What does your role entail?
It can vary quite a bit, but, in a nutshell, it is ensuring that myself and our offshore team support developers in navigating all parts of the development lifecycle from pre-application, through consenting to post consent compliance. In doing so, it is important to understand the risks and pressures our clients are dealing with and make sure we are providing them with sound advice, which is based on our experience and knowledge, and value.
What does your day typically consist of?
Each day tends to be different, unless it’s in a period of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) chapter/Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) review and approvals. This can mean providing technical support and advice for licence compliance for offshore wind farms; managing deliverables for our clients as part of Round 4 and Scotwind application processes; or managing input from our team of specialists to address regulator or advisor comments ongoing applications/during Development Consent Order (DCO) examinations. There is often a key theme of working in partnership with clients and other stakeholders to achieve the best outcomes for our clients.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I grew up about 100m from the sea, so I have always wanted to work in the marine environment, and I am passionate about renewables. Add to this the varied nature of the projects and people I work with, it’s a very rewarding job. I am lucky enough to be perhaps one of the few who enjoys their work.
How did you get into the role in the first place?
I studied for my BSc Hons in Marine Biology and MSc in Clean Technology at Newcastle University, but my career started in environmental protection at a local authority. Fortunately, the Marine Management Organisation moved to the Newcastle and I was able to get a job as a case manager working in the licensing of Offshore Wind Farms. Almost 10 years later I moved over to the private sector at Natural Power where I am able to apply the regulatory experience and passion for renewables and all things marine.
What is the most interesting project you have worked on and why?
Leading on supporting one of our clients in the Round 4 invitation to tender (ITT) leasing process. This covered environmental constraint and site identification, risk analysis, and site refinement, as well as feeding into Levelised Cost of Energy Modelling. It was great to be involved in an offshore wind farm development at such as early stage and to provide advice, including consideration of ornithological and benthic impacts and the possible requirement and implications of Habitat Regulations 6 (4) Derogations. I can’t say too much more at this stage, other than I hope they are successful in the ITT Stage 2 in 2021.
What is your biggest achievement at work?
There have been a few, but being part of the Natural Power team that went from scoping of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) (we lead on the marine aspects of the AQUIND Interconnector) to DCO application submission in 12 months most be up there.
Any hidden talents?
I have an uncanny knack of knowing the right time without checking my phone/watch. I am known in some circles as Mr Clock!