Environment

Minimising impact

The A6MARR project has undertaken an extensive suite of ecological and environmental surveys, some of which are on-going, to ensure that appropriate control measures are implemented  during construction to minimise the impact of the project on the ecology, environment and local residents.

Protected species are a key focus of our work during the construction of the scheme. Our work complies with national legislation and is undertaken in accordance with the various species specific ecological mitigation strategies which form part of the approved planning permission from the three local authorities.

A  full  time  Environmental Manager, supported by  a  team  of  ecologists,  is based  on  site throughout the construction works. The Environmental manager supports the Project Manager in ensuring that all ecological mitigation strategies are correctly implemented.

Environmental mitigation measures to be created and implemented on site

As part of the works, we are creating and implementing the following environmental mitigation measures on site:

  • 11 habitat creation areas
  • 21 newt ponds created, 3 ponds restored
  • 6 barn owl boxes
  • 35 bat boxes and bat hops
  • 10 per hectare bird boxes
  • Mammal tunnels
  • 2 otter passages
  • Acoustic fencing
  • Tree and hedgerow planting

The landscape mitigation proposals that were submitted as part of the planning application for the scheme in October 2013 can be found on the A6MARR website.

The Soft Landscape Specification (PDF 58Kb) sets out the detailed operations required to establish all new planting and grasslands and maintain their species composition.

Site clearance works

All site clearance works are controlled by the Ecological Permit to Work system which captures any specific requirements detailed within the various species Mitigation Strategies and any licence requirements for protected species. All areas subject to site clearance are assessed by an ecologist prior to any works commencing to identify any ecological restrictions identified during survey works and to ensure there has been no change. Any restricted areas are being clearly marked out as “out of bounds” – this includes any trees or hedgerows with nests and those identified as being potential bat roosts.

All ecological restrictions are detailed upon the Ecological Permit to Work which is briefed to the site clearance teams by the ecologist prior to works commencing. Where deemed necessary the clearance works are undertaken under an Ecological Watching Brief in line with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) guidelines. These actions are all undertaken in accordance with the various species specific ecological mitigation strategies which form part of the approved planning permission from the three local authorities.

Should any nests be encountered they will be cordoned off and monitored by the ecologist on site, works will not re-commence within the cordoned area until the chicks have fledged. Trees identified as being potential bat roosts will not be felled until a permit from Natural England is in place. Once the licence has been received trees will be inspected by an ecologist and soft felled as detailed within the licence.  Soft felling of trees involves climbing the tree and removing branches one at a time. The branches are lowered to the ground via a rope system. Once on the ground the branches are inspected by the Ecologist to check for the presence of bats.

All badger sett closures are to be carried out under a licence issued from Natural England. Up to three main setts will be closed as a result of the A6MARR scheme, these will only  be  closed  after  a  replacement  sett  has  been  built  and  the  badgers  will  be encouraged to use the replacement setts.  The  permanent  works  includes  the  installation  of  badger  fencing.    The  primary purpose of this fencing is to prevent access to the live carriageway and “funnel” the badgers towards the proposed mammal tunnels.

Ecological surveys have identified the presence of Great Crested Newts (GCN) in locations across the site. The GCN mitigation measures being implemented are approved and licenced by Natural England and are part of the Planning Conditions for the scheme. The mitigation measures include the installation of GCN fencing in locations where GCN have been identified followed by a period of trapping and translocation of the GCN to alternative habitats.

The scheme involves the loss of 0.08 hectares of a total of 2.3 hectares of Ancient Woodland at Carr Wood. We recognise the need to be particularly sensitive when clearing this 0.08 hectare area of Ancient Woodland. Our mitigation measures for this area take into account the presence of protected species which have been identified during ecological surveys undertaken prior to construction work commencing.

The Ancient Woodland outside of the development footprint has been fenced off  and is out of bounds except for tree trunk relocation.  This  is  to  minimise  the  impact  of  potential  additional  footfall  damaging  and  destroying  the  ground  cover within the Ancient Woodland which often comprise of rare species.  Trees  within  the  Ancient Woodland  that  are  felled  are  to  be  left  in  situ  where  they  have  been  felled  for  2  days  to  allow  any invertebrates and fungi spores to move out of the trunk. The trunks are then to be moved to within the remaining Ancient Woodland to add to the existing habitats – creating a deadwood area which is hugely beneficial to fungi and invertebrates.