Samantha Preston

Why did you choose this project as one to apply for?

I chose to apply to ADAS due to the placement being advertised as focusing on a range of work in planning, environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA). Having completed a module in semester 1 on regulatory and planning context for sustainable projects the theoretical background on this type of work really interested and appealed to me. After producing a piece of coursework for the siting and scoping of a potential wind farm I identified that this was the type of job I wanted to pursue and that the placement would be a key step in gaining experience and vital knowledge to enter into this area.

So far, what's the most interesting thing you've found out?

By taking part in team meetings I have gained a valuable insight into how the process begins in identifying potential land for development, the financial aspects and the scale of work on at any one time within the organisation. In addition even just being present in the office and engaging with how applications are produced, problems that may occur and the outcomes of developments adds to the overall experience of how organisations work and everyday working life.

Are you finding any links between the taught part of the course and your project?  Are there any modules in particular that gave you information or techniques that you're using?

Being introduced to the basics of EIA and SEA in the regulatory and planning module has helped me to contribute in producing documents for the assessments which ADAS complete for their clients. Additionally producing the more practical pieces of coursework on sitting and scoping of wind turbines, stakeholder plan for the Leeds tram, mining contract development and CSR strategy in the second semester has provided that platform enabling me to move from academic writing and thinking to more business type literature.

How do you find the logistics?  The practicalities of being based with a project host?

I am enjoying splitting my time between working on my project and doing other work for ADAS, it makes the days more interesting and enables me to gain knowledge/skills in aspects of environmental consultancy that can be applied to building my future career in this sector. As well as my main project, I have also completed various stages of a SEA for the Northern Ireland Government, aspects of an Air Quality Impact Assessment and a closely linked Construction Period Dust Impact Assessment, researched for information on the Feed-in Tariffs and created an article, due to be published on the ADAS website, on how planners deal with the current air pollution levels in the UK, and it is only week 5!

How do you feel about the next 5 weeks, the second half of your project?

The last half of the project has come about so quickly and I have really enjoyed my time at ADAS, and really do not want to leave. I feel I still have so much to do in terms of my project, making use of the help being given from people in the office and in the past week other work has been coming in thick and fast. The placement project is definitely the best part of the course, tying in all that is learnt and building on those tangible skills gained from both taught semesters. I have really enjoyed my time at ADAS and it is definitely down to how friendly and helpful people have been, every day was a challenge but one that I looked forward to undertaking in a great working environment.