I recently attended a CIEEM event on environmental mitigation for local road schemes, which included a site visit to look at the mitigation designed and implemented as part of the A5758 Broom’s Cross Road (Thornton to Switch Island Link) in Sefton. The event was run by Stephen Birch, Strategic Transport Planning and Investment Team Leader for Sefton Council.
The 4.5km long A5758 Broom’s Cross Road, linking the A565 in Thornton with the M57/M58/A59/A5036 Switch Island junction opened to traffic in August 2015. The scheme was designed to provide a local bypass of Thornton and Netherton, to reduce congestion, provide a faster, more direct link to the motorway network and improve local environmental improvements along that busy corridor. Although the scheme did not have any major environmental impacts associated with it, a wide range of environmental mitigation measures were implemented, typical of what is now expected of new road schemes. The event provided the opportunity to consider the environmental mitigation measures proposed at the planning application stage and then see how they have been implemented on the ground.
The Link crossed mostly agricultural fields of modest habitat quality. However, species of nature conservation importance were found in the area. These included bats, Great crested newts, Water vole, Red squirrel, Barn owl and Pink-footed geese, Lapwings and Black-headed gulls from the nearby Ribble and Alt Estuaries Species Protection Area. Most species remained largely unaffected, but there were some limited local negative impacts which were compensated for by:
- attenuation ponds designed to have large areas of shallow water to provide suitable habitat for amphibians and deter fish introduction
- existing ponds managed to improve habitat quality for amphibians and Water voles
- creation of 4 new ponds to enhance habitat availability for aquatic wildlife including amphibians and Water voles
- mammal ledges incorporated into box culverts to allow safe passage of Badgers and other mammals
- replacement hedgerow planting
- management of road verges to deter foraging Barn owls
- specimen tree planting to provide ‘hop-over’ bat mitigation
- treatment of Japanese knotweed
The ecology surveys and mitigation proposals were produced by Jacobs. UES have worked with Jacobs on a number of projects including undertaking bat surveys of 31 schools across England including Yorkshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Greater London and Kent.
UES Senior Ecologist