It is important to choose the right environmental consultant to ensure assessments are carried out to the highest possible standard for your particular needs. While a competent and reliable environmental consultant will bring many benefits to your business, the environment and local community, there are serious social, economic and legal consequences if assessments are not carried out correctly.

How to choose the right environmental consultant?

When in the process of choosing an environmental consultant for yourself, consider the following steps:

1. Understand what you need

Before contacting anyone, it is important to understand the scope and specifics of your situation. There are several types of environmental consultants, and you will want one that specialises in the areas appropriate to your project.

2. Consider experience and credentials

As with any other investment you make, the credibility of an environmental consultant should be a significant factor in your decision making. You may consider conducting an introductory interview with the consultant to see if they will meet your needs, and if they have sufficient experience in the relevant field.

3. Ask for a proposal and compare your options

It is good practice to compare your options and see what different consultants will bring to the project. You can ask for a proposal for any of the consultants that meet your standard and contact any references that may be provided. 

The pitfalls of not using the services of the right environmental consultant

Environmental consultants vary in their areas of expertise, experience, knowledge, approach and fees.  Opting to avoid using a consultant, or choosing what may appear to be the best value for money comes with significant risks.  

One of the key risks is a delay in obtaining approvals.  This may result from regulators needing to seek more information, so they may “stop may the clock” on the process or worse, may require assessments to be repeated or supplemented.  This issue can be compounded by the fact that seasonal windows for site surveys may have been missed, which could require the project to need to wait several months to continue progressing approvals.

Delays as described above are costly, as in any rework that could be required.

Project delays and cost blow-outs have the potential to void the viability of projects, and investors may lose confidence.

If things go pear-shaped in any of the ways described above, or later in the process once the project has kicked off, if environmental harm or non-conformances result, this can be extremely damaging to a company’s public reputation and reputation with regulators, which can also hinder future approvals applications.

Environmental incidents that could result from bad advice or poor services from an environmental consultant can also lead to litigation, which is costly and can further damage reputation.

It’s clear that the best choice is to have things done once and done right, which is of the utmost importance when selecting and environmental consultant

Why is environmental consulting important?

Environmental consulting is an in-depth process which brings many benefits to the local community, environment and even businesses. The key reason most businesses invest in the services of an environmental consultant, is to facilitate environmental approvals for development projects.  Without approvals, many developments cannot proceed and without a quality consultant, environmental approvals may not be possible. The outputs of environmental consultants can also play a significant role in spreading environmental awareness and ensuring best practices are upheld for everyone’s interests in the long term. The following reasons explain why environmental consulting is a crucial service.

  • Protects the environment

One of the key roles of an environmental consultant is to reduce the impact of various activities on the environment. 

  • Facilitates sustainable development

Environmental consultants apply their specialist knowledge to defining the environment and a proposed development activity and compiling all if this information into a range of approvals applications. These applications, along with strategic liaison with regulatory authorities helps businesses to have approvals for development projects granted. 

  • Safeguards the health and safety of the local community

When a project faces environmental concerns, health and safety are often also issues that need to be addressed. An environmental consultant can assist with managing and minimising environmental and health hazards for workers and the local community.

  • Encourages businesses to consider their impact

Environmental consultants can also help businesses to consider the impact their activities have on the local environment and community. Furthermore, it empowers businesses to become responsible for their actions by implementing sustainable environmental management plans or developing environmental management systems which guide day-to-day business activities.

  • Helps businesses stay compliant

Business also benefit from environmental consultations by gaining expert advice and assistance on complying with current regulations and laws. Consultants can also assist with meeting environmental targets and voluntary goals a business may want to implement.

If you are looking for an environmental consultant that delivers high-quality, value-for-money services, get in touch with our friendly team at Focused Vision Consulting. We specialise in flora and fauna assessments, environmental impact assessments, environmental approvals and environmental management, and are committed to providing the highest possible standard of services for all our clients. We do this by working with our clients, not just for them, with a focus on project needs, from beginning to end.

 

Published by Samantha Brown