Meet the Team: Callum Draper

Home » Callum Draper

Callum Draper is our Lead Environmental Impact Assessment Manager and has been with the project since 2022. He found his way into offshore wind through a fascination with how humans interact with their marine environment and has helped several projects pass through the planning process successfully. He’s most proud, though, of the work the Codling Wind Park consents team has achieved in navigating a brand new planning and legislative system in Ireland, and setting the standards for future offshore wind projects.

Listen to an abbreviated version of this blog.

Q. What’s your role at Codling Wind Park?

A. As Lead Environmental Impact Assessment Manager, it’s my role to manage the delivery of a large suite of documents that will accompany the application for planning consent, including the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.

The EIA report is informed by years of data collection, technical studies and stakeholder engagement. Its purpose is to provide the decision-making authority with the necessary information required to develop an informed view of any likely significant effects on the environment resulting from the project. And, ultimately, to make a decision on whether consent for the project should be granted.

Callum Draper - EIA Manager

Q. What’s a typical day like in your role?

A. It varies considerably depending on the status of the project. When I joined Codling Wind Park, in February 2022, I spent a large proportion of my time initially working closely with the onshore and offshore teams to develop the internal management tools and processes that would be needed to deliver a robust and timely planning application.

This included building and managing the consenting part of the project programme, managing the interface between the onshore and offshore teams, and working with the legal team to ensure our approach to the EIA is legally robust and in line with relevant policy and guidance.

Over the course of the project, I have also worked very closely with the project’s engineering team. This includes informing the site selection, optioneering and design processes; to ensure that environmental considerations are at the centre of decisions about the project location and design.

Currently, my attention is focused much more on delivering the documents required for the planning application, including drafting certain chapters of the EIA report and supporting the 50+ specialists working behind the scenes on more than 200 application documents. This alone gives some indication about how much work goes into the EIA report!

Q. What’s been your career path to Codling?

A. It’s been relatively conventional. I completed a degree in Marine Geography, which came from a keen interest in humans’ interaction with the marine environment – looking at both the positive and negative outcomes. From there I found my way into consultancy, working across a wide range of sectors before joining Royal HaskoningDHV. They specialise in EIA and consenting services for offshore wind farm projects.

This opened numerous opportunities for project roles in the offshore wind sector, including a two-year secondment with Equinor as an Onshore EIA Manager. It was during this time that I became more aware of the opportunities developing in Ireland, and I was intrigued by the challenges that would no doubt come from delivering a project within an inexperienced market and under an entirely new legislative framework. Plus, I already knew I loved Ireland as a place, so it was an easy decision when approached about a role on the Codling Wind Park project.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?

A. I’ve always enjoyed the scale and complexity that comes with planning and consenting a major infrastructure project, and the constant problem solving that this involves. There can be so many competing success factors and external forces at play, it’s inevitable that issues and problems arise, some of which can take a whole team of people weeks to resolve.

On that note, I really enjoy working with a such a diverse and talented project team. We are spread out across Europe, however, we meet for a week each month in Dublin. These occasions are always good fun and help to build relationships that go beyond our project roles.

Q. What are you most proud of achieving in your career so far?

A. I’m proud to have worked on a number of projects that have gone on to be successful. But, I’m perhaps most proud of what we as a consents team have achieved so far on the Codling project.

We’ve spent the last three years navigating a brand new planning and legislative system in Ireland, combined with a lack of planning guidance, evolving policy and in consultation with stakeholders who have limited or no experience in the development of offshore wind farms.

Despite this, we are now closing in on a planning application for a project that was first identified in 1999, so that in itself is quite an achievement. I will, of course, be much happier once the application has been submitted, and – ‘touch wood’ – I’ll be over the moon when the project receives its consent.

Q. Would you recommend a career in renewables to a young person?

A. Absolutely! There are now several renewable energy-specific university courses in the UK and in Europe. This would obviously be a fantastic starting point for a young person, although from my experience you can find an avenue into renewables from many different career paths.

On the Codling project, we have engineers, accountants, environmental consultants (like myself), and people who manage public engagement and communications. The list goes on, but I guess the point is that you don’t need to know the inner workings of a wind turbine to be involved in renewables.

I would also say, from my own experience, that you don’t need to start your career in renewables to have a successful career in renewables. Take the opportunities as they come to build up transferable skills. In the long run, you will be a far more valuable employee.

Learn more about the environmental studies we’ve carried out to support our planning application and the benefits that Codling Wind Park will bring to the local communities.

Sign up for our newsletter

Skip to content