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CULTURAL HERITAGE


CULTURAL HERITAGE LOOKING BACK TO THE FUTURE


Brandon Mason, Business Development Manager for Maritime Archaeology Ltd, looks at the opportunities and risks afforded by cultural heritage.


The future of the wind industry may be bright. With new international wind developments and South Humber set to play a key role in renewables, it’s an exciting time for the years to come – but what of the impact on our past?


Internationally, policies and guidance on the impact on cultural heritage for wind project developers are often limited to environmental impact assessments (EIA), protection guidance and mitigation strategies. Indeed, at a push, the development and consents process only accounts for around 4% of a wind farms capital costs* so it’s not too surprising that – along with other EIA areas – reaching an agreeable strategy for cultural heritage can be deemed as a quick win.


OBLIGATION OR OPPORTUNITY? Both on land and offshore, a development’s effect on cultural heritage needs to be carefully managed. Wind farms evoke passionate public reactions which, at times, carry the risk of cultural nimbyism, especially at public consultation stages.


Furthermore, beyond archaeological and geophysical assessments, core sampling and other studies involved in EIA reporting, complex (and sometimes expensive) mitigation strategies can leave industry perceiving cultural heritage to be on the opposing side to progress.


UTILISING THE PAST


At Maritime Archaeology Ltd, they believe that cultural heritage is a greatly underused resource beyond planning and consent. For example, beyond identifying the impact on designated and undesignated historic features such as submerged landscapes, studies of environmental conditions on historic vessels can also inform planning decisions for turbine foundations and contribute to coastal process surveys.


Heritage can also be an invaluable tool for developers seeking stakeholder and community buy-in. Statistics and media headlines provide plenty of evidence of people passionate about the historic environment. This is why they always recommend developers engage an archaeologist early on to assist not only in assessment but also to consult on demonstrating responsible development.


NEW APPROACHES FOR FUTURE SOLUTIONS


Some of the most exciting developments for using cultural heritage are in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). As part of an Interreg funded EU project, a study recently sought to use undervalued resources to address data gaps in measuring long term coastal change.


The Arch-Manche project used archaeology, historic art and maps in combination to provide an innovative perspective on long-term coastal impact and a tool-set for coastal managers.


JOINED UP THINKING


In the future, this knowledge is set to go further. The PriME-C project (Partnering for Risk Management and Engagement on the Coast) is joining together the work from nine EU projects to establish current best practices in coastal risk management and engagement across the Channel – Southern North Sea region.


It is highlighting the need to gain a firm understanding of environmental risks, pro-actively plan to adapt to change and encourage local ownership in coastal management.


Therefore it seems that the past can and should play a part in shaping the future of our coastlines - way beyond the limits of just mitigation.


Brandon Mason Business Development Manager Maritime Archaeology Ltd


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*Crown Estate: Guide to an Offshore Wind Farm 2013


FEATURE SPONSOR


58


www.windenergynetwork.co.uk


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