Wrexham Council commissioned the re-roofing of 85 council owned properties in the city of Wrexham in 2015. The roofing works were scheduled to commence from July onwards with contractors already onsite. UES were commissioned in June to carry out bat scoping surveys and breeding bird surveys of the 85 properties.
At the beginning of July, UES ecologists undertook the scoping surveys. During the scoping surveys the buildings were considered unsuitable for roosting bats, with limited roosting opportunities. No further surveys were required in regards to bats before the re-roofing works could start. As a precautionary measure a bat toolbox talk was given to the contractors, covering bat ecology, bats and law and what to do bats or field signs are found during works.
The scoping surveys did identify a number of active House sparrow (Passer domesticus) and Swift (Apus apus) nests in 16 of the properties undergoing re-roofing works. Breeding birds are afforded legal protection under UK legislation and it is an offence to disturb or damage a nest. Ideally works should be done outside breeding birds season (March to September) however the works had already been scheduled from July onwards. A UES ecologist was appointed to act as an Ecological Clerk of Works (EcOW) to monitor breeding bird activity on site, ensure compliance with legislation and direct works accordingly.
Properties free from nesting birds were prioritised for re-roofing works, whilst active nests were monitored fortnightly until the young had fledged and works to that property could begin. Site visits were undertaken by the EcOW until the 1st September when all young had fledged and the nests were deemed as inactive.
The appointment of an EcOW allowed works to continue onsite right the way through the breeding bird season despite the presence of nesting birds on site. Without an EcOW present it is likely there would have been a breach of protected species legislation.
UES have since been asked to tender for another large scale re-roofing scheme by Wrexham County Borough Council.