Often construction can be perceived as having a negative impact upon our environment and natural resources. Therefore, it is critical to conduct ecology investigations where necessary to provide knowledge on whether species such as bats and birds are located on or around site, in their natural habitats.
Recently, the completion of ecology works took place on a housing development site in partnership with Bolsover District Council, in Whitwell. Confirmation has been given that all required checks and supervision was undertaken.
In accordance with the European Protected Species Mitigation Licence (EPSML) 2021-51020-EPS-MIT, the following actions were completed:
• Erection of six bat boxes mounted across two poles were installed prior to the commencement of works.
• A pre-works inspection was undertaken by accredited agents of the licence.
• A toolbox talk was given to all demolition contractors and site supervisors prior to commencement of works.
• Removal of all roof coverings, hanging tiles and other features deemed suitable for use by bats, supervised by accredited agents of the licence.
Nesting bird checks were conducted at appropriate timings and the presence of a house sparrow (Passer domesticus) nest on one of the buildings paused demolition works. By the time chicks had fledged, the bat maternity season had commenced, so as a precautionary measure, a pre-works dusk emergence survey was carried out on the building to ensure a maternity roost had not gathered (a situation which the current licence would not cover). No maternity roost was observed, and the remaining buildings were stripped under supervision and demolished as normal once they were no longer considered suitable for roosting bats.
Two bats were identified during the supervised works. A single bat, presumed to be a common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) flew from beneath hanging tiles during hand removal and a second common pipistrelle was found by one of the demolition team, during hand removal of hanging tiles. The bat was relocated by one of the accredited agents and placed in one of the pole-mounted bat boxes.
Post construction checks will be completed to ensure all the mitigation detailed in the licence is completed. No post construction monitoring is required as part of the licence.
Planning Condition 19 required a Biodiversity Enhancement Plan to be produced. This was produced and issued by EMEC Ecology in December 2020. It included the following enhancements to be included within the construction:
• 20 integrated bat boxes;
• 12 integrated bird boxes, consisting of 3 designs for different species;
• Invertebrate bricks;
• Mammal connectivity;
• Native species shrub/tree planting.
Protecting our ecology is a major part of our Climate Action Framework which is leading us on the path to a low carbon future. For more information about our framework click here