Creating Soft Estate Habitat


Background

A-one+ were given the opportunity to deliver a habitat creation scheme on soft estate adjacent to a busy transport corridor.

Solution

The Potteric Carr habitat connectivity project is a unique scheme driven by green infrastructure and ecosystem services principles. The aim of the scheme is to reduce the impact of the road network on Potteric Carr by lessening visual impact, reducing run off of pollutants and mitigating movement of birds, insects and mammals while undergoing improvements to the resilience of the network running next to the location.

The scheme proposals were subject to an ecological and landscape assessment and were positively received by statutory environmental bodies with additional measures factored into scheme design through consultation.

Potteric Carr demonstrates a number of practical examples of green infrastructure principles. For example; no waste material was permitted to leave site, drainage ditch arisings were removed and spread adjacent to their ditch, tree sections were felled and left to dry by windrowing creating habitat piles for invertebrates.

Embankments now compliment the nature reserve, creating bio-diverse corridors for visitors to the site and lessening the impact of the road network.

The scheme also supports the objectives of the Government’s Bio-diversity 2020 strategy through;

  • 1.5 hectares of woodland thinning, incorporating specific measures to enhance willow tit habitat
  • 1800 bare root shrub planting to increase ground level species diversity
  • Grassland pockets created
  • 32,000 wildflower plugs planted
  • 1.8km drainage ditches cleared creating enhanced water vole habitat

water vole environmental      environmental biomass harvesting

The challenge on this project was overcoming differing interpretations of environmental legislation. This was resolved through driving enhanced dialogue with stakeholders. A revised scope of works was still delivered on schedule achieving all objectives despite having to incorporate potentially risky changes such as moving the planting of 6,290 wildflower plugs to prevent disturbance of hibernating reptiles.

Potteric Carr will be the catalyst for future works combining bio-diverse soft estate maintenance with green infrastructure to create a more harmonised environment.

We achieved this by training our teams to embed sustainability into projects, providing support through specialists and consulting with the necessary bodies when making decisions.