2009: A Typically Busy Year for Aquatera

September 15th 2009

Aquatera's MD, Dr Gareth Davies, provides an insight into a typical year at the leading environmental consultancy…

A question I am often asked is "What is it that you actually do at Aquatera?"

The answer is not particularly simple. Aquatera was established in 2000 to provide a wide range of ground breaking environmental services and products. For us the environment means more than flora and fauna. It includes people, communities, businesses, culture and heritage. We look at how these different parts of the whole environment could be affected by, or could influence, decisions, actions and activities. We provide this service to individuals, businesses, multinational companies, government agencies, local and national governments. We undertake this work locally in Orkney, across the UK and increasingly overseas. 

"Fine, but what does that mean in practice?" – I hear you ask. 

Well, taking this year as an example:

  • In January we held an event in Stromness looking at the opportunities offered by fishing heritage for fishing communities
  • In February two of us flew to Oregon in the USA where we won a contract to predict the possible long term effects of wave energy
  • In March we helped undertake marine survey work to find suitable wave and tidal energy sites around Orkney
  • In April we started 6 months of surveying of bird movements on Hoy
  • In May we assisted in the preparations for 7 bids to the Crown Estate leasing round for marine energy
  • In June we guided site restoration work at the Hobbister peat cutting site for Highland Park whisky
  • In July we went to Foula in Shetland as part of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a mini wind farm cluster on the island
  • In August we helped formulate concepts for the future development of a marine service base in Scapa Flow at Lyness
  • In September we will complete a scoping report for a new wave farm project off the Western Isles of Scotland
  • In October we will continue helping the Taiwan choose a suitable wave energy technology for their waters, part of a 3 year contract
  • In November we will be holding a workshop as part of a Scottish government project to prioritise possible impacts from marine energy schemes
  • And finally, in December, as well as attending the prestigious Green Energy Awards, we will also deliver the final cumulative effects framework for Oregon, USA, work that we kicked off in February

This account provides a small insight into the 50 projects, 150 enquiries, 100 external meetings and 60 trips that somehow 12 of us manage to undertake in a year. 

So why do we do it? 

It is because we care passionately about what we do. The needs of the world and the community grow ever more critical. The ways in which we have all lived in the last 100 years will not be repeated in the next 100. Radical change will happen and if Orkney and other similar communities worldwide adapt to these changes, as they have done many times in the past, they will maintain themselves and even thrive. The one thing that is for sure is that the status quo is not sustainable. At Aquatera we will continue to seek ways that are!

Gareth Davies, 15th September 2009