Ecosulis
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Posted by: Hannah Maben - BSc (Hons) MIEEM on 09/02/2011

 

 Wichelstowe Wildlife News  

 

Welcome to Wichelstowe Wildlife News where you will find all the latest information in respect to the habitats and species within the Wichelstowe urban extension to the south of Swindon.

 This first issue includes:

 

Future issues of Wichelstowe Wildlife News will continue to provide regular updates on what ecological and conservation works are being undertaken at Wichelstowe and any interesting finds.

Brief introduction to Wichelstowe

Wichelstowe is an exciting new mixed-use development being led by Swindon Borough Council. The development site is located between the southern outskirts of Swindon and the M4. The development proposals include the creation of:

  • 4500 residential units
  • Business parks
  • Town centre
  • Three schools
  • Country park
  • 4km of new canal

 

Ecosulis has provided support in respect to ecological surveys, assessment and mitigation services for the 300ha development site and the 190ha mitigation site to the south of the M4 and has had a high level of input into the green infrastructure design.

Outline planning permission was granted for the site in 2004 and since then a number of reserved matters applications have been obtained and construction has commenced and areas of the site are now occupied and operational.

Sustainability is paramount and Swindon Borough Council has ensured that biodiversity and conservation has been a key consideration throughout the Wichelstowe planning process.  Biodiversity continues to be given high level consideration in respect to reserved matters applications, construction works and site management.  Wichelstowe (previously known as the Swindon Southern Development Area) was referred to as an example of Good Practice in the Governments "Planning for Biodiversity and Geological Conservation - A Guide to Good Practice (March 2006)”.

Ecological works undertaken to date

Ecosulis has been providing ecological consulting and contracting support to Swindon Borough Council on the Wichelstowe development since the late 1990’s. The primary aim has been to identify and minimise impacts on the habitats and species on site.

Surveys

Ecosulis was initially appointed to undertake ecological surveys to establish habitats and species present on site and constraints and opportunities that these may pose to the initial development proposals. The results of these surveys were used to inform the masterplan, which includes over 100 hectares dedicated to nature conservation as well as green infrastructure, which will also provide additional benefits to wildlife.

Since planning was obtained Ecosulis continues to undertake surveys in support of reserved matters applications, European Protected Species licences, badger licences, Precautionary Methods of Working and long-term monitoring to inform management of the site.

Surveys have included:

  • Hedgerow surveys

 

Construction Support

Ecosulis has supported construction by not only undertaking pre-works surveys, but also providing support in respect to:

 

Habitat Creation and Management

Over 100 hectares of green open space have been incorporated into the Wichelstowe development proposals, which are being enhanced for wildlife and further wildlife opportunities have also been incorporated into the built design such as bird and bat boxes/tubes on buildings.   To-date Ecosulis has undertaken the following habitat enhancement/creation:

  • Badger sett creation
  • Bat box and tube installation
  • Pond enhancement and creation
  • Water vole habitat enhancement
  • Newt and reptile hibernacula creation
  • Tree planting

 

Management works are ongoing and is informed by the development programme and Ecosulis’s annual wildlife surveys. Ecosulis has also written and continues to implement a control strategy for Indian balsam (Himalayan balsam), which was first recorded on site in 2010.

Useful links

Other Wichelstowe Wildlife News

http://www.wichelstowe.co.uk/

http://www.ecosulis.co.uk/case-study/wichelstowe-development-mixed-use-development-4500-units

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/143792.pdf


Categories: Ecological Consulting
Tags: Conservation | Ecology | Nature | Wichelstowe
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