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Xodus Group ensures compliance with environmental legislation and minimises environmental impact.

Xodus calls on experience gained over decades of working in the aquaculture industry to provide a wide-ranging consultancy service to the industry. Our team has extensive knowledge of environmental issues relating to onshore, offshore and coastal industries and is ideally suited to support the aquaculture sector.

We offer a range of services:

  • Site selection
  • Environmental Social Impact Assessments (EIAs) including screening and scoping
  • Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA)
  • Environmental survey planning and management
  • Hydrographic data collection
  • Modelling studies (AutoDEPOMOD)
  • Environmental consent applications
  • Performance improvement including performance review, Environmental Management Plans and auditing
  • Environmental research and development.

Site selection
We assist with the selection of aquaculture sites based on assessments of the local receiving environment and potential environmental sensitivities. We also assist initial liaison with statutory consultees.

Environmental Impact Assessment
Xodus has undertaken EIAs for a wide range of aquaculture developments including cod and salmon throughout Scotland and is recognised as a provider of high quality, robust assessments to support planning applications. The Xodus EIA approach is based on early and on-going involvement in projects as well as close working relationships with project teams, to ensure EIA is an integral process to design and operation. Consultation with regulators and their advisors, other stakeholders and the public is an important aspect of any EIA. Xodus has established excellent working relationships with government departments, their statutory consultees, and a wide range of non-statutory stakeholders. Also key to the EIA process is the development of mitigation and monitoring techniques for operational systems, in agreement with client project teams. The results of the EIA process are documented in an Environmental Statement (ES) which is submitted alongside a planning application.

Environmental consent applications
Specialist input into environmental permit and consent applications can be provided in support of operational licences. These include local planning applications and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Controlled Activities Regulation (CAR) applications.

Modelling studies
We undertake exploratory modelling in order to maximise the site’s potential in terms of biomass and minimise environmental impact. Xodus uses the AutoDEPOMOD modelling system to predict effects of fish farms on the environment and to indicate where monitoring should take place. This model can also be used to set limits on the biomass and quantities of sea lice chemicals allowable at a fish farm site, assessed against Environmental Quality Standards (EQS). Xodus has extensive experience using this software programme and is registered with SEPA to undertake modelling.

Environmental survey
Xodus provides a range of survey services from baseline surveys, as part of environmental impact studies, to the design and implementation of on-going monitoring programmes. Capabilities include: survey design and planning, analysis of specialist survey reports, landscape and visual surveys, coastal, sub-littoral and intertidal habitat surveys, otter and water vole surveys, freshwater pearl mussel surveys, hydrographic and meteorological surveys and the collection of seabed and water column samples for chemical and biological analysis.

Performance verification
Many organisations in the aquaculture industry have realised benefits by commissioning an independent statement of environmental performance. This statement can be used to assist in external audits as well as for PR and marketing material. In addition to reporting on performance indicators and trends over time, an independent statement from Xodus can be used as a means of reporting qualitative issues, for example, a focus on wildlife seen around the sites or reports on management and operational initiatives.

Environmental Management Systems
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is essential in ensuring an organisation operates in an environmentally responsible

manner. Xodus supports the development of such systems for a range of clients to international standards such as ISO 14001. We can also provide experienced IEMA certified auditors to review any EMS that you have in place to assist compliance and continual improvement.

Xodus offers a tailored range of EMS training support programmes. This includes:

  • Environmental awareness training
  • EMS managerial training
  • Auditor training
  • Environmental champion workshops for those responsible for implementing EMS
  • EMS team training / support to implement and maintain EMS to ISO 14001.

Xodus Group can assist in the development of aquaculture management plans to meet organic standards in line with the Soil Association.

Environmental awareness and compliance training
Xodus training focuses on raising awareness of environmental sensitivities at operational sites and identifying practical measures that are understandable and possible to implement. We aim to provide personnel with the ability and motivation to maintain and improve performance of the individual and operation through bespoke training and awareness. We offer a range of training types, from established and accredited training courses through to client-specific programmes targeting particular issues, individuals or teams as well as traditional classroom-based sessions. We also offer highly practical on-site coaching and a range of e-learning packages.

Environmental research and development
Innovation is an important part of our approach and we are able to offer tailored research and development as needed. This may range from constraint mapping to help site selection, to custom built models to determine discharge levels.

Global Information Services
Xodus Global Information Services (GIS) consultants use ESRI ArcGIS to support our Aquaculture work in many ways, including performing Zone of Theoretical Visibility analysis to aid Landscape, Seascape and Visual Impact assessments (LSVIA), creating digital elevation models from bathymetric survey data, carrying out constraints analysis exercises, as well as drawing on extensive databases of spatial data and mapping data from third party suppliers.