Swindon - Great Crested Newt

Ecological Assessment

Swindon 22 March 2018

The proposed works will involve construction of residential housing, a primary & secondary school, a village centre, associated infrastructure, and large areas of green space primarily alongside the River Cole.

Swindon GSE ecological assessment

What We Did

Enzygo undertook a suite of ecological assessments in accordance with current guidance as stipulated by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, including: Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA), Hedgerow & Tree Assessments, River Corridor Survey, Great Crested Newt (GCN), Badger, Bat, Bird, Reptile, White-clawed Crayfish, Otter, Water Vole, and Dormouse Surveys. The scope of these were determined following consultation with the local planning authority, biological records centre, and relevant third parties, to reduce the risk of objections during determination of planning.

Subsequently, technical reports were produced in accordance with BS42020:2013 Biodiversity – Code of Practice for Planning and Development (BSI, 2013), which included a concise Environmental Statement. This provided details of mitigation strategies to demonstrate no residual impact to protected species/habitats, and enhancements to demonstrate a biodiversity net gain, in accordance with National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Local Planning Policy.

Challenges We Faced

From the outset we identified a number of challenges presented by this site, the needs of the client, and the expectations of the Local Planning Authority. For example, the balance between the retention of existing ecological features/areas of green infrastructure, and the provision of a feasible and workable residential development that maximised the sites potential.

Additional challenges included the need to create distinct wildlife areas in accordance with the local planning authority Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) whilst providing amenity space for new residents and the surrounding community. Our technical expertise in this area allowed a clear and acceptable design to be created, which met these needs.

What We Achieved

Robust and defendable technical assessments were provided which allowed a clear site layout and landscape design to be submitted, that considered all necessary ecological aspects. All potential impacts/effects to identified ecological features could be adequately mitigated for within the site design. Client requirements were met, and the concerns of the local planning authority were addressed to their fullest. Sufficient details provided to satisfy statutory consultees such as Natural England for licensing purposes post-planning determination. Planning permission pending.

Swindon GSE landscape design

Further Work

We will continue to work closely with this client and local planning authority, to instigate any Phase 2 survey and mitigation requirements post-planning determination, and in support of a full planning application. Experience gained on this project, and clear demonstration of skill and competency, has led to the commission of technical assessments on a further 2 similar residential sites within the surrounding area.