Published On: Wednesday 08 November 2023 17:04

Island Onshore Windfarm programme - Surveys

8 November 2023                                                 

Island Onshore Windfarm programme - Surveys

Surveys are to commence to support the Environmental Impact Assessment programme for an Onshore Windfarm for the Island.

These surveys have been commissioned by Manx Utilities’ Consultants Wardell Armstrong.  The surveys are expected to take place in the latter half of November and early December.  Some are weather dependent and therefore it is not possible to be date-specific

Castletown Bay - Bathymetric survey:

Bathymetric surveys are surveys of features present underwater, aiming to map the details of the terrain and feed into the Marine Transport element of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Subject to licencing approvals, this will involve scanning the seabed utilising a shallow boat together with a walked topographical survey for areas where the boat cannot reach due to it being too shallow.  This work will aid the design and specification of a landing craft, in the event one should be needed to bring turbines ashore.  It does not relate to construction of a landing platform, which has been ruled out.

The walked aspect of the survey will record the elevations, slopes and angles of the beach utilising standard survey equipment and GPS.

Figure 1: Example of Survey Vessel

Figure 2: Survey Location - Castletown Beach

Intertidal survey:

Intertidal surveys involve a team of two surveyors walking on the intertidal areas to collect samples of sand etc with a hand-held sediment corer device.  The information gathered for this element of the survey work informs the Marine Preliminary Ecological appraisal, should a beach landing be required at Castletown.

A permit is required for this survey work. 

Figure 3: Example of sediment corer

Samples will be taken from upper, mid and lower levels as shown below, providing weather conditions allow:

Figure 4: intertidal survey area

Preliminary Ecological Appraisal:

A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal will be undertaken to record and map broad habitat types and dominant plant species along the two potential routes to Earystane & Scard (from Douglas Port and Castletown Beach).  This information will be included in the Environmental Impact Assessment.

Work will involve surveyors walking the transport routes.

Figure 5: Transport routes

Preliminary Site Investigation – Earystane & Scard:

Preliminary site investigation work will commence at the Earystane & Scard site to obtain samples for laboratory testing of ground conditions which will feed into the Environmental Impact Assessment.  Contractors will utilise a small sample drilling rig (about the size of a quadbike) to minimise any impact.

Samples are collected along the access routes and as close to intended turbine locations as possible.

Figure 6: Example of a small sampling rig

Work is currently scheduled to commence in late November for a duration of three weeks between the hours of 9am and 4pm during weekdays. This may move back to early 2024 depending on site conditions.

Acoustic survey – Earystane & Scard:

Noise emissions data survey equipment has been put in place previously and will be removed by 10 November 2023 as this work has been completed.

Topographical survey:

A topographical survey of roads and particular street furniture will be undertaken via drone where possible or via hand-held GPS inspection where tree cover limits drone visibility.  This survey will help to inform the transport routes aspect of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

The surveys will involve specialised drones and surveying GPS equipment, as appropriate. Examples being:

Figure 7: Example of Drones used for surveying

The information will be collected utilising a route from both Douglas to Earystane & Scard and Castletown to Earystane & Scard:


Work has already commenced and is expected to be completed by 24 November.  The relevant permissions have been granted, particularly in relation to drone work in and around Ronaldsway.