Mac Arthur Green Land

By Land, Sea... or Peat

MacArthur Green

6. Clean Water and Sanitation 13. Climate Action 14. Life Below Water 15. Life on Land

Overview

The company undertakes surveys for a range of wildlife habitats - from bats to birds to fragile peatland, ponds, and rivers - assessing whether sites are suitable for development. MacArthur Green provides ecological assessments and advice to their clients to ensure nature conservation whilst preventing delays for project planning such as the construction of new wind farms, having direct influence upon SDG 13, 14 and 15, also providing indirect benefits to SDG 6 through their business operations.

Author

Edward Murphy

Edward Murphy

School

University of Strathclyde

University of Strathclyde

Professor

Duduzile Rance

Duduzile Rance

Innovation

MacArthur Green’s diverse team is made up of a collaboration of hydrology, ecology, peat and ornithological experts. The company offers a range of services as well as aid in planning projects for renewables, including:

• ecological services such as National Vegetation Classification Survey (NVC)

• habitat surveys.

• management plans and regulation appraisals

• hydrology field surveys

• hydrogeology

• peatland restoration

• environmental assessments and management whilst approving discharge of planning conditions for these projects.

They also provide management services for water resources with water quality monitoring, aquator modelling, rainfall-runoff modelling, drought planning and assessments, including private water supplies plans and Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems.

MacArthur Green are one of few organizations to manage their carbon emissions into the negative spectrum whilst still operating within the service industry.

By Land, Sea... or Peat

The company planted 30,000 trees equipped with animal boxes providing habitat and shelter for a variety of Protected Species

Inspiration

Kirsty shares the inspiration that started MacArthur Green, explaining that it stemmed from three key elements:

1: Environment

“David felt that he could run a business that was doing the right thing whilst supporting renewables”

2: Helping clients succeed

“Helping to support clients to get their projects to succeed is a brilliant outcome and a brilliant aim”

3: Ambition

“We’re doing it because it’s the right thing but also because we do what we do really well and we want to produce something that’s a really good product, not just good enough, but great!”

Kirsty encourages other SMEs to follow their lead and wishes the Scottish and UK governments to support more businesses reduce their carbon footprint:

“we’ve shown that it’s possible to run a successful small business and do the right thing by the environment, and we’re not done…. Some people feel like doing the right thing means you’re not going to succeed in business and we’re testament that you can”

Overall impact

Peatlands

Their work with peatlands has great ecological benefit as peatlands are essential to protect biodiversity in temperate regions. Peatlands sequester a huge volume of carbon when maintained, providing ecosystems and habitats for butterflies, dragonflies, plants and rare birds. Peatlands also improve water quality by providing three key pollutant removing steps in surface waters: sediment trapping; nutrient removal and chemical detoxification. Therefore, peatlands are vital in helping maintain a healthy ecosystem within rivers providing beautiful landscapes for tourism in Scotland, essentially also savings water treatment plants significant costs in further purification, which is beneficial to SDG 6 - Clean water and Sanitation.

Damaged peatlands have an adverse effect on the ecosystem, which threatens many endangered species. Upon restoring peatlands, the carbon is retained which has an enormous impact upon climate change and contributes to SDG 13 - Climate Action

Aquatic environments

MacArthur Green ensures specific habitat requirements are met via survey method that addresses requirements of fishery managers. They measure fish population density within the site and provide details like water quality, shelter, feeding territory and availability of food, Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water - which benefits other species such as water vole, great crested newt and freshwater pearl Mussel and in turn has influence upon SDG 6 - Clean water and Sanitation.

They monitor water quality for sources of pollution and silt levels, ensuring salmon and trout populations aren’t affected from construction or development projects, such as wind farms. Construction as well as damaged peat bogs are the plausible source of high levels of silt or pollution in rivers, which is hazardous to river life. Silt causes fish eggs to be smothered suffocating spawning beds, this leads to the loss of certain species of Salmon and Trout in Scotland. The complex habitat requirements for these species stages of life means making sure the river health is maintained ensures SDG 14 – life below water.

Business benefit

MacArthur Green is a thirty person-strong SME in environmental science sector, with a £1.7 million turnover per year.

The company has performed outstanding work by providing key seabird advice for the £3bn Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm benefiting several species.

MacArthur Green’s recent large projects include the delivery of National Vegetation Classification surveys for both the Central and Northern A9 dualling sections, covering a survey reach of over 70km.

In addition… MacArthur Green won the Judges Award at the prestigious Scottish Green Energy Awards, and in doing so has shone a light on the field of ecology by being recognized in the renewables industry, for their innovation in carbon negativity. Every year the company assesses their carbon footprint which they offset twofold, continuing to grow their carbon deficit.

Finally, MacArthur Green has supported eight PhD research projects in Marine renewables since 2011. Their marine research program will contribute to the training of future scientists, providing stronger foundation for the discipline.

Social and environmental benefit

MacArthur Green has caused a great deal of environmental benefit by sharing their expertise with organisations and providing support to clients in the renewables sector. For example, they helped Scottish Power’s development of wind farms by providing ecological monitoring and wildlife surveys. They help clients ensure environmental responsibility by performing assessments, mitigating the negative impacts wind farms have on protected bird species such as black grouse, golden eagles, white-tailed sea eagles and peregrine falcons. They also protect habitats by developing effective mitigation with habitat management plans, aiding clients to provide affordable and clean energy in an ornithologically safe way, which contributes to SDG 15 - Life on Land.

MacArthur Green’s work with Ground Water Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTE), which include river wetlands and springs, plays a vital role in biodiversity, supporting fish and plant production but also water storage and purification, maintaining these impacts positively upon SDG 6 - Clean water and Sanitisation. Many rivers depend on inflows from GWDTE’s to support river health and development activities from construction can endanger ecosystems. MacArthur Green provide Water management plans and environmental impact assessments to prevent this.

MacArthur Green were awarded a forestry grant of almost £75,000 from Scottish Forestry which went towards planting woodland at Lochgair in Argyll in 2019. They registered it under the Government-backed Woodland Carbon Code, aiding their goal to be a carbon-negative business, whilst enhancing the Scotland’s eco-diversity. The company planted 30,000 trees equipped with animal boxes providing habitat and shelter for a variety of Protected Species such as several species of bats, pine martin, otter, badger and red squirrel, as well as creating more than 18 hectares of new woodland. The project will protect eight existing hectares of woodland and six hectares of peatland habitat. As the woodland develops it will sequester more than 10,000 tons of Carbon Dioxide over one hundred years, further again benefiting massively towards SDG 13 -Climate Action & 15 - Life on Land.

Interview

Kirsty MacArthur, Legal Director and Co-Owner

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MacArthur Green

MacArthur Green

GLASGOW, Lanarkshire, GB

Business Website: https://www.macarthurgreen.com/

Year Founded: 2009

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

MacArthur Green is a carbon negative ecological consultancy, based in the West End of Glasgow. It was founded in 2009 by David MacArthur, who was later joined by his partner Kirsty MacArthur in 2011. Kirsty is a planning and environmental lawyer by trade and joined MacArthur Green as legal director and Co-Owner. MacArthur Green has grown from an individual; David, to subsequently a team of thirty.