Construction projects must always be conscious of their ecological surroundings and make efforts to minimise their impact on local wildlife.
See the examples below for how one site addressed this:
- The project was located on a university campus with one of the largest populations of Great Crested Newts (a protected species) in the region.
- Working with the university and Natural England, the site decided to try a new approach to dealing with the newts, with an emphasis on making the process less constraining for the project and better for the long-term viability of the local newt population.
- The result was an ‘ecology masterplan’ created in collaboration with the university and external consultants. They drew up an ideal network of ponds, hedges and woodlands across the whole campus, negotiating with the farm manager and other stakeholders as they went, to come up with a list of projects that would most efficiently contribute towards making the best newt habitat network.
- The project team were then provided with a menu of possible ecology projects from this plan, and were supported to choose those projects that were most deliverable.
- The masterplan was then used in negotiations with Natural England, securing support from their local Senior Advisor and achieving a flexible approach for the project team in the resulting agreement– the habitat could be built further from the site that was usual to achieve a more ecologically ideal location, and on a time frame that best suited the project. License documentation was turned around promptly, and relocation was allowed to finish in 30 days instead of the usual 90.
- To add further value, the University involved graduate ecologists from the Notts Wildlife Trust for construction and are monitoring the colonisation of ponds with students. This created a learning opportunity and again reduced cost to the project.
Through working with ecological stakeholders, the contractor was able to come up with a mitigation project that saved time and resources while also achieving a better outcome for the newts, who have already colonised the ponds and caused no issues on the site itself.
Monitor report. Nottingham Trent University. Nottinghamshire. August 2017.