EDUCATION, BRISTOL

Education, Bristol

Ashgrove Ecology has provided ecology advice to support several planning applications for new student accommodation in London, Bristol and Worcester. Our team undertook Preliminary Ecological Appraisals and bat surveys for various brownfield sites around the cities to establish their biodiversity value. Due to the urban nature of the sites and lack of high-quality habitats in the area, we have been able to achieve net gains in biodiversity though incorporating a range of ecology enhancements into the schemes, such as native tree and shrub planting, green walls and living roofs. Working closely with the project teams has allowed us to demonstrate that urban regeneration projects can create new homes for wildlife well as people.

HOUSE EXTENSIONS AND BARN CONVERSIONS

Domestic Projects

Ashgrove Ecology has undertaken Preliminary Bat Roost Appraisals for numerous private householders in the south of England and Wales. These surveys are often required to support planning applications for loft conversions, building extensions or barn conversions. We have pared down the scope of the surveys and reports to focus on the key issues required to inform planning applications for smaller projects, making these surveys more affordable to private householders.

Where only low numbers of common bat species have been found in the buildings, we arranged for the construction works to be done under a low impact bat class licence. This approach avoids the need for a full Natural England licence.

NEW STANTON, DERBYSHIRE

New Stanton, Derbyshire

Ashgrove Ecology was asked to provide ecology advice to inform a planning application for a concrete batching plant on brownfield land in Derbyshire.

The proposed development coincided with previously developed industrial land. Detailed ecology surveys were undertaken to establish the baseline ecology conditions, including: great crested newt eDNA analysis, invertebrate surveys, breeding bird surveys, badger surveys and habitat surveys. The results confirmed that part of the site qualified as open mosaic habitat which is a Habitat of Principal Importance under the NERC Act. Such habitats can support a range of plants and invertebrates and are potentially a constraint to development.

Ashgrove Ecology liaised with the local planning authority to negotiate a package of mitigation and compensation measures. The measures included the retention and enhancement of key areas of the open mosaic habitat and a methodology for translocating and managing other areas of open mosaic habitat to ensure that this habitat will persist within the site for the future and continue to support invertebrates and other wildlife.

BROOMHILL, KENT

Ashgrove Ecology was asked to provide ecology advice for a large commercial development on green field land in Kent.

Due to the location of the site, surveys were undertaken for botany, badgers, reptiles, bats and breeding birds. The habitats on the site included lowland acid grassland, which is a Habitat of Principal Importance under the NERC Act, and potentially a constraint to development.

Ashgrove Ecology undertook a detailed botanical survey to map the plant assemblages across the site in accordance with the Integrated Habitat System. The plant assemblages varied across the site due to variations in soil conditions, management measures and disturbance.  The results were used to identify areas where development could take place without the loss of lowland acid grassland. It also identified areas of semi-improved acid grassland that could be restored to favourable condition.

THE SOLENT, SOUTHAMPTON

Solent

Ashgrove Ecology was asked to provide ecology advice on replacing flood defences along the Southampton coast.

The site coincided with Solent and Southampton Water Special Protection Area and Ramsar, which supports a range of wintering birds. Ashgrove Ecology worked with the project team to develop a method statement to prevent the construction works disturbing birds wintering along the coast.

Once the method statement was accepted; a Habitats Regulations Assessment was prepared to demonstrate that the scheme could be implemented without any likely significant effects on Solent and Southampton Special Protection Area or Ramsar sites.

GREENWICH

Greenwich

Ashgrove Ecology undertook detailed bat surveys to inform an urban regeneration project in Greenwich.

The site comprised brown field land on the banks of The River Lee.  Due to the presence of a number of disused offices and workshops, the potential presence of roosting bats was flagged up at an early stage.

To facilitate the planning process, Ashgrove Ecology undertook detailed diurnal and nocturnal assessments for bats during the year to demonstrate that bats did not roost on the site.

WEST HAMPSTEAD SQUARE, LONDON

West Hampstead Square

Ashgrove Ecology undertook a BREEAM assessment for a new development on brown field land in the Borough of Camden, London.

The site included areas of semi-natural grassland and sycamores that had established on previously developed land. These areas were enhanced by planting new corridors of native wildflowers, grassland and shrubs through the site; incorporating bat boxes into the new buildings; and creating log piles for stag beetles. These measures contributed to local Biodiversity Action Plan targets and gained key Ecology Credits for the BREEAM assessment.

COOPER’S BRIDGE

Coopers Bridge

Ashgrove Ecology provided ecology advice to support a residential development at Cooper’s Bridge, in Hampshire.

The key constraint to the proposed development was the proximity of the site to Wealden Heath Special Protection Area which is designated for the internationally important bird species woodlark, nightjar and Dartford warbler. Ashgrove Ecology’s understanding of the Habitats Regulations and bird ecology was critical in informing a Habitats Regulations Assessment for the proposed development.

A screening exercise was undertaken to demonstrate that the proposed development would have no likely significant effects on the qualifying features of Wealden Heath SPA.

POOLE HARBOUR

Waders at Poole Harbour, Dorset

Ashgrove Ecology was engaged on a planning application for a large residential-led, mixed use development on brown field land at Poole Harbour.

The site lies in an area of urban regeneration, but due to the proximity of Poole Harbour Special Protection Area and Ramsar, ecology was a constraint to development. Due to the number of developments planned for the area, the cumulative effects of tall buildings on birds was a planning consideration.  Ashgrove Ecology undertook a series of surveys to map high tide wintering roost sites and flight lines for key bird species, including shelduck, avocet, black-tailed godwit and little egret.

Ashgrove Ecology worked closely with the Local Planning Authority and Natural England to ensure that the cumulative effects of the projects on birds were robustly assessed and any adverse impacts on were addressed in the planning application.

This data formed the basis of an Ecological Impact Assessment and a screening assessment for a Habitats Regulations Assessment for the scheme.