UES was commissioned to produce a suite of ecological reports in order to secure outline planning permission for a residential development at Lingley Mere Business Park (LMBP), Warrington. The development includes the construction of up to 300 residential units, together with associated landscaping, vehicular access improvements and other works. Outline planning permission was granted by Warrington Borough Council in October 2016 (2016/27313).
A preliminary ecological appraisal, breeding bird surveys, great crested newt mitigation strategy and landscape and ecology management plan were undertaken by UES in 2015. The results of which were used to inform an ecological impact assessment (EcIA). The EcIA identified various impacts up to a county level due to the presence, or potential presence, of protected or priority species / habitats within or near to the site boundary including:
• Amphibians, especially for great crested newts (a European protected species) and Common toad (a section 41 protected species)
• Breeding birds, in particular ground nesting waders and passerines including species of conservation concern
• Plant communities of note, including species-rich grasslands and wetlands meeting local wildlife site criteria
The EcIA set out a series of ecological enhancements, which were site specific and were recommended in order to mitigate for the loss of ecological resources on site. The ecological enhancements are detailed below, and seek to retain the wildlife value of the site as well as significantly increase the amenity value and resulting enjoyment of both home owners and employees at the wider Lingley Mere site:
• Retention of marshy grassland seedbank and select specimens for translocation on site
• Sowing of wildflower grasslands
• Enhancement of 4 waterbodies within the business park including de-silting, removal of non-native fish, bank improvement works and planting of key marginal species
• Installation of a variety of species specific bird and bat boxes
• Planting of species-rich hedgerows with wildflower seeded, raised hedge banks
• Raised boundary fencing for migration of amphibians, small mammals etc
• Installation of hedgehog domes / hibernacula piles along the hedgerows
The above recommendations enabled Warrington Borough Council to conclude that the development had secured the gains set out in the national planning policy framework (NPPF).
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