Meeting the needs of construction and wildlife
Have you recently enjoyed cruising up and down the new section of the A30? Did you know that the needs for wildlife were met before, during and after the scheme finished? You are probably unaware of the wildlife mitigation in place all around you as you drive along admiring how much quicker your journey seems to be! Which is the idea really….!
CEC were invited to join Kier Construction and Infrastructure’s project team for the construction of the new A30 Temple to Higher Carblake road scheme, on the strength of our track record in delivering similar projects, our local knowledge of ecology and our connections with Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Kier needed a team of ecologists to help them meet their legal and policy obligations in delivering the road scheme, whilst ensuring that ecological mitigation was undertaken successfully.
The project was a ‘Design and Build’, which presented particular challenges in terms of design changes during construction, which resulted in the need to change ecological mitigation. CEC’s experience of working on projects with similar issues (e.g. dormouse licensing and Japanese knotweed), meant that we were able to respond quickly and decisively to design changes and to come up with solutions that were achievable within available timescales.
We successfully obtained several licence modifications for work affecting the dormouse habitat a timely manner, providing Natural England (NE) with clear information on the changes, new mitigation proposals and subsequent residual impacts, so that NE were confident to issue the modified licences. CEC also obtained two badger licences (one for sett closure, the other for disturbance) and carried out sett closure within available timescales. We liaised closely with Kier on methodologies for dealing with Japanese knotweed, for which limited information had been available prior to construction, ensuring that most of the material could be kept within the site, thereby reducing costs compared to all material being disposed of off -site. In addition to this, CEC provided ecological watching brief for birds and reptiles where works affected suitable areas of habitat.
CEC maintained strong communication with Kier throughout their 18 month involvement on the project, ensuring that frank and open dialogue was maintained, which helped to ensure that any emerging issues could be dealt with in a timely manner.
CEC are now undertaking some monitoring work of the scheme, including monitoring dormouse boxes which were installed as part of the mitigation. As early as June 2017, a dormouse, and several dormouse nests were found in the new dormouse boxes, just beyond the scheme extents, showing that dormice are still present in the area after construction. This goes to prove that done correctly, with the right team and expertise on board, major infrastructure projects such as this one can be successful in providing alternative habitats for wildlife.