I was the project ecologist for this scheme between 2003 and 2006. The project aims to improve safety on this section of the A470 by “flattening out” some of the steep bends which had become accident blackspots, creating a straighter, safer route. Unfortunately, the route passes through some of the best Atlantic oak woodland in Wales, with land on both sides of the road designated as part of Meirionydd Oakwoods and Bat Sites SAC. In addition, numerous protected species are present on the route, including lesser horseshoe bat, otter, badger and dormouse.
The complexity and importance of the natural environment surrounding the scheme made this project extremely interesting and challenging. My role included:
- Liaison with national and local CCW officers and WAG
- Production of draft reports for Appropriate Assessment
- Production of draft Environmental Statement ecology chapter covering impacts on internationally and nationally important sites, rare bats, otters, badgers, dormouse, ancient Atlantic oak woodland, invertebrates, lichens, bryophytes and fungi
- Extended Phase 1 and NVC survey of project site
This scheme has subsequently obtained consent, but remains controversial, and was much discussed at the IEEM Welsh section meeting in February 2012.
Construction of the scheme started in March 2012 and was completed in 2013.