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New Forest District Council Housing Re-roofing Scheme

ECOSA provided all ecological survey and assessment services in advance of a planned re-roofing scheme of approximately 350 residential properties located across the New Forest. Survey works focussed on roosting bats and breeding birds to establish the presence and status of these species groups within the properties, and to inform the design of an appropriate mitigation strategy to ensure they are not harmed during the works.

Client: New Forest District Council

Objective: Large-scale re-roofing and reparations scheme

The majority of properties surveyed are terraced houses constructed in the 1960’s and 1970’s, with a small number being semi-detached houses and flats; these properties require re-roofing and repairs to bring them up to standard.

During the initial Phase 1 survey, a total of 51 properties were identified as having varying levels of suitability to support roosting bats; these properties were subject to further bat emergence and dawn re-entry surveys during the summer of 2016. A small number of properties were found to support low numbers of roosting common pipistrelle. ECOSA subsequently prepared and submitted a European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) licence application in respect of bats to Natural England on behalf of the client, in order to comply with protected species legislation and to ensure roosting bats were not going to be harmed during the works.

The mitigation strategy includes:

  • Replacement modified roof tiles suitable for crevice dwelling species;
  • Mortar beds are being provided on a small percentage of the houses as an enhancement measure;
  • Erection of bat boxes in mature trees nearby to provide replacement roosting features in perpetuity;
  • Sensitive timings of works;
  • Toolbox talks for on-site contractors; and
  • Supervision of roof stripping works.

The application was successful and a licence subsequently granted by Natural England enabled re-roofing works to be carried out under licence.

Nesting swift, starling and house sparrow were also recorded during the surveys. In collaboration with the site contractor Bracknell Roofing, checks for direct evidence of nesting birds in advance of re-roofing works are ongoing during the summer of 2017. Properties with active nests are monitored to ensure breeding birds are not disturbed. Swift boxes are also being installed on a number of properties as an enhancement measure.

Teamwork has been essential for the success of this scheme, and ECOSA and the site contractor are committed to safeguarding protected species on-site. The project is due for completion in the middle of 2018.