Ricardo provides crucial ecological support for coastal infrastructure project

Ricardo provides crucial ecological support for coastal infrastructure project
18 April 2019

Ricardo provides crucial ecological support for coastal infrastructure project

During the 2018 field survey season, Ricardo’s ecology team supported a large coastal infrastructure project in South East England by carrying out surveys of herptiles (reptiles and amphibians) and a number of other protected species. The surveys aimed to preserve the conservation status of species like the great crested newt (GCN), while providing our client with practical and pragmatic solutions to facilitate their planning application.

The site had an extensive ditch network, isolated waterbodies and various suitable terrestrial habitats that needed assessing. To survey the reptiles, we set out refuges made of roofing felt and corrugated metal, checking them regularly to observe and identify reptiles basking. The GCN surveys required a range of techniques that included sampling waterbodies for GCN DNA and more traditional methods such as bottle trapping, torchlight survey, netting and egg searching, all performed under licence.

One of our licensed GCN surveyors undertaking surveys in South East England

The GCN surveys identified the presence of the amphibian in several waterbodies, and the reptile surveys also indicated a wide distribution of reptile species including common lizards, slow worms and grass snakes.

These findings were crucial in developing a combined mitigation strategy to avoid or reduce impacts to key ecological features such as GCN, reptiles and other sensitive species as a result of the infrastructure project. The GCN findings provided comprehensive information to facilitate an application for a European Protected Species Mitigation Licence from Natural England. Without this, the development could not proceed.

Slow worms were identified throughout the site in habitats such as long grassland and scrub margins

The 2019 herptile survey season has now started and our services can be vital in enabling your development proposal to progress smoothly. Where possible, we aim to use methods such as environmental DNA (eDNA) to deliver fast results, minimise expenditure, and offer thoughtful solutions to conserve the natural flora and fauna of a site – while taking the needs of the development into consideration. 

Our ecology team is ready to carry out ecological surveys for a range of clients given our experience to support developments for housing, aviation, infrastructure, renewables, utilities, mining and leisure. They are available now to apply their expertise to your project.
As well as undertaking surveys for herptiles, we have considerable experience and expertise in conducting the Ecological Clerk of Works role, providing on-site supervision of site clearance and construction to ensure legal compliance.
To book a survey or to find out how else we can support your development ambitions while protecting and safeguarding biodiversity, please contact Peter Mulder, Head of Ecology at Ricardo (peter.mulder@ricardo.com).
To learn about the upcoming ecological surveying seasons (including herptiles), which could prove critical to your development programme, download our complimentary ecological survey calendar

Click here to learn more about all of our ecology services