Keystone Habitats were appointed to deliver a European Protected Species (EPS) licensed mitigation strategy for Great Crested Newts at a proposed quarry extension to Wickwar Quarry, South Gloucestershire.
What did we do?
- Cut and cleared trees and scrub from the quarry extension area.
- Installed 2 kilometres of newt and reptile proof exclusion fencing in accordance with the site EPS licence and to the specification provided in the Great Crested Newt Mitigation Guidelines (2001).
- Installed newt and reptile capture apparatus (pit traps, carpet refugia and reptile refugia) along the entire fence alignment.
- Restored an existing pond and created 2 new ponds followed by aquatic planting.
- Seeded a wildflower meadow and carried out tree and shrub planting around the ponds.
- Undertook destructive searches of a woodland area within the quarry extension area once trapping was complete.
How did we do It?
- We employed GPS technology to map the required fence alignment.
- Access to the site via a neighbouring farm was negotiated to minimise impacts on the working area.
- Ponds were excavated in winter ahead of trapping to provide a receptor site. This was justified on the grounds that no hibernacula were present in the proposed receptor site and Great Crested Newts would be dormant in habitat elsewhere.
- Existing clay was used to line the ponds.
- Hand tools and habitat contractors licensed to handle Great Crested Newts and working as accredited agents under Dormouse licenses were used to conduct tree and scrub clearance.
What were the outcomes?
- The fencing was installed on time in accordance with the EPS programme which enabled trapping to commence at the scheduled time and thereby avoid programme delays.
- Use of clay to line the ponds avoided the need for costly artificial liners.
- All work was delivered on budget and the additional cost of ecological supervision was avoided.
- The presence of nesting birds was addressed in a legally compliant manner without compromising the programme.
- Mitigation measures delivered on site were signed off first time by the licensed ecologist.