DCE Ltd was commissioned to carry out great crested newt and dormouse surveys, and to design and implement mitigation measures, on the site of a large former opencast mine site which is currently being redeveloped in Glamorgan.
Surveys by DCE Ltd and others identified the presence of dormouse in woodlands and hedgerows on the site. DCE Ltd in conjunction with Davies Landscape Architects designed a mitigation strategy to compensate for habitat loss, and to allow continued occupation and movement within the site by this species. New woodlands, scrub and hedgerows will be created in suitable areas of the site to replace any actual or potential dormouse habitat lost to the development, and to provide new, additional habitat. Some sections of species-rich hedgerow requiring removal removed for development were carefully transplanted into areas where dormice occur, and successfully integrated into the existing hedgerow network. Management of woodland and scrub will take place across the whole site to encourage dormice, wherever this can be achieved without conflict with other landscape or conservation objectives. Mitigation for habitats lost through the construction of a new motorway link road will include habitat creation, nestbox provision and the re-establishing and maintenance of hedgerow links underneath a new slip-road which will enter the site. A number of innovative, sustainable features have been designed for the latter, including the use of Solartube lighting through the slip-road surface to conduct sunlight to the woodlands growing underneath, and the use of surface run-off water for irrigation.
Great crested newt
Surveys by DCE Ltd and others have also highlighted the presence of GCN on the site. DCE Ltd designed a mitigation strategy for the development works based primarily on ‘fence, trap and clear’ (FTC) operations carried out in the pre-construction period wherever the primary infrastructure routes pass through or near to areas identified as comprising key habitats for GCN, and ‘species deterrence’ measures elsewhere. Following the completion of FTC operations, construction works in the key habitat areas has also been preceded by ‘destructive searching’, with the top 250mm of soils being sequentially removed using a tined bucket, under the supervision of trained herptile workers who rescue and remove any remaining newts which may be encountered. The creation of new ponds and other habitats suitable for GCN are also a key part of the mitigation strategy.