The aim of the Conservation Management Plan is to promote species and
habitats of national and local biodiversity concern which are found locally and
have the capacity to successfully colonise the site.
Conservation management plan
UES were recently commissioned to create a long-term conservation management plan for a quarry in Cheshire. The quarry is to be restored using inert excavation and construction / demolition wastes to its original levels.
Under the provisions of the 1995 Environment Act, a detailed restoration and aftercare scheme is to be submitted and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority prior to any restoration taking place and also forms part of the Environmental Permit.
The conservation management plan details the general principles, establishment techniques and long-term management required in order to achieve key UK habitats types during the restoration programme. Views about management and the most appropriate form of habitat post-restoration were discussed with the Local Planning Authority ecologist, Cheshire Wildlife Trust and Nature After Minerals.
The most beneficial and appropriate habitat type that could be established on site is lowland heath. Lowland heath supports a variety of wildlife, such as: all six native species of reptile, Nightjar, Woodlark and a number of rare insects. Much of the UK’s lowland heathland was created by early farmers. As Bronze Age humans began to change from hunter gatherers to farmers large areas of woodland were cleared and grazed forming much of the heathland we see today.
The quarry will be filled with inert excavation material to its original level with a layer of topsoil that will provide a suitable medium for donor seed planting. The site will be lightly grazed to prevent establishment of woodland species and an annual hay cut will be taken to promote species diversity.
As part of this management plan, ecological pre-commencement surveys will be required to ensure compliance with specific statutory legislation relating to breeding birds. National Vegetation Community (NVC) surveys will also be conducted at intervals during the restoration programme to assess whether establishment techniques have succeeded. As heathland is slow to establish and requires specific management an extended period of aftercare of 10 years after the final phase of infilling is complete is proposed.