Stoke Prior Project
Client: Barratt Homes
Location: Stoke Prior, Worcestershire
Service: Habitat Creation
Before development fo a new housing estate could begin, JPR needed to be brought in to organise the mitigation of an armada of protected newts.
Great crested newt mitigation for Barratt Homes including vegetation clearance, newt receptor pond creation and semi-permanent newt fencing.
This is a complex, post-industrial site where Barratt Homes are developing a large housing estate. It contains a significant population of great crested newts and some perfect newt habitat. JPR have implemented the site’s mitigation strategy for Barratts, developed by the Environmental Dimension Partnership (EDP).
JPR carried out the ecological plans developed by EDP so that Barratts could discharge their planning conditions to the satisfaction of the planning authority.
Chemical waste on site:
The site threw up more challenges than just newts. Having been both a Victorian salt works and later a latex factory, there was the potential for chemical and other waste in the excavated soil. To minimise the risk, JPR worked alongside a geological engineer to complete all the excavations required as safely as possible.
The first stage was the clearance of trees and scrub. This allowed for the creation of ponds to receive newts that were to be moved from other parts of the site to be developed. Because of the large numbers of newts, we used hand tools for vegetation clearance and kept all vehicles on the hard standing. We were also tasked with leaving chippings and logs onsite but without creating new newt habitat. With our extensive experience of site preparation, particularly where there are protected species, we were able to clear the site quickly so that the client could keep to their development schedule.
Creation of receptor ponds:
A corner of the site will be home to all the Great Crested Newts with the creation of the new receptor ponds. This required a destructive search within the proposed working zones and a check for underground services which we undertook (all our staff have CAT scanning training). The newly installed ponds contained a large quantity of suspended solids so we used a product to bind the solids together. They have now cleared and are providing excellent new habitat.
To stop newts travelling across the development areas, newt exclusion fencing had to be installed around an old brick reservoir. There was a very narrow line into which the fencing could go, with steep slopes on either side. It was just possible to use a trencher along the length of the fence. We also installed semi-permanent newt exclusion fencing around other areas to isolate them from development works.
JPR’s management of the project meant the mitigation works were completed on time and to budget which allowed the client to continue with their development plans. The works have also enhanced the environment for protected species and for people who will live in the new housing.