Category Archives: Projects

Ecological appraisal, Great Sankey, Warrington (2016)

It all sounded so easy on paper.  Nip round to Great Sankey, a couple of miles from home, do a quick Phase 1 habitat survey and then write up the report.  Bog standard, totally normal day at work.

Nope. Continue reading

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Water vole survey, Lymm, Cheshire (2016)

It’s rare for me to work for private individuals and even rarer for me to do a water vole survey.  But this was quite a nice one to do – just a small job surveying a brook which formed part of the edge of a private landholding.  The landowners had noted that the bank of the brook seemed to be eroding and had commissioned advice on erosion control measures they could implement to prevent their garden falling away into the brook.  In places the brook bank was quite close to the house, too, so I understood how keen they were to get this sorted!

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Ecological appraisal of two wastewater treatment works, Anglesey (2016)

I don’t usually travel as far as Anglesey for work, but occasionally it’s nice to go further afield.  This project involved ecological appraisal of two small wastewater treatment works in north west Anglesey.  Turning down the lane to the first site, I noticed a large development on the corner, ringed in great crested newt fencing.  Fairly big clue to the main ecological concern in this area!  Tourists often just visit the island’s spectacular coastline, but inland Anglesey is famous amongst ecologists for its cornucopia of wetlands, from ponds to lakes to internationally important species-rich fens and marshes.  And this means great crested newts are frequently found.

Great crested newt photographed in Cheshire in 2014 as part of a licensed survey

Great crested newt photographed in Cheshire in 2014 as part of a licensed survey

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Habitats Regulations Assessment of a small project in Chester (2016)

For many years, the banks of the river Dee in Chester have been part of the city: for launching boats both pleasure and commercial; forming a particularly lethal obstacle on Chester Golf Course; for promenading; as a backdrop to Chester City Walls and Tower; and, surprisingly, as part of people’s back gardens.  In fact, almost the whole northern/eastern bank of the Dee opposite Chester Meadows is occupied by gardens (the rest is a public park).  As the river is also a site of European importance for nature conservation, this creates some interesting paperwork when people want to remodel their garden space.

view over Chester Meadows and the river Dee from the study site

view over Chester Meadows and the river Dee from the study site

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Llennyrch NVC survey part 2, Snowdonia (2016)

What a pleasure to be working with Enfys Ecology and the Woodland Trust on a conservation project – makes a change from the usual development schemes!  This was part 2 of a survey which my colleague Lucia Ruffino and I started last year.  The first part was mostly grassland with some interesting boggy bits, the highlight for me being finding white beak-sedge which I hadn’t seen in forever.  This year’s part was much bigger, 11 days survey for both of us, and covered a swathe of land from Trawsfynydd Lake up the hills behind to an altitude of about 300m.

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A slag heap in Lancashire (2016)

Appetising, no ?!  Don’t I get to go to some nice places in this job……

Actually, slag heaps are pretty interesting places if you’re a botanist, often with interesting chemistry quite different from their surroundings – maybe alkaline in an acid area, or with metal contamination, and they always seem to have some ecological oddity.

2016-07-21 12.02.24 (450x800) Continue reading

Ecological appraisal, farm accesses, Cheshire (2016)

One of the smallest projects I’ve ever advised on.  This involved a new farm building access and new car parking area in rural Cheshire.  Usually, something this minor wouldn’t attract the attention of the county ecologist, but in this case the site was in a SSSI Impact Risk Zone as it was very close to a SSSI, and just 10 metres from a Local Wildlife Site, so I was called in to provide Extended Phase 1 habitat survey and advice to the project team. Continue reading