Services: Planning & Environmental Impact

We can help to swiftly progress your project over the technical hurdles of the planning process and provide mitigation to technical barriers where needed.

Our measurement team can validate the parameters affecting your project, while our simulation team can test your technology in a simulated environment to ensure its viability and compliance with planning restrictions. We can then identify the most technically and commercially beneficial way forward for your project.

We can provide Environmental Statements (ES), Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs and wind microclimate reports as well as noise and vibration impact assessments to support planning applications, property transactions and insurance for property developers, planning consultants, architects, lawyers and environmental consultants. We can also provide third-party technical review as part of your process and documentation due diligence.

We often offer Environmental Impact Assessment support for the deployment of renewables on land or at sea, both above and below the water. This includes air-borne and underwater noise related to construction, maintenance and operation of energy convertor systems and coastal infrastructure.

Our team sits on numerous ISO and British Standard Committees, and we have a proven track record of completing projects to the highest professional standards. We are up to date with current standards requirements and forthcoming changes that might affect your project later down the line.

Should your project have a legal element, our experienced team members can act as expert witnesses and testify in public inquiries.

Although we are happy to help at any stage of the planning process, the earlier we are involved the more effective we can be.

Talk to us about your project.

Planning & Environmental Impact Specialisms

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process by which the potential beneficial and adverse environmental impacts of a proposed development are determined. An Environmental Statement (ES) is a collection of all the technical EIA’s such as flood risk, sunshine, noise & wind. XI Engineering have been working on producing technical EIA documents as well as generating and reviewing ES chapters.

Normally the applicant will be required to perform analysis of the baseline conditions and then through predictive modelling, estimate the likely effects from the completion of the proposed development. Xi have been working on noise and vibration as well as wind microclimate EIA analysis and ES chapter reviews. Xi are proud to have been involved in the ES reviews of many large-scale developments in the London area as well as numerous smaller developments throughout the country. Xi model underwater noise propagation to determine the effects of noise related to surface vessels, submarines, foundation piling and cable laying.

Humans deal with noise and vibration in our daily lives, however is it important to consider the impact that a new development will have on the surrounding environment as well as the effect the environment will have on the new development.

Noise and vibration are common factors involved in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA’s) and planning conditions. Humans deal with noise and vibration in our daily lives, however is it important to consider the impact that a new development will have on the surrounding environment as well as the effect the environment will have on the new development.

When considering any demolition and construction site activities it important to know the nearby Noise Sensitive Premises (NSPs) and the acceptable levels of noise and vibration they can be subject to without causing adverse impact. Predictive acoustic modelling can be used to determine what acoustic treatments may be required to allow the site activities to take place without breaching the required levels at the NSPs.

When designing a new development and selecting the location it is also important to quantify the impact that the existing environment will have on the new proposed development. For example, when placing a hospital which is likely to have people resting in bed it is not a good idea to place the hospital next to a factory or any premises which is likely to produce large volumes of noise.

Xi are a leading engineering consultancy and can provide expert advice and due diligence on a wide variety of technologies and projects.

In certain situations when designing and developing solutions to new projects or products, it is important to obtain third-party opinion and verification. This procedure not only gives the design team a way to ensure their product satisfies the necessary requirements but it may be necessary to have an independent verification for legal purposes.

Xi are a leading consultancy firm in noise and vibration assessments and can provide expert advice and verification in a wide variety of industries. From small electronic devices to multi-story buildings, we can make sure our clients’ ideas fulfil the necessary standards of quality to surpass not only legal requirements but also our client’s high expectations.

To perform such verifications our team of engineers can perform accurate measurements to provide empirical data that will then be analysed using cutting edge analysis tools. This will provide information for an accurate and realistic independent verification.

Xi’s team also provide support and design verification through simulation. The primary modelling tool used is COMSOL Multiphysics for which the team is internationally recognised as certified consultants. Design verification and support through simulation offers a cost-effective and quick method to solve complex dynamic problems that would otherwise involve a considerable amount of time and resources.

When looking at new developments it is always important to consider the environmental impact that the building might have on the surrounding area. When looking at developments in busy cities one of the important factors is pedestrian comfort and safety as a result of the change in wind microclimate.

Wind Microclimate

Changes to the built environment, from building new structures, to removing existing buildings, can have a significant impact on the local microclimate and conditions experienced by the residents and users of those spaces. One of the major impacts caused by changes to the built environment is the effect on local wind conditions. The introduction or removal of a large structure can have substantial, and even surprising changes, on the wind speed and direction. When considering the wind microclimate, the massing and locations of the buildings relative to the wind conditions at the site will determine the level of impact that wind will have on and around the proposed development. The common industry standard analysis is to compare the calculated wind levels against the Lawson Comfort Criteria for pedestrian comfort and safety, which will give an indication to any mitigation measures which may be required at the proposed development.

Wind Microclimate Specialists

By using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling our engineers provide accurate models which analyse how the wind will affect a space. We assist in modelling real-life spaces that are suitable for their intended design use and above all, are safe for all those using the area. Where a tall or large development takes place, it is common for local authorities to require a wind microclimate assessment to be submitted as part of the planning application process. Xi Engineering helps at all stages of the design process from concept through to the planning stage and provides input to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).

Wind Microclimate as part of the planning application process – environmental chapters

In submitting a planning application, it is common to include wind microclimate assessment chapter as part of the wider Environmental Statement. Our wind microclimate modelling team are experts in producing the wind microclimate chapter along with the associated technical summary. We also help to advise the architects and project design team regarding mitigation where it is required, providing simulations to support any recommendations.

Wind Microclimate Assessment

Whilst there is some variation depending on the local authority, the basic requirements of all assessments are to ensure the comfort and safety of those in and around the new development. As well as assessing whether wind conditions are suitable for a given environment and intended usage for a space, the assessments will also look to evaluate whether a space is safe, particularly for vulnerable users. Where mitigation is required to resolve unfavourable wind conditions, Xi’s Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling approach can quickly and efficiently be used to test changes to development layout and environment feeding back quickly to the project architects and designers.
Our assessment includes:

  • Combining local wind statistics with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations to assess the wind speeds at pedestrian level.
  • Comparing statistical wind speeds against the Lawson wind comfort criteria to determine the effect on pedestrians.
  • Assessing the effectiveness of possible mitigations and suggesting solutions
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Wind Modelling

When resolving a wind microclimate assessment, it is important to understand how a space will change following a development and then again over time where other significant developments take place nearby. Therefore, it is common for at least two models to be built and often a third if appropriate. These models will consider the wind conditions in the following scenarios:

  • The existing baseline conditions
  • Following the new development
  • The new development in conjunction with any neighbouring development schemes

Wind data specific to the development site will be fed into the model and the wind velocity profile calculated for each model for a range of wind directions.
For each scenario that is modelled, the wind environment will be assessed between models to evaluate if the change in the built environment will result in a beneficial or an adverse change to the wind microclimate. We regularly undertake CFD wind studies using industry-leading software SimsScale, partnering closely with architects, developers, councils, civil & structural engineers and planning consultants to simulate how air flows around new developments.

City of London Wind Guidelines

To help ensure a more comprehensive and standardised approach to wind microclimate assessments the City of London introduced “Wind Microclimate Guidelines For Developments In The City Of London”. The very large skyscrapers and dense construction within the City of London have led to concerns that the urban wind microclimate may lead to wind speeds capable of knocking over vulnerable road users, cyclists and pedestrians. The new guidelines set out some key requirements that must be followed when planning a new development and set out the steps a wind microclimate assessment should follow.

Environmental Statement Chapters

Further to carrying out Wind Microclimate Assessments, Xi’s wind microclimate expertise is regularly called upon by industry leaders for the review of Environmental Statement Chapters as part of the planning process. For more information on this service please visit our Environmental Statement Creation and Review page.

Why Choose Xi Engineering?

Our specialised team has extensive experience simulating complex wind microclimate models. By early involvement in a project, we can help you avoid last-minute delays in the planning process. By using detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling our team will identify potential issues with pedestrian safety and comfort and suggest realistic solutions as well as providing support throughout your planning applications. Contact our team to talk in more detail about your enquiry and offer complimentary guidance for the next step of your project.

Xi Engineering Consultants offer a wide range of services to the construction and property development industries. Xi have worked on improving building acoustics as well as performing completions testing for rating partition walls and noise at work assessments. Completing Environmental Impact Assessments for noise and vibration is also an important service which Xi provides it’s clients in the construction sector.

As well as standard partition rating, Xi have completed noise assessments for change of use applications for commercial and residential property conversions. For environmental acoustics, Xi have performed environmental impact assessments planning conditions as well as outline requirements for mitigation if any is required.

It is important to understand how any new development will interact with the environment and how the existing environment will affect the new development.

EIAs are a common requirement for new projects. It is important to understand how any new development will interact with the environment or vice versa, how the existing environment will affect the new development. Consideration should be made to noise and vibration during all phases of the project demolition, construction, operation, and eventual decommission. In some cases, the impact of existing sources of noise such as that from transport networks, including roads, railways and airports, should be assessed and evaluated.

In the designing and planning stages, Xi can be of assistance by creating predictive models of noise and vibration propagation. Moreover, if other more complex models are required, Xi can also assist with this process. This is because Xi have a dedicated team of mathematical modellers whose range of expertise include modelling software such as COMSOL, MATLAB and NoiseMap.

For sites which are already operating, Xi can undertake noise and vibration surveys which will determine the impact on the surrounding environment. To perform these measurements the Xi team will provide the best quality equipment in the market. This includes class A sound level meters as well as high quality accelerometers and geophones. More specific equipment can also be used as Xi’s experts are also trained in more complex instruments such as acoustic cameras. These instruments allow the team to capture data with an incredible degree of resolution and accuracy. With these measurements, Xi will be able to identify the cause of this problem and will also be able to deliver a concise and clear approach on the best methods to mitigate these problems. Our engineering team has years of experience and has assisted in measurements following standards like ETSU-97, BS4142, BS5228 or ISO 9613.