Taylor Wimpey Site – Wales
The site was an area of amenity grassland bordered by existing housing estates and farmland. Taylor Wimpey hold outline planning permission to develop the site for housing and requested an Ecological Appraisal to support an application for detailed permission. The initial Phase 1 Survey identified that areas of bramble scrub and loose rubble around the site were suitable for common reptiles so I carried out a survey to determine presence/absence and was able to confirm that there was no evidence of reptiles on site.
Following a successful application for detailed planning permission Taylor Wimpey asked for one additional piece of work, an assessment of available ecology credits under the Code for Sustainable Homes. I was able to determine that the site could get up to three credits as a result of the initial low ecological interest of the site, protection of trees on the boundary and landscape planting.
Amphibian and Reptile Translocation – S. E. England
A major project to restore a former clay pit to agricultural land and secure unstable banks required the translocation of over 5000 great crested newts and large numbers of other amphibians, grass snakes and common lizards to an adjacent nature site and habitat improvements at the receptor site. My role involved acting as an Agent under the Natural England licence for great crested newts, managing the translocation programme including organising staff and resources and reporting progress to the client and licence holder.
The Stratford City shopping centre development will provided retail and leisure space within the 2012 Olympic park in Stratford, London. The site includes an area of wetland that will be preserved and managed for both wildlife and rainwater runoff from the site. As part of the management of this area I am providing an ecological watching brief for dredging works that will create new areas of open water and lead to a long-term improvement of the habitat.
This Environment Agency project aims to create new wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities in the Beam River open area in Dagenham. Acting as an ecological watching brief my role includes ensuring the effectiveness of ecological mitigation and providing an on site presence for work that may affect protected species including nesting birds, great crested newts and water voles.
Working with a team of ecologists who are conducting a full suite of ecological surveys for a major new residential development in the Bicester area as part of the governments Eco-towns programme.
The Lafarge cement works in Northfleet, Kent contain a disused chalk quarry that is the proposed location of a construction depot for the Crossrail project. In order to prepare for this project a number of environmental studies are being carried out at the site. My role was to carry out a survey of the site for common lizards.
As part of a prison expansion programme the Ministry of Justice is constructing a new self contained prison within the existing Belmarsh prison grounds. The prison facilities will lie inside the existing prison wall in areas without ecological interest but car parking and buildings for staff will be located in the surrounding vegetated grounds.
From the results of an existing Phase 1 Habitat Survey and background information I identified a need for amphibian surveys to determine the presence or absence of great crested newts, bat surveys of trees proposed for felling and consultation with WSAtkins surveyors working on another prison project on an adjacent site.
The results of the surveys and consultation were used to develop a site management plan to meet planning conditions. This was a challenging piece of work as the Planning Authority required provisions for water voles found on the adjacent site to expand, while the Ministry of Justice were unable to accommodate extensive ditches for security and operation reasons. Working with landscape architects from HLM we were able to design a wetlands area that provided suitable habitat for water vole expansion and for the smooth newts known to be present. The plan also included retention of trees and shrubs where possible and the provision of bat and bird boxes to compensate for the areas lost
The landscape design was combined with a five-year plan setting out site maintenance and monitoring measures including an initial year of monitoring to confirm the absence of American mink.
Jacobs acted as ecological advisors taking this scheme through public inquiry. My role was to produce an ecological impact assessment for the likely effects of the proposed scheme on otters and to discuss with design engineers and others how to integrate mitigation in the form of under road mammal passages. This was followed by coordinating further surveys to provide a pre-construction baseline for future monitoring. On the basis of these surveys an otter resting site was identified under a proposed bridge and I was able to identify that while the couch would not be destroyed a disturbance licence would be required from the Welsh Assembly Government and to prepare a licence application for submission.
The scheme received ministerial approval in January 2010 with the contributions from Jacobs ecologists being singled out for praise by the Inspector.
I initially became involved in this scheme conducting surveys for otters, badgers and water voles for the Environmental Impact Assessment. Following designation of a prefered route I was then one of a team of Jacobs ecologists who provided on site ecological advice during geotechnical investigations.
Cusuco National Park, Honduras
Operation Wallacea have operated in Cusuco for several years providing ongoing biodiversity monitoring as well as opportunities for students and support for the local economy.
As a volunteer Research Assistant I was involved in monitoring of large mammals through transect surveys for field signs and in an experimental test of the relative efficiency of Freya traps and Sherman traps for small mammals.
Kim Hy Nature Reserve
The proposal for a nature reserve in the Kim Hy area was already approved by the government of Vietnam when Frontier became involved. The role of Frontier Research Assistant was to gather baseline ecological information that helped to identify the best boundaries for the reserve. During this work the presence of eastern black-crested gibbon Hylobates concolor was confirmed for the first time since 1983.
The results of the surveys were published in the Kim Hy Proposed Nature Reserve Biodiversity Survey and Conservation Evaluation 2001.
Mammal surveys in Gwent
Carried out and reported an otter survey of Magor Marsh nature reserve for Gwent Wildlife Trust and assisted in small mammal trapping at the same site.
In 2001 Sheffield Wildlife Trust leased nine sites from Sheffield City Council and obtained lottery funding to manage these as nature reserves. As Survey Assistant I was responsible for identifying the ecological interest on the reserves from existing records and planning and prioritising survey work. The planning of the work was complicated as an outbreak of foot and mouth disease resulted in the closure of many of the public footpaths that provided access to the sites.