Assessment and Mitigation
Where land use change could have an adverse effect on wildlife, impacts can be minimized by effective mitigation measures. This can include translocation programmes, habitat creation and habitat restoration. In addition, ongoing monitoring of mitigation measures is crucial to measuring their effectiveness, and to comply with recent changes in European legislation.
Works we are experienced in undertaking include:
- Preparation of Environmental Impact Assessment
- Ecological input into development design
- Mitigation design and impact
- Habitat design, restoration and creation
- EcoHomes Assessment and design
- Expert witness statements
- Production of site management plans
- Ecological watching briefs
- Project monitoring
- Advice on ecological/wildlife policy and guidance
Examples of mitigation DWC have undertaken include:
Reptile Survey and Translocation: Cattedown, Plymouth - Signpost Housing Association
A site situated in the urban location of Plymouth had been identified as a potential reptile habitat. Devon Wildlife Consultants carried out a reptile survey using Froglife (1998) standards. Slowworms were identified during the survey, which led to the development of a translocation programme that was subsequently approved by English Nature. The slowworms underwent translocation to a undisturbed site nearby.
Environmental Impact Assessment: Alverdiscott to North Tawton, Western Power Distribution
DWC has recently completed a full EIA to evaluate the potential impact of a proposed overhead transmission line. Mitigation will include ecological and archeological watching briefs and landscape enhancement.
Reptile Survey and Translocation: Development Sites at Saltash
During the summer of 2007 DWC translocated a record number of reptiles from two small sites in Saltash, Cornwall. The Guinness Trust are in the process of developing the two small urban sites which lie close to the A38 at Saltash for affordable housing. The sites have not been managed in some years, and were dominated by scrub and rank grassland. During an Extended Phase 1 Habitat survey which DWC carried out at the sites, the potential presence of reptiles was identified. The Guinness Trust commissioned a reptile survey, and slowworms were recorded on each of the two sites, with common lizards additionally recorded at the larger of the two areas. In order to allow development to continue without contravention of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, a translocation programme was undertaken in order to relocate all reptiles to a safe habitat prior to commencing development. Reptile proof fencing was installed to prevent further colonisation of the site by reptiles and artificial refugia were laid. In April 2007 DWC began to visit the site daily (providing weather conditions were suitable) to capture the reptiles which were located beneath/upon any artificial or natural refugia. The refugia provide cover for the reptiles, whilst also warming in the sun. The slowworms and lizards bask beneath or upon the refugia to increase their body temperature. The captured reptiles were taken to Churchtown Farm Community Nature Reserve where the mosaic of habitats and sympathetic management provide suitable foraging, basking and hibernation areas for reptiles. DWC continued to visit the site until September 2007, and once the translocation was at an end we trawled through our data and calculated that a total of 1031 reptiles had been relocated from the development sites! This is by far the largest number of reptiles DWC have ever translocated, and it is fairly safe to say that we knew the roads to Saltash like the back of our hands when the project finally drew to a close