistic approach to the assessment. The Climate Change team has also been involved in discussions and inputs to the project’s Carbon Management Plan (CMP), providing an expert opinion to ensure the project delivers beyond the expected carbon reduction strategies. The Air Quality team has worked on the scoping report to agree to a method of assessing potential impacts the scheme may have on local air quality and odour during both the construction and operational phases of the development and will provide a full detailed air quality assessment in due course. This will involve collaborating closely with other disciplines, undertaking detailed modelling work, and contributing to the Environmental Action Plan, etc. to ensure the scheme minimises its impact on air quality. The Noise and Vibration team carried out a large baseline data collection exercise in 2018 involving surveys at around 30 locations across the scheme. This involved consultation with local authorities to gather their feedback on survey locations and assessment methodology.
What was the conclusion?
Through our collaborative approach with the wider internal and external EIA team and our strong stakeholder engagement, were working towards a holistic and concise assessment. We have ensured that topics work together to identify impacts and appropriate mitigation strategies which will benefit the project as a whole, as well as the wider community in Surrey, and deliver an innovative, new structure to adapt to future climate change events for the local area. Our experience assessing construction noise from large infrastructure projects has been valuable to help efficiently scope and coordinate the large baseline noise survey exercise as well as provide appropriate methodologies for proportionate assessment.
Project highlights include:
- Updating three weirs to increase the amount of water able to flow through – Sunbury, Molesey, and Teddington
- The inclusion of five new gates at Teddington weir, two extra gates replacing a currently fixed weir at Molesey, and three extra gates built on lock island at Sunbury weir
- Lowering the riverbed downstream from Desborough Cut to allow more water to pass through, reducing the amount that enters the floodplain
- New areas of public green space, as well as new footpaths and cycleways
- The introduction of new wetlands along the river and new channel sections to attract biodiversity
- The maximisation of habitat creation