Hedgerow Netting, Hedge Removal and Biodiversity Mitigation.
There has been a considerable amount of press coverage regarding the subject of netting hedges to exclude birds during the nesting season and the removal of habitat to facilitate development. Whilst William Davis are content that our actions have entirely followed English Nature’s Standing Advice for development affecting birds, that we have always complied with both planning consents and the Countryside and Wildlife Act we have reviewed the use of netting to exclude birds prior to the nesting season with the stated intention of avoiding its use on all new developments or phases of development. Any hedge or hedgerow which had been netted to exclude birds will have been removed by Close of Business April 5th. Whilst we strive to incorporate existing ecological features within our developments whenever possible, on occasion we do have to remove habitat. Whenever this is the case William Davis ensure that we implement a landscape and habitat mitigation scheme which as a minimum provides the same amount of habitat as has been lost. Generally our schemes provide greater than a biodiversity net gain.
In respect of our new development at Radcliffe on Trent, a hedge was removed to facilitate the creation of a new roundabout at the site entrance. This was approximately 90m in length, its removal was the subject of a planning consent and works were supervised by a qualified ecologist.
Before work began William Davis implemented a series of ecological mitigation measures which included the installation of a series of bird nesting and bat roosting boxes in areas of the site which will remain undeveloped. Immediately after the hedge was removed further works were carried out including the planting of 25 trees, including 10 semi-mature feature trees, a total of 80 linear meters of hedging and over 1,000No. native whips.
In terms of landscape and ecology, during the course of the development WDH is implementing a Biodiversity Management Plan to provide and manage new allotments, wildflower meadow, install provision for enhanced bird nesting and bat roosting − phase one of which has already been completed – and provide and manage new trees, hedgerows and balancing ponds.