Ash Lodge Drive - Works Update

28th August 2018 - Update on the SNCI

We have spoken to Bewley Homes regarding the work on the SNCI and this is their response:

These works are in accordance with our approved Ecological Management Plan and have been undertaken under the supervision of our ecologists. We know it is difficult to believe but these works are for the sole purpose of returning the SNCI to a wetland grassland for which the site is designated for. The works will seem harsh but invasive species have completely taken over and clearing them are in the best interests of the SNCI. Our ecologist has provided the following, which we hope will provide some clarity:

  • The management works consist of the clearance of 75% of the scrub and tall ruderal vegetation within the SNCI to allow for recolonisation by wetland grassland for which the site is designated for, and the pollarding of a number of Cherry Laurels at the north western boundary to encourage the establishment of native species, in accordance with the Ecological Mitigation and Management Plan produced to address conditions 17 to 21 of the planning permission for the site. Some small scale trimming of boundary vegetation will also be required on the road side to allow for the installation of a perimeter fence which will be timber post and rail.
  • The management works will also include creation of a small number of shallow hollows to allow for water retention to further encourage the propagation of wetland habitats.
  • No trees will be removed as part of the management works.
  • Following a site visit by Aspect Ecology, it was identified that the area was heavily encroached by Bramble scrub. As such, it was agreed that a small excavator with a cutting attachment could be used to clear vegetation given the lack of any faunal constraints (notably Great Crested Newt are not considered to be a constraint to the works due to the area lying beyond 250m of the nearest water body known to support this species).
  • As the works are occurring within the nesting bird season, a nesting bird check was carried out on Tuesday morning (21st August) prior to the commencement of works, during which no active nests were identified with scrub habitat. A subsequent check will take place at a later date, which will focus on the trees requiring trimming to facilitate installation of the perimeter fence.
  • It is considered that these management works will help to bring the habitats within the SNCI back into a favourable conservation status, becoming representative of the wetland grassland for which it was originally designated.

The focus this week has been on the clearance of the brambles and scrub, in the coming weeks the laurel on the corner will be coppiced back to about 1.5m and the crowns of the trees along the road boundary and along the footpath will be lifted to allow the erection of the fence and ensure both the footpath and road are free from overhanging branches.

In terms of its future use and purpose it will continue to be managed as a nature conservation area.


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