Great Crested Newts are a protected species, so when our client embarked on a major mixed-use development on the site of a disused stone quarry, it was imperative that the newts who lived on the existing wasteland be found a suitable home. Ramboll, already involved in the Woodside Quarry development, undertook to support the client in every aspect of this new project. We acted as design engineers, consultants, project managers and contract administrators from planning to construction and monitoring of an appropriate alternative habitat for the newt population.
Initially, we investigated different options for the receptor site, advising our client in discussions with the relevant authorities and specialist bodies. Detailed hydro-geological investigations and long term groundwater monitoring were necessary to confirm the suitability of the various sites proposed. Having undertaken these, we were able to inform our client’s land purchase with details of feasibility and cost.
We worked with ecological specialists to design a cluster of ponds and newt hibernaculas that match the newts’ needs. The design life of the project is necessarily long: the site must function naturally and without maintenance. To achieve this, the new ponds are groundwater-fed. Detailed flood risk assessment was undertaken to ensure the ponds have no negative effect on the overall water regime in the area.
Our close work with the contractor enabled us to resolve issues arising during construction, such as the discovery of fly-tipped asbestos on site. We agreed a bespoke strategy with the Environment Agency, managing risk effectively and without delay. Enhancements to the site include the use of cut and fill in the landscaping scheme and improvements to an existing footpath, appreciated by local residents.