Habitat Creation, Restoration & Site Enhancement
By creating a positive impact on a site's biodiversity, developments are looked upon more favourably by planning authorities and help to achieve the targets set out within local and national planning policy. Site enhancement may also be required as a condition of planning to compensate for habitat that may be lost on another part. With experienced Ecologists to design and oversee site enhancements and a highly skilled habitat management team to carry out the works, site enhancements can be completed efficiently and at lower cost. Our highly experienced team can complete numerous forms of ecological site enhancement including the restoration or creation of valuable habitats on site and install features on site for use by protected species.
Creating habitats is an increasingly important aspect of new developments where habitats are lost or there is an opportunity to restore a defunct habitat. Improved habitats may be valuable for many protected species that heavily rely on these features. We are experienced in the restoration and management of:
- Wetland habitats, including ponds, as part of GCN mitigation strategies
- Ditch and pond habitats for Water Voles
- Grassland and fen sites
- Woodland coppicing & management
- Hedgerows, including planting and laying
- Scrub management and tree surgery
- Invasive species removal
There are several features that may be specifically constructed or installed for protected species to further help to achieve biodiversity targets. This may be achieved through either compensation for lost habitat elsewhere on site or enhancement to result in a net gain in biodiversity. Some features include:
Bat boxes & houses
Bat boxes are an easy and cost-effective way of improving habitat for bats on site by increasing roosting opportunities. Bat boxes may be erected onto mature trees or buildings and can even be constructed into new buildings as hidden self-contained features. We can supply and install these bat boxes to meet the requirements of planning conditions on site.
For some significant bat roosts, a compensatory area such as a loft may be required to be designed for bats. Usually these may be constructed directly into the building; however, some projects may not allow for this. If this is the case, our skilled team can design a bat house for roosting bats as compensation that will work for your project.
Hibernacula may be created within ecological areas as an efficient way of using up materials already on site whilst also improving habitat. Hibernacula are where reptiles and amphibians live throughout the winter, when they are vulnerable to cold temperatures, and must be constructed with key design features to provide suitable conditions throughout the winter.
Other enhancement features include egg-laying piles (compost heaps that may be used by grass snakes to lay eggs), log piles and basking banks. Our habitat management team can expertly construct these features to meet planning conditions for site enhancement.
Our sister company within the Ecosupport Group, Animex, has designed a wildlife bridge in association with the People's Trust for Endangered Species as a feature for arboreal species such as Hazel Dormice and Red Squirrels to reconnect fragmented habitat. The bridge has proven to be effective and is a bespoke and adaptable design to fit into site plans. We have a licensed dormouse worker who can provide on-site advice for installing a dormouse bridge to ensure the most appropriate and effortless installation method for the site.
Bird nesting boxes
Bird nesting boxes are often recommended as enhancements on any site to provide more opportunities for nesting birds. Two of the most common nest box types are circle-fronted boxes, favoured by species such as tits and Wrens, and open-fronted boxes, commonly used by Robins and other small birds.
For Barn Owls, a Barn Owl nesting box may also be erected on site at a minimum height of 3m in an open building, on a mature tree with a clear entrance or on a pole. Our team can help to select the most appropriate location for a Barn Owl nesting box and install it on site to meet any planning requirements.
Artificial badger sett
In the case that a main badger sett is being closed under a licence, an artificial badger sett may need to be constructed to provide a new sett for the badgers to live in. This involves a series of tunnels connecting numerous boxes to create an extensive sett. Ecosupport is able to design this sett into the site plan and undertake the works to construct it. The artificial sett can be constructed into a suitable area of the site for mitigation without disrupting site plans. Our experienced team can accomplish any requirements for the new sett to ensure it is adequate for badgers while meeting project specifications.
Log piles and invertebrate habitat
Habitat can be enhanced for wildlife including insects, amphibians, reptiles and hedgehogs by creating log piles. We can carefully construct the pile to provide the most benefit to wildlife using dead wood/logs either from on-site or provided by us.
An insect hotel, which provides habitat for numerous types of insects such as bees, ladybirds and wasps among others. The hotel can be constructed from a mix of materials and provides habitat for insects to live, hibernate and lay eggs.
An additional enhancement to a site can be the construction of a hedgehog house to provide a safe location for hedgehogs to rest, hibernate and raise their young on site. Hedgehogs are increasingly in decline with problems caused by habitat loss and road mortality so creating a house for them can help provide more safe areas for them to live.
Our team has constructed many hedgehog houses and can use materials that may already be found on site to avoid additional costs.