Case study: Reptile survey and fencing

Slow worm under refuge

An eco­log­i­cal sur­vey is fre­quently only the start of a process, and will often iden­tify a series of mea­sures nec­es­sary to pro­tect the con­ser­va­tion value of a site.  Our prac­ti­cal con­tract­ing expe­ri­ence means that we can offer both ser­vices from one organ­i­sa­tion, reduc­ing dupli­ca­tion and con­sul­tancy fees.

Rep­tile sur­veys are under­taken in the sum­mer months, and require a num­ber of site vis­its.  Sheets of roof­ing felt are attrac­tive to rep­tiles, as they warm up in sunny weather.  If rep­tiles are present, pro­tec­tion mea­sures are often required, to keep them away from con­struc­tion work.  Some­times con­struct­ing new habi­tats is also a valu­able tool; this may be as sim­ple as stone or log piles.

Hir­waun, in south Wales, is a site for a pro­posed waste recy­cling and energy cen­tre.  The fence was required to pre­vent rep­tiles from adja­cent habi­tats stray­ing into the pro­posed build­ing site.  Plas­tic roll is buried sev­eral inches into the ground, in order to pre­vent rep­tiles from bur­row­ing under­neath.  As well as erect­ing a rep­tile fence we also under­took stock fenc­ing, as horses escap­ing from a neigh­bour­ing farm had dam­aged an ear­lier rep­tile fence (not ours!).  In this case we were able to respond quickly and travel, to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age and also deal with the orig­i­nal prob­lem: a badly dam­aged stock fence.

Fenc­ing in var­i­ous forms is an essen­tial eco­log­i­cal mit­i­ga­tion tool, pre­vent­ing wild ani­mals enter­ing a site, and also ensur­ing con­struc­tion machin­ery is kept out of sen­si­tive areas.  Care­ful plan­ning to pre­vent dam­age in the first place is the best prac­tice.  Rein­state­ment, or cre­ation of new habi­tats are impor­tant, but take much longer to be fully effective.

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