A new housing development by Bloor Homes was proposed on a disused port at Rowhedge, Essex. Access to the port is through a mature woodland along a 1km concrete road that needed to be widened and improved as part of the development. Experienced ecologists from ADAS were commissioned to carry out a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (extended 1 habitat survey and desk study), to identify and map habitats within and around the project area. While construction on the port itself was unlikely to cause any direct adverse impacts on wildlife, access to the new homes would pass through nearby woodlands with an existing port access road needing to be developed to public highway standard.
During the site assessment, a number of habitats in the woodland were found to be suitable for protected species and Great Crested Newts were found to be using two ponds close to the road. As these newts and their breeding sites are protected, action was required to mitigate the impacts of the road widening through the woodland. Under license from Natural England, ADAS ecologists translocated the population of newts away from the road into suitable areas of woodland.
The woodland was protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). ADAS surveyed the area of woodland that needed to be removed for the road construction and produced a woodland management plan showing how the woodland edge would be reinstated and how other areas of the woodland would be re-stocked. Once planning consent was gained, ADAS undertook the removal of 2 hectares of the woodland and erected tree protection fencing around the remaining woodland.
As compensation for the impact on woodland loss on Great Crested Newts (GCN), ADAS has undertaken restoration of three ponds within the woodland by securing TPO consent for the removal of 180 trees within and overshadowing the ponds. These works have enhanced the ponds GCN and extended the life of ponds by creating sections with deeper water.
In early 2016, once the road construction is complete, ADAS will undertake the re-planting of 1 hectare of plant stock in order to create a shrub level woodland edge and an additional 1 hectare of tree stock within the woodland to compensate for development-related tree loss.
The residential development will extend over four years and each winter ADAS will monitor noise levels on the construction site to ensure that levels do not disturb over-wintering birds on the neighbouring Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). ADAS will also monitor winter bird populations on the SSSI to identify any significant changes in bird species composition or population sizes.
During this period our ecology will determine if any further mitigation and/or management plans will be needed, dependent on the outcome of the monitoring data.
Scheme: Rowhedge Wharf
Client: Bloor Homes
Location: South East England
Project type: Residential development
Date: 2014 – ongoing
ADAS Services: Ecology, Licensing support, Woodland Management
Contact David Middleditch at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.