ECHO Heritage Consultancy
Specialist consultants in archaeological and environmental impact assessments and heritage management
ECHO Heritage Consultants are specialists in managing cultural heritage from the smallest of artefacts to the largest of monuments. ECHO consultancy is an autonomous arm of ECHO that offers a range of conservation procedures for any element of cultural heritage, but will also develop a whole site management plan from Palaeolithic camping sites to large cities. ECHO consultancy offers advice on visitor flow management, infrastructure design, visitor centre design and installation of other amenities as well as protective measures to prevent damage to the cultural heritage. Economic and marketing advice can also be provided.
ECHO Heritage Consultancy offer various strategies to deal with various threats to cultural heritage, these threats can take the form of modern development (building and infrastructure projects), environmental (rising water levels and other natural disasters), vandalism (wilful destruction of cultural heritage), pollution, and modern agricultural practices. One of the most common threats is modern development and general urban sprawl. However, if heritage managers as well as other environmental specialists are engaged in a constructive dialogue at the conceptual stage many of the potential problems can be avoided. ECHO heritage managers using innovative thinking will create a management strategy that allows the cultural heritage to tell its stories while allowing the development to progress unhindered. ECHO heritage managers will provide support and expertise in all aspects of archaeological care, interpretation and presentation of the landscapes, historic places and buildings. They will pinpoint new business opportunities and advise on the planning and delivery of new projects, making sure that cultural heritage properties and visitors are at the heart of all developmental projects. Inspirational people management is key, with ECHO heritage managers and a team of multi-disciplinary consultants and parishioners working closely with their clients.
Environmental impact assessments (EIAs)
As the planet becomes more crowded and more affected by its human population, we also have to think about the affect of land use development on other people and on our collective surroundings. In other words, we have to assess the impact of development on the environment. The technical term for this procedure is environmental impact assessment. Some of the impacts (e.g. noise, smoke and water pollution) are easy to recognise, this is because scientists know how to measure some impacts (e.g. air pollution) and how to mitigate them (by installing air filters). Other impacts (e.g. on cultural heritage, scenery, fauna, flora and recreation) are less easily measured, but just as important. In many countries around the world environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are a legal requirement and an integral part of the development process.
Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) of projects are important in securing long-term positive benefits to the projects concerned. For an EIA to be of value, the assessment should be undertaken on relevant aspects of the project, and early in the planning stages. Environmental impact assessments should rely on conclusions derived from data analysis of primary field data and secondary data sources. The EIA process comprises:
- Screening - to decide if and at what level an EIA should be applied
- Scoping - to identify the important issues and prepare terms of reference
- Baseline Studies – to establish the pre-development condition for each aspect of the environment
- Impact analysis - to predict the effects of a proposal and evaluate their significance
- Mitigation - to establish measures to prevent, reduce or compensate for impacts
- Public involvement - to inform and consult with stakeholders
- Reporting - to prepare the information necessary for decision-making
- Review - to check the quality of the EIA report
- Decision-making - to approve or reject the proposal and set conditions
- Implementation – conducting the proposals made within the report
- Follow up - to monitor, manage and audit impacts of project implementation
The environmental components used can be considered as four primary elements, which are defined as follows: physical/chemical, biological/ecological, sociological/cultural and economic/operational. The use of these four primary elements is in itself a competent tool, particularly if set against the detailed activities of project engineering, from pre- to post-project implementation, and including the construction phases.
The ECHO Consultancy can offer a wide range of various services, including:
1. Archaeological Assessments
- Data searches
- Desk-based assessments
- Preparation of data for Environmental Impact Assessments and Expert Witness
- Development of mitigation strategies
- Advice on statutory obligations and planning consent
- Preparation and implementation of detailed project designs and method statements
- Historic landscape characterisation
- Archaeological and cultural heritage input to Environmental Statements
- Monitoring of fieldwork and report production
- Selection and recruitment of specialist staff & services
- Contract administration
- Survey, evaluation, excavation and conservation work to international statutory standards (UNESCO, ICOMOS)
- Satellite survey, aerial photography and pedestrian surveying
- Development of a GIS based map of sites present in the area to be developed
- Digitising of maps and plans
- Provision of advice to other specialists for fully integrated projects
- Site management that integrates sites into the natural and developed landscape
2. Environmental Management and Monitoring
- Environmental Policies and Management Systems - tailor made packages to suit individual needs
- Environmental Aspects Evaluation - identify the significant environmental risks
- Environmental Key Performance Indicators - set targets to improve performance
- Supply Chain Management - green your supply chain
- Producer Responsibility Obligations - identify your packaging waste reduction obligations
- Duty of Care - develop waste management and waste hierarchy scenarios
- Total Particulate Matter
- Combustion gases from all types of combustion and incineration processes including Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Oxygen (O2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOX)
- Continuous and individual species monitoring of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from surface coating application and printing processes
- Testing of abatement efficiency of scrubber and oxidiser plants
- Munitions detection and disposal
- Measurements of individual process pollutant species including acid gases, isocyanates, amines, amides, Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S), Ammonia (NH3), heavy metals and formaldehyde
3. Coastal Management
- Specialist coastal engineers - to design deliverable durable solutions
- Geomorphologists – to understand and predict the physical behaviour of the coast
- Ecologists – to play a central role in developing strategies that will safeguard and preferably enhance the nature of the coast.
- Environmental scientists – who understand and help mitigate any impact on aspects such as archaeology, fishing, recreation and, of course, society.
- Geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists – who understand the physical nature of the coast and the soils that make it up
- Numerical modellers – to model the sometimes extremely complex hydrodynamic and sediment transport processes at work at the coast.
- GIS specialists – to facilitate the analysis and presentation of our findings.
- Economists – to quantify the financial and economic impact of coastal management initiatives
- Planners – to play a leading role in ensuring that our work contributes positively to local and national planning initiatives.
- Modelling and determination of coastal and estuarine processes
- Development of shoreline management and strategy plans for coastal and estuary areas
- Archaeological marine salvage and environmental impact assessment
- Feasibility studies including economic and environmental appraisal
- Development of innovative, sustainable and cost effect scheme solutions
- Design and presentation of schemes to satisfy legislative and government requirements
- development of coastal GIS and data base systems
- Ecological surveys
- Habitat and protected species surveys and assessments (including mammals, reptiles amphibians, birds, invertebrates and plants)
- Biodiversity action planning
- Site supervision and monitoring
- Liaison with statutory authorities
- Training and awareness
- Public inquiry representation and expert witness
- Sustainability analysis
- Green roofs
5. Air Quality Management
- Air quality monitoring - point and continuous
- QA/QC of monitoring networks and equipment
- Data ratification
- Local and regional air pollution dispersion modelling and emissions studies
- GIS modelling
- Data Validation and ratification
- Action plans and consultation
- Advanced regional air quality dispersion modelling
- Stack emissions monitoring
If a country or organisation wish to consult ECHO on a range of cultural heritage management matters, or indeed wishes ECHO to devise a whole cultural heritage management programme, then they should contact ECHO by email, or through the website or at their correspondence address. Individuals may be recommended to work on sites for a set agency fee. Individuals from this group of professionals are available to work in most countries around the world.
Some Past Projects
ECHO Trustees, led by Professor Fekri Hassan were engaged in the development of an action plan for the management of the World Heritage Site area
of the St. Katherine Protectorate.
They were also engaged in developing the cultural heritage component of an Explorer's visitor center in the Red Sea Governorate, Egypt.
Professor Fekri Hassan was also involved in the development of a cutting-edge website developed by IBM on The Legacy of Egyptian Civilization, and the establishment of a computerised database of Egyptian cultural heritage elements in archaeological sites and museums.
ECHO Trustees were also consultants on the current rescue project taking place in the North-west Faiyum, where Epipalaeolithic to Early Islamic remains are currently being surveyed and excavated under the direction of Khaled Saad, Director of Prehistory at the SCA. These remains are threatened by proposed building of hotels and related infrastructure, as well as land-reclamation projects. This project is designed to ascertain where archaeological remains are located, and excavate or protect those most at risk from the planned development.