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Abberton

Essex

Essex and Suffolk Water

RPS are providing GIS services to support Essex and Suffolk Water as they raise the water level at Abberton Reservoir by three meters.

The reservoir is SPA classified on account of the internationally important number of wildfowl using it. Detailed ecological studies, leading to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), were therefore required in order to gain approval for development.

As part of the EIA the spatial distribution and migratory/feeding patterns of wildfowl populations were correlated with multiple factors, e.g. topography, reservoir conditions and drawdown. Predictive models where then created using the ArcGIS software and used to evaluate the impacts of the proposed reservoir design on wildfowl populations. The results where fed back into the design and planning processes, informing development decisions.

The success of this project was facilitated by the tight integration between our different divisions and use of state of the art technology. Our GIS team and software engineers developed handheld computer devices, which take advantage of GPS location services, and utilise "in house" software for the efficient and validated collection of ecology data. The system expedites the transition from field collected data to office based analysis and presentation. This technology significantly improves both the accuracy and efficiency in undertaking field surveys and is an example of how our tightly integrated approach to ecological projects allows us to deliver results quickly and efficiently.

Due to RPS involvement, the project was consented for development without having to go to Public Inquiry.

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