Ireland-based DP Marine Energy (DPME) has commissioned British environmental consultancy SAMS Research Services (SRSL) to conduct environmental assessment for the proposed West Islay Tidal Energy Farm in Scotland.

SRSL, which is part of SAMS Group, said the environmental impact assessment (EIA) works on the site are currently in progress and the report is expected to be submitted in February 2013.

In addition, the consultancy is producing a environmental statement chapters evaluating the potential impact of the development on marine life.

SRSL, along with Northern Research Partnership, has successfully concluded a two-year baseline survey campaign for marine birds and mammals, in addition to underwater noise surveys.

"This is testament to the experience and ability of the SRSL survey personnel to operate in challenging metocean environments."

Renewable energy developer, DPME, and its partner, DEME Blue Energy, have proposed to build a 400MW tidal stream project off the island of Islay on the south west coast of Scotland.

The UK Crown Estate has already awarded an agreement for a commercial lease of 30MW to DPME, which assesses resources and develops both tidal and wave energy sites.

SRSL EIA and consenting services manager Lucy Greenhill commented the environmental surveys conducted for the West Islay site.

"This is testament to the experience and ability of the SRSL survey personnel to operate in challenging metocean environments," Greenhill said.

"Our unique location combined with careful project management allowed our team to maximise the use of available weather windows, ensuring that we achieved a robust baseline for our client, DP Energy," she added.

DP Energy Ireland environmental manager Clodagh McGrath stated: "SRSL is a key consultant to the West Islay Tidal Energy Project, developing scientifically defensible methodologies for assessing the environmental impacts on marine mammals and fish."

Noting that so far no full tidal array has been installed anywhere, McGrath added: "In order to move tidal technology into the commercial arena and expedite market deployment, it is necessary to establish an array of turbines in one site to verify the performance capability and environmental characteristics of a full array."

SRSL says it has delivered consultancy services and field surveys for eight renewable energy developments in Scotland.