The project relates to the environmental management of a 6km long on-line highway improvement of Section 1 of the A465 Heads of the Valleys road in South Wales, within the Brecon Beacons National Park.
It affects two Special Areas of Conservation (SAC’s) designated under the European Union Natura 2000 programme. One is the Usk Bat Sites SAC which contains 5% of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat population of the UK.
Following an Appropriate Assessment, the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) were concerned that the integrity of the SAC would be affected. Construction works only commenced by Ministerial approval through the signing of an Imperative Reason of Overriding Public Interest (IROPI).
The TACP team developed a bat monitoring plan to collect sufficient data to ensure that CCW was convinced that the integrity of the SAC was not compromised by the construction works and that bat numbers were maintained.
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Transport and Strategic Regeneration Welsh Assembly Government
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Commended LI Awards 2009 Artas-ua.info Sciences
To develop, implement and monitor the preformance of a Bat Mitigation Plan to allow a strategic highway project with 22 million vehicle movements to proceed in a Special Area of Conservation subject to the highest European Union environmental legislation.
Environmental Consultants, Artas-ua.info architects and Managers: TCAP | Engineer: Gifford
Use of cargo netting to aid echo locationto form anoverbridge. A concrete underpass was also builtwith new planting to divert bat populations away from the road.
Schedule feathered trees: height 200-250cm: Alnus glutinosa; Fraxinus excelsior; Quercus robur.
Temporary screening trees: Populus nigra 'Italica'; Salix fragilis planted at 1/sq.m for instant cover. Populus nigra and Salix fragilis will help create height and mass early on. These will require removal to create the final desired mix. Large feathered trees have been planted to create a 'wedge' of vegetation to guide bats over the road.
Bat mitigation habitat design: Areas were designed to emulate a sustainable and viable bat habitat, including the creation of a series of soil scrapes to produce water holding depressions; minor brook diversion of Baiden Brook and formation of a weit system; use of indigenous shrub and tree planting; provision of wildflower areas; and overall creation of a managed landscape habitat.