Frodsham Wind Farm is one of England’s largest onshore generating stations, and the largest in the Cheshire region, with an installed capacity of more than 50 MW. Construction of the wind farm began in March 2015 and became fully operational in February 2017.
Scope of works
The Balance of Plant element of work at Frodsham Wind Farm included Cheetham Hill Construction Ltd taking the role of Principal Contractor and to carry out the design and construction of all works required with the exception of the wind turbine supply. The scope of works includes:
- Design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the site civil infrastructure, site access roads, on-site roads, crane hard-standings, drainage as required, substation buildings (two substations; one on the east of the site and one to the west of the site) and foundations
- Design, supply, installation and testing of the turbine foundations
- Design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the site electrical and instrumentation infrastructure
- Design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the site SCADA and communications systems
- Design, supply and installation of the site temporary construction compound
- Reinstatement of the site compound and laydown areas after construction completion
- Compliance with all planning restrictions, site lease requirements and general legislation applicable to the project
- Act in the role of Principal Contractor for the duration of the works and turbine installation, including foundation construction, and commissioning period.
Challenges and achievements
Ecology and Biodiversity
A number of ecological constraints on the site were identified during the planning process and then effectively managed during construction.
Surveys identified that Cell 4 had previously supported a breeding Marsh Harrier population, which is a Schedule 1 listed bird. During the construction phase, two cycles of breeding have passed with the 2015 season leading to two nesting pairs and five juveniles fledging the nests. In 2016 only one pair mated at the site but this led to the production of two offspring.
The constraints involved with working in Cell 4 with the breeding Marsh Harriers during track laying and turbine erection was challenging to the whole construction team in terms of exclusion zones, vehicle noise and speed limits.
Regular visits from both the Client Ecological Clerk of Works and the Construction Ecological Clerk of Works helped to monitor and manage the impact of the works on badgers and water voles.
As part of planning requirements a Habitat Creation Area was developed in Cell 3, in part to improve the existing environment and in part to mitigate the habitat lost in other areas of the site. The construction works required for the Habitat Creation Area have been undertaken and this area will be monitored and managed by a party set up for this purpose with representatives from interested parties in the area. This was a requirement of planning condition 32.
Planning condition 56 required the setting up of a Local Liaison Committee. This committee met regularly during the construction phase and will continue to meet as the wind farm becomes operational.
At the commencement of construction a number of local liaison events were undertaken. These took place at village halls around the construction site and were open to all of the local community, as well as acting as notification for the commencement of construction, they also allowed data to be captured regarding how the Community Benefit Fund could be spent.
In addition to this the site construction team undertook a food bank collection for the Runcorn Food Bank in the run up to Christmas. A massive 372 kg of food was donated by the site and head office staff with donations going to the local YMCA as well as the foodbank. A donation of £250 from head office further backed up the donation.
The site is close to a number of Public Rights of Way. During construction permission was applied for to close these paths, however, instead of undertaking a complete closure traffic management was utilized through the duration of the works to permit access for pedestrians and cyclists during working hours.
Planning condition 55 required the implementation of a local employment and procurement scheme. Detailed information about local suppliers, subcontractors and staff and their proximity to the scheme was kept throughout the construction phase. In addition to this a map showing the location of these to the site was also regularly updated and fed back to the council.
Physical resource use and management
The design of the roads ensured that the impact on the land was kept to a minimum. No spoil was generated through the construction of the roads as they were constructed from layers of geotextiles and stone.
Over 90% of the materials by volume used on the project can be recycled. This includes stone, roads, concrete and steel for the turbines. There is a greywater recycling system in place for the substations, which captures rainwater to be used in the substation toilets.
A Site Waste Management Plan was developed and implemented. There was a target in the CEMP to divert 95% of waste from landfill and ensure effective recycling. At the time of the CEEQUAL assessment the recycling rate was 97%.
How did CEEQUAL influence your project?
Environmental issues, especially ecological issues, were integral to the development of the project from the onset. However, the use of CEEQUAL during the construction phase ensured that this and other environmental issues continued to be important elements of the scheme. It was interesting that there was a clear alignment between the sections of CEEQUAL and issues that were identified and implemented as planning conditions for the scheme. As with all CEEQUAL assessments there were areas where the scheme did not score particularly well, and this learning will be transferred to other future schemes.
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