From pigeon’s haven to people’s home
Disused buildings not properly sealed off can turn into pigeon’s home as this species likes dark areas for nesting.
But, they can also be used by other species such as bats, black redstarts or swifts!
With a shortage of land to develop on in towns and a growing demand for flat and houses, our team has worked with developers to give them a second chance through refurbishment or demolish them and build new homes.
Our contribution included a Phase 1 Habitat Survey, specie surveys (when necessary), mitigation and biodiversity enhancement advices as well as Code for Sustainable Homes reports.
We worked with the other teams involved in those projects to deliver the project on time.
A track of minor repair work...or not!
Our work for Network Rail involves checking numerous culverts, bridges and stations scattered around the country which are in need of minor repair work such as filling gaps in between bricks or repainting. However, what sometimes start as minor repair work turns into large repairs when additional work is found necessary. To ensure we minimise cost for our client, we always carry out an initial assessment of the site which include mapping the site’s habitats with a 2m radius at least, carrying out HSI and DBA. The results of the HSI and DBA are always included in our reports but, if we only need to produce an ecological assessment, we will keep the map safe in case a more detailed report becomes needed. Those extra 5 to 10 minutes on site became handy on a number of occasions!
Bat where are you though?
We often work with our colleague in SI to make sure their boreholes/window samples and other ground digging needs can be accommodated while not impacting on a site’s wildlife.
We surveyed a 3 span bridge in a rural environment which showed signs of successive repairs as well as a similar bridge located approximately 10m away (and both above the same stream).
The bridge on site had one long and deep crack which extended through one of the pier.
The other bridge had numerous cracks which appeared to be deep and possibly leading to chambers.
Both bridges were assessed to have bat roosting and hibernating potential and as such we recommended additional survey.
As the SI team were going back on site the following week, we went back with them. After checking the cracks with an endoscope (and not finding any bats), we discussed their plans.
The location of holes in the piers was agreed and reasonable avoidance measures (RAMs) implemented to avoid impacts on the bat potential roosting sites.
We also recommended to survey both bridges at the same time to determine the presence of roosting bats.
We also provided RAMs to protected possible great crested newts and reptiles from disturbance, injury and killing as the site surrounding offered hibernating potential for all of them.
We were commissioned to assess a disused teaching building by the Hampshire Council who wanted to demolish it to turn it into a private property.
As the building was surrounded by other residential buildings as well as a forest, we recommended an additional survey to determine if bats were present.
Bats were observed flying above the building and it was clear that the building was on bat’s commuting route.
Advice to minimise disturbance to bat’s route were given as well as RAMs to avoid impacting on other species and biodiversity enhancement measures to maintain and increase this site potential for commuting and foraging wildlife.