ecology habitats marine

Vegetation Clearance and Herptile Fencing

Birse Civils

Keystone Habitats were commissioned to undertake vegetation clearance and install herptile (amphibians and reptiles) proof fencing and newt capture apparatus for 2 phases of road widening along an 8 kilometer stretch of the A13 in Essex in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

What did we do?

  • Cut and cleared dense Blackthorn from an 8 kilometre long road verge during the bird nesting season.
  • Installed 8 kilometres of newt and reptile proof exclusion fencing (a range of vertical and angled) in accordance with the site European Protected Species (EPS) licence and to the specification provided in the Great Crested Newt Mitigation Guidelines.
  • Installed newt capture apparatus (pit-traps and carpet refugia) along the entire fence alignment.
  • Carried out vegetation management once the fencing was in place to ensure it remains effective as a barrier to newts and reptiles.

How did we do It?

  • Extensive project planning was employed prior to commencement to ensure the efficient/effective delivery of all tasks.
  • Keystone Habitats recommended that the specification of the fencing membrane be altered to a heavier gauge material.
  • Our ecologically trained Habitats Contract Managers conducted nesting bird surveys prior to each section of scrub removal.  Where active nests were found a 5 meter ‘no-go’ buffer was created and the nest monitored to assess when the young had fledged and vegetation removal could be completed.
  • Vegetation clearance was conducted using hand tools such as brushcutters and chain saws to minimise ecological impacts.  All brash was chipped on site.
  • Banksmen were used to protect operatives working on the road verges.

What were the outcomes?

  • The fencing was installed in a 4 week period to enable newt/reptile trapping to commence on time and thereby avoid programme delays.
  • All work was delivered on budget.
  • Road closure of the A13 was avoided during the entire working programme.
  • Reduced fence maintenance costs resulted from use of the heavier gauge fence membrane.
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