Environmental Support Services for Ports, Harbours and Marinas

Ecospan Environmental


Ecospan Environmental Ltd has a proven track record in providing a range of services to ports, harbours and marinas throughout the UK.  As a company we offer a single point of contact able to provide cost effective Environmental consultancy and support.  This includes surveys for new infrastructure/development projects, dredging and other activities required by Ports, Harbours and Marinas.  Our team are experienced in providing a range of consultancy services for all phases and sizes of project.  These range from scoping/feasibility studies and Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIA) through to simple dredge licensing applications (marine licence (previously FEPA)).  Ecospan Environmental has established relationships with the UK regulators which makes us well placed to ensure that work designed and undertaken by us will meet their requirements.

Survey and Data Collection Capabilities

Ecospan Environmental Ltd has in-house survey capabilities which can complete most fieldwork required by Ports, Harbours and Marinas.  These include:

Sediment sampling using a vibracorer, Van veen grab, Day grab or inter-tidal sediment cores.

Bathymetric surveys (including multibeam survey).

Hydrographic surveys including dredge plume monitoring.

Ecological assessments including benthic, epibenthic and fisheries studies/surveys. Protected habitats and species surveys (e.g. seagrass, stalked jellyfish and tentacled lagoon worm)

Ecological scientific diving surveys.

Hydrodynamic modelling

Vibracoring (Vibrocoring)

In response to an increasing demand for deep sediment cores in support of marine licences for dredging operations and coastal development projects, Ecospan Environmental has invested in a small vibracorer.  The vibracorer is a compact unit that was purpose designed for the collection of sediment cores from smaller vessels (in waters of up to 20 m deep); consequently it can be deployed at a fraction of the cost of most other similar sampling methods.  This can be used to obtain sediment cores up to 4 meters in length.

Bathymetric surveys of Ports and Harbours

Ecospan Environmental Ltd. has the capability to undertake bathymetric surveys using single or multibeam sonar.  Our vessels can be mobilised to any location in the UK within 24 hours allowing us to offer cost effective bathymetric surveys even when required at short notice.  Surveys can be complete in line with UKHO guidance to meet all accuracy specifications including special order.  We have completed numerous bathymetric surveys for routine monitoring and in support of dredging projects as well as other applications in recent years (e.g. hydrodynamic modelling of outfalls). Clients have included: HMNB Devonport, harbour authorities, Natural England, the Environment Agency, major multinational oil companies, power stations and numerous chemical/pharmaceutical companies. These projects have been completed in rivers, harbours, estuaries and near shore locations throughout the UK and overseas.

Hydrodynamic modelling

Ecospan Environmental staff have over thirty five years of experience in full 3-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling for estuaries, coastal areas and rivers (as well as lakes and canals).  Modelling enables environmental risks to be identified in advance of project commencement and allows for targeted monitoring or fieldwork if required.  This can reduce the overall costs for the harbour authorities especially where regular maintenance dredging is undertaken.

For environmental monitoring of dredging the modelling enables sediment and/or contaminant plume extent, dispersion and deposition to be the predicted, and can incorporate varying tidal conditions, salinity stratification, temperature effects and the influence of winds from varying directions.  This technique can be particularly useful within water injection dredging projects where it can be used to predict dispersion and deposition at different states of the tide, and develop mitigation strategies to protect nearby sensitive habitats and species during dredging projects (e.g. seagrass beds and reef habitats).

Hydrodynamic and water quality models can also be built to simulate the movement and dispersion of sediments both during and after construction of proposed harbour developments or coastal defence schemes.  Used in this way modelling can be used to identify the most effective infrastructure solutions balanced against potential environmental impacts.


Recent Examples of Projects Undertaken in Relation to Ports, Harbours and Marinas

A list of recent projects completed is presented below:





Harbour Authority Environmental monitoring and ecological impact assessment of sensitive habitats and species in the Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary.  This multi-disciplinary project included modelling the sediment plumes, contaminant analysis and pre and post dredge monitoring.  Survey methods used included diving on the seagrass beds and sensitive habitats, ADCP, drogue tracking and turbidity monitoring. Salcombe – Kingsbridge Estuary
Ports and Infrastructure Consultants IHO special order multibeam bathymetric survey for QHM of the Naval dredge boxes in Devonport for routine monitoring pre dredging. Devonport
District Council Environmental monitoring and ecological impact assessment of sensitive habitats in support of their water injection dredging activities.  Assessment of tidal flows and bathymetric surveys to determine accumulation and movement of dredge materials. Ramsgate
Dredging contractor Ecological monitoring of a dredging project. This included monitoring the extent and magnitude of the turbidity plume and monitoring its effects on protected species.  Specifically this addressed the stalked jellyfish (UK BAP species) and required periodic assessments of the stalked jellyfish populations in littoral pools close to the dredging site and at a reference area.  Sampling of sediment to depths of three meters for contamination assessment. Penzance
Marine Services Consultancy Multibeam bathymetric survey undertaken to determine whether any changes in the seabed topography had occurred following the establishment of a new marina in the area. Bridgend
MoD Intertidal and subtidal habitat assessment to establish a baseline from which the potential impacts from a proposed MoD landing craft co-location project were determined.  The proposed development site was located adjacent to a SPA and within Plymouth Sound and Estuaries SAC, and also had the potential to affect a number of BAP priority habitats and species. Tamar Estuary
Consultancy As part of the assessment of a proposed coastal defence scheme, a hydrodynamic and water quality model was built to predict the effects of the construction of a submerged breakwater and nourishment of a beach area.  The model was used to simulate the movement and dispersion of sediments both during and after construction, and also to predict the effects of uncontrolled pollutant releases following the proposed works. Marsalform Bay, Malta
Harbour authority Pre and post dredging surveys of the inner outer harbour and approach channels.  Collection of Acoustic Doppler Current Profile (ACDP) data and modelling in support of dredging operations. Ramsgate Harbour
Harbour Authority Pre-dredge bathymetric survey of Batson creek, Lincombe boat yard approaches and the Kingsbridge basin using Multibeam sonar. Salcombe – Kingsbridge Estuary
Harbour Authority Pre-dredge Bathymetric survey for the Dartmouth Harbour Authority Dartmouth
Consultants and Harbour authorities. Vibrocoring of seabed sediments for contaminant analysis in support of a marine license for dredging. At numerous locations including: Belfast, Yarmouth, Norfolk, Newhaven, Sussex, Fleetwood, and Lancashire.
Developer Provision of an Environmental Statement in respect of a proposed coastal hotel development which satisfied the requirements for an EIA under Schedule II of the Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations 2011. North Devon
Developer Intertidal habitat mapping and ecological assessment to determine the potential impacts of a development proposal on sensitive and protected habitats and species. The potential impact of both the construction and operational phases upon the SAC, SPA and UK BAP Priority habitats/species was determined.  Recommendations were made for mitigation. Drake’s Island, Plymouth Sound
Natural England Bathymetric survey of seagrass beds within Plymouth Sound and Estuaries as part of a condition assessment of the SAC. Plymouth
Pharmaceutical Company Initial dilution and dye dispersion study on a shallow tidal discharge. Morecambe Bay
Dredging Co Bathymetric surveys and sediment plume monitoring as part of a re-development project. Plymouth
NERC – Plymouth Marine Laboratory Moving current profiling with an ADCP alongside monitoring conductivity, temperature, DO & depth profiles along a 10Km section of the Tamar Estuary. Tamar
Dredging company Prediction of sediment deposition resulting from dredging in the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary. Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary
Architect Marine and terrestrial ecological impact assessment to accompany a planning application for the construction of boathouses. Kingsbridge
Architect Phase I Intertidal Survey for the proposed construction of a jetty required as part of an application for a Marine Licence under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Dartmouth
Agrochemical Company Collection of intertidal and subtidal sediments and estuarine waters using a hovercraft and work vessel for the assessment of contaminants. Firth of Forth
Consultant Sediment sampling for contaminants to 3 m to CEFAS specifications using a vibrocorer in support of a dredging project. Penzance
Dredging Company Monitoring of water quality (turbidity and dissolved oxygen) during maerl translocation trials in Falmouth Falmouth
Marina Consultants Vibrocoring of seabed sediments to 2m for contaminant analysis in support of a marine license for dredging. Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton Water
Dredging Company Pre and post dredge bathymetric survey and turbidity monitoring of dredging operations. Plymouth
Harbour Authority Pre dredging sediment sampling using the vibrocore for sediment contamination assessment. Dartmouth
Consultant Bathymetric survey and sediment core sampling for contamination analysis prior to removal of a weir. River Aire