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Any development proposal can present potential impacts for species or habitats, and during the planning process the SNCO will want to see these impacts reduced by all practicable means to a negligible level. In some instances, for example with sensitive species or Designated Sites this will have to be reduced to zero or an enhancement proposed, where a net increase in habitat total area is affected.

Alpha will work with your design professionals architects, landscape architects and engineers to build ecological works into your existing proposals. This is a cost-effective strategy for both small sites such as barn conversions, and landscape scale areas for highways schemes where the cost saving can be significant. You may already have a plan for landscaping and this can act as the base for any habitat mitigation required.

We can give full guidance on mitigation for many taxa including exclusions and translocation schemes for reptiles, Barn Owl nesting provision, additional Otter holt, replacement setts for Badger, or if there are issues with Bats we can design new roosts for existing buildings or for proposed constructions. The designs will be implemented under supervision, ensuring functional mitigation features that satisfy Planning Conditions or Protected Species development licences.

Habitat Enhancement

Within your site there may already be habitats less suitable for your proposals, or areas already set aside for wildlife and/or social amenity such as a wildflower area and a pond. These can be enhanced using simple techniques that will increase the value to wildlife and bring greater amenity value to your development. Almost any area of land can be managed for the benefit of wildlife, including brown field sites and mine waste, urban areas and highly improved agricultural land for instance.

Ponds and ditches can be modified and restructured to allow colonisation by beneficial plants, which in turn brings insect diversity. This form of ecosystem development allows other wildlife to begin using your site such as bats and birds.

Habitat Creation

Depending on the local environment and the ground conditions, it is possible to create a variety of habitats to attract wildlife to your site. Additions of substrate and seeding mixtures may be used to create grassed areas, and water in any form is invaluable for wildlife so if you can create a pond or lake so much the better. Adjacent to this may be a wetland zone and a mixture of aquatic and riparian vegetation will attract insects and bird species. Reed beds and scrub cover are readily used by birds and small mammals, and if your site is extensive it may start to be used by larger mammals like Badgers on a regular basis.

Management Plans

We can prepare plans for your site for the long-term maintenance of habitats and wildlife features, with achievable goals for each defined element of the plan. We can advise on low-cost solutions for the provision of valued wildlife areas, enhancements for specific species and an appropriate monitoring schedule.

Site Supervision

We offer a full supervisory and Watching Brief service for all works and can give briefings to contractors and project managers, for instance to comply with Protected Species licences. The following areas are examples of experience:

Selected sources of information and standard methods