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Reservoir Development & Dam Engineering Services

Sweco covers all aspects of scoping, planning and management for reservoir projects – from environmental impact assessments and Development Consent Order co-ordination to detailed design and construction phase support.

As a leading multi-disciplinary engineering and environmental consultancy, Sweco combines local presence with global reach to deliver lifecycle advisory and technical support for projects based upon innovative, sustainable and cost-effective solutions.

Our reservoir development services

Planning support

Our Development Consent Order (DCO) Leads manage engagement with the Planning Inspectorate and co-ordinate DCO applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects in compliance with the Planning Act 2008, as well as the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009.

In addition, the DCO Leads will integrate inputs from legal, environmental, design, land referencing, stakeholder engagement, construction and client sponsor teams to produce a consistent package of DCO application plans and reports that together support the overall need case and draft DCO. The DCO Leads will co-ordinate challenge reviews of DCO boundary, designs and assessment to ensure the DCO is not excessive while also allowing flexibility for future detailed design development.

Consultation (Community Engagement, Public Participation)

  • Management and co-ordination of stakeholder and public consultation with landowners, communities, businesses and schools
  • Preparation and implementation of consultation and engagement plans to ensure effective dialogue and recording
  • Implementation of development and community benefit projects
  • Experienced in public consultation exercises utilising exhibitions, letter drops and social media

Land referencing & negotiations

  • Managing and supporting land referencing team responsible for developing Land Plans and Book of Reference
  • Engagement with landowners to obtain approvals to complete surveys
  • Supporting engagement with landowners and other affected interested parties to negotiate acquisition of permanent and temporary land or rights of access
  • Facilitating collaborative reviews between the client, construction, design, environmental, lands and legal teams to identify land acquisition needs for compulsory purchase under the DCO
  • Since 1921, Sweco’s experts have contributed to the design of waterbodies and waterways around the world, and are currently involved in over 200 dam and waterway projects. We can therefore offer industry-leading global dam construction experience, with a local presence and an end-to-end understanding of the UK regulatory framework.

Environmental Impact Assessments

EIA Lead Co-ordination

  • Project management of all EIA stages
  • Focussed and efficient EIA delivery through clear scoping and integration of EIA team with the design team and other professional advisors
  • Preparation of EIA documentation including environmental Statement
  • Understanding and experience of delivering EIA across a range of consenting regimes, including Town and Country Planning Regulations and Planning Act 2008
  • Constraints analysis including GIS applications
  • Scoping Report production and engaging consenting authorities for EIA scoping and screening opinions

Hydrology, Hydrogeology & Flood Risk Assessment

  • Hydrological Impact Assessments, including climate change
  • Assessment of groundwater abstractions, pumping test design, borehole design and drilling supervision
  • Groundwater source yield assessments and hydrogeological monitoring programmes
  • Catchment hydrology and rainfall runoff modelling and hydraulic expertise using 1D and 2D hydraulic models
  • Flood risk assessments and reporting
  • Designing river engineering and flood alleviation schemes
  • SuDS optioneering and hydraulic design, feasibility through to detailed design
  • Production of local authority flood risk/surface water management plans and strategies

Landscape & Visual

  • Landscape and visual assessment
  • Analysis of landscape and visual policy including critiques of LPA capacity studies
  • Early stage landscape and visual feasibility assessment to assist site selection or identify potential barriers to gaining planning consent
  • Development of bespoke methodologies and criteria to appraise route options for linear infrastructure projects
  • Liaison and co-operation with statutory consultees and local planning authorities to identify and resolve potential consenting issues
  • Management and co-ordination of visualisations and photomontage images
  • Attendance at community consultation events and production of consultation information, including interactive 3D visualisations software
  • Expert witness services for both planning appeals and NSIP examinations
  • Independent professional review of landscape and visual assessments undertaken by others


  • Preliminary Ecological Appraisals and full Ecological
  • Impact Assessments
  • Habitat Regulations Assessments
  • Protected Species and habitats surveys, licensing and mitigation (including translocation)
  • Habitat and Vegetation surveys (including National Vegetation Classification, hedgerow surveys and invasive species surveys)
  • Habitat creation and Ecological Management Plans

Geology, Soils & Ground Contamination

  • Desk studies and development of conceptual site models
  • Site investigation, characterisation and monitoring
  • Detailed Quantitative Risk
  • Assessment (DQRA) for human health and controlled waters
  • Suitability and re-use of excavated materials in accordance with CL:AIRE Code of Practice and waste classification
  • Desk based impact assessments and review of historical data
  • Engineering geology and identification of geohazards
  • Ground improvement, earthworks and foundation design
  • Geotechnical suitability and re-use of imported and site-won materials
  • Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation through our award-winning approach to carbon and cost reduction, including the implementation of PAS 2080
  • Ensuring project resilience and adaptability through the co-ordination of climate change projections across all EIA disciplines

Transport Appraisal

  • Access feasibility studies
  • Transport Assessment including multi-modal transport modelling
  • Construction Traffic Management Plans and Travel Planning
  • Abnormal load assessments
  • Design of transport mitigation measures
  • Air Quality, Noise and Vibration Assessments
  • Screening and undertaking detailed modelling assessments (ADMS)
  • Design and implementation of air quality monitoring programmes
  • Design and implementation of noise surveys and mitigation strategies

Complementary services

Through our established network of specialist suppliers, we can also offer:

  • Cultural heritage and archaeology survey and assessments
  • Agricultural land surveys and impact assessments
  • Arboricultural surveys and impact assessments
  • Topographical surveys
  • Unexploded Ordnance risks desk studies
Together with our clients and the collective knowledge of our engineers, consultants and other specialists, we co-create solutions to address urbanisation, capture the power of digitalisation, and make our societies more sustainable.​ With international multi-disciplinary teams, we can call on the right insight and technical capability at the right time from across Buildings, Infrastructure, Advisory & Planning and Compliance.​