Ecosulis
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Case Studies

Local Authority & Governmental

Project Name:
Wichelstowe Ecological Mitigation and Landscaping Works
Client:
Swindon Borough Council and Taylor Wimpey Developments
Year:
Aug 01, 2010
Keywords:
Water vole, badger, great crested newt, bats, birds, Japanese knotweed, habitat management, habitat creation
Summary:
Ecosulis have been providing all ecological consultancy and contracting services in relation to both outline planning applications and detailed planning ...

Ecosulis have been providing all ecological consultancy and contracting services in relation to both outline planning applications and detailed planning applications for a proposed development consisting of 4500 residential units, business parks, town centre, canal network and country park. The services have included all ecological surveys, assessment and mitigation services for the 300ha development site and the 190ha mitigation site to the south of the M4.
As part of the mitigation strategy Ecosulis has been responsible to managing, implementing and procuring all ecological consulting and contracting works, predominantly using in-house staff, such as:

  • Tree felling and scrub clearance
     
  • Woodland planting in Nature Conservation Areas
     
  • Wetland and pond creation
     
  • Planting of marginal aquatic plants
     
  • Hedgerow removal and translocation
     
  • Control of Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam
     
  • Liaising with tenant farmers, modifying tenancy agreements and developing an agricultural management plan (in support of Swindon Borough Council landscape officers)
     
  • Undertaking all mitigation works (under Natural England licence where required) such as badger sett closures, creation of artificial badger setts, translocation of reptile and great crested newts, creation of hibernacula and other wildlife refuges, erection of bat boxes and bird boxes, protection of hedgerows
     
  • Monitoring of habitats (i.e. annual habitat assessment)
     
  • Monitoring of species populations (as listed above)

 

Key habitats that are being managed by Ecosulis, through regular cutting and maintenance works, include:

  • Wilts and Berks Canal (plus proposed creation of 4.5km of canal)
     
  • Five nature conservation management areas consisting of wetland (more than 10ha including wader scrapes), woodland (over 70ha) and semi-improved grassland habitats (more than 50ha)
     
  • Elcombe Brook and Swinbourne Tributary
     
  • Important hedgerows
     
  • Improved grassland and arable land (managed to enhance diversity)
     
  • Buildings and trees known to support bat roosts and bird nesting sites

 

Ecosulis has updated surveys annually since 1997 and have developed a detailed mitigation strategy for all species including great crested newt, bats, badger, water vole, otter, birds (including ground nesting), invertebrates, woodland, hedgerow, wetland areas and watercourses, which has received approval by Natural England. The principles set out in the nature conservation management strategy for the Wichelstowe development (previously known as the Swindon Southern Development Area) was cited as an example of Good Practice in the Governments "Planning for Biodiversity and Geological Conservation - A Guide to Good Practice (March 2006)". Ecosulis was retained by Swindon Borough Council in 2005, following competitive OJEU tender, to implement the mitigation strategy through the preparation and implementation of five Management Plans. The development proposals are to be phased over a fifteen year period.
 

 

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