REC Ecology was commissioned to undertake an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of a section of the Hertford Loop railway line, a 24-mile section of the East Coast Line; starting at Hertford North Station (Hertfordshire) and ending at Bowes Park Station (Greater London). The site needed to be surveyed as several overhead line equipment pylons needed to be replaced and concerns had been raised in regards potential ecological impacts.
Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey
The Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey consisted of a desktop data search, site walkover, production of habitat maps and a report. A number of Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey walkovers were undertaken by one of REC’s qualified ecologists in February 2014. These identified the habitats present on site (and on adjacent sites where relevant), assessed the relevant habitats for their potential to support UK and/or EU protected species and identified any additional ecological surveys that may be required.
Due to the size of the site, the clustered nature of the pylons that needed replacement and the nature of the work, it was decided that the site would be divided into ten areas and a detailed walkover and report would be produced for each of those group. The areas between groups were rapidly inspected to provide information about the presence of some targeted species. This focussed solution was identified to both limit costs to the client and ensure timely completion of the surveys in line with the proposed programme.
Identification of Habitats
Several habitats with the potential to support bats, badgers, dormice, great crested newts, nesting birds and reptiles were identified during the survey. In addition, the presence of invasive species (such as Japanese knotweed) was also recorded. However, we advised the client that most species surveys could be avoided in this situation if reasonable avoidance measures were put in place prior to the start of the work, allowing the project to proceed without significant constraint.
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