European Protected Species Licence and Biodiversity Mitigation and Enhancement Plan (BMEP) for Housing Development
European Protected Species Licence and Biodiversity Mitigation and Enhancement Plan (BMEP) for Housing Development AcornwebnatEcology
This site, called Old Torrington Road, is approximately 1.5ha and was a semi-improved grassland field, surrounded by hedgerows. Ecological survey work was undertaken in advance of a planning application being made for 47 residential units and comprised a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) and Phase 2 surveys for bats, reptiles and dormice. Based on these survey findings, a European Protected Species Licence for dormice was obtained and a Biodiversity Mitigation and Enhancement Plan (BMEP) was produced and implemented in order to enable the proposed development to proceed, whilst making provision for wildlife and ensuring that the works were legal.
Planning permission was granted for the building of 47 new dwellings ranging from 1 bedroom terraced houses to 4 bedroom detached houses. The proposal required the removal of approximately 68 m of hedgerow in order to provide site access with a visibility splay.
Scope of Ecological Works
Ecological survey work comprising a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, followed by Phase 2 surveys for bats (walked transects and static monitoring), dormice and reptiles was undertaken by Acorn Ecology. The bullet points below summarise the survey results and the measures that were implemented to avoid, mitigate and compensate for impacts.
Dormice were found to be present in the hedgerows and a European Protected Species Licence was required from Natural England in order to remove the 68 m of hedgerow without committing an offence. Works were carefully timed to minimise impacts on dormice. To compensate for impacts provision of nest boxes and native hedge planting was required.
At least six bat species were found to use the site for foraging and commuting, and a sensitive lighting plan was designed to minimise lighting on the surrounding hedgerows as some species avoid lit areas.
A small breeding population of both grass snake and slow worm were found on site. A corner of the site was designated as a receptor site (see photo) and the animals were translocated to this habitat in advance of the development commencing in order to avoid killing or injuring of reptiles.
Other measures were put in place to avoid harm to badgers and nesting birds during the construction phase.
All of these measures were included in a Biodiversity Mitigation and Enhancement Plan for the site, along with measures to enhance the site in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Enhancement measures included installation of house sparrow boxes, swift boxes and bat tubes.
The reptile translocation was successfully completed by Acorn Ecology, and the hedgerow removal works were carefully timed and overseen by an Ecological Clerk of Works prior to the main development works commencing.
The last time Acorn Ecology visited the site the construction of the 47 houses was well underway, but had not been completed. At that time, some of the swift and swallow boxes had been erected, the dormouse boxes were erected in the hedgerow, and a corner of the public amenity area had been fenced off to allow the grass to grow long for reptiles and other wildlife.
Acorn Ecology have worked with us on a number of projects covering a range of surveys and specialist requirements. All surveys were undertaken in a timely fashion and were followed by comprehensive and detailed reports to document the findings. All involved are a pleasure to work with and maintained good communications throughout the projects. We would not hesitate to use Acorn Ecology on future projects.
Louise Parkinson, Director, Chichester Homes Developments Ltd