Site: Tone Mill, Tonedale, Wellington
Services: Reptile presence and likely absence survey, reptile population estimate survey, reptile mitigation strategy and method statement, receptor site identification and enhancement, reptile trapping and translocation programme, and reptile destructive search.
Objective: To establish the presence or likely absence of reptiles within the site, assess the potential impacts of the development on the reptile species present and determine and implement an appropriate mitigation strategy to ensure that the proposed development was able to proceed in accordance with project timescales.
Outcome: The preliminary ecological appraisal confirmed the presence of suitable habitats for reptiles. Subsequent artificial refuge surveys confirmed the presence of low populations of grass snakes (Natrix natrix) and slow-worms (Anguis fragilis).
In consultation with the client and design team it was apparent that reptiles could not be retained within the site. A suitable mitigation strategy was rapidly devised and approved by Taunton Deane Borough Council. The identified receptor site within close proximity to the site was made suitable for reptiles and a method statement complete with detailed site plans were issued to the client and the instructed ground works contractors.
The trapping and translocation programme entailed the clearance of unsuitable reptile habitat. Exclusion fencing was only installed around the key reptile habitats significantly reducing the length of fencing required and costs incurred. A total of 22 slow-worms were successfully trapped and translocated to the receptor site. The rate of capture was significantly increased by deploying a high density of artificial refuges and through the supervised removal of habitat in conjunction with remediation contractors. As a result the mitigation works were complete before the 31st October and the development was able to proceed in accordance with desired timescales.
The redevelopment of the Tone Mill site, identified as a high priority under the Taunton Deane Borough Council Local Plan, has assisted in satisfying the local demand for housing and will contribute to the economic regeneration of the local area.