Wildwood Ecology applied their expert knowledge of ecological surveys and experience of sustainable and ecological design to support LivEco in the successful delivery of a multiple award winning eco village on the edge of Cardiff.
An ambitious residential development project in Cardiff was proposed to provide an exemplar site for sustainable design and a unique sense of place. The client brief was to find opportunities to work with nature and not against it.
The former farmhouse was in a ruinous state which made surveys for bats and nesting birds challenging. We designed novel survey techniques, involving infrared cameras, to identify how bats were using the building and site as a whole.
The development was split into four phases, with critical completion dates. We had to provide a way of strategically delivering ecological services, to ensure that the timetable was achieved, with a high level of consultation with the local planning authority and licensing body for Wales. Our approach enabled the client and their contractors to successfully deliver the development on time, so residents could move in and benefit from this unique eco village.
As the farmhouse was in a perilous condition, we developed novel survey techniques, involving infrared cameras to identify how bats were using the building and the site, and instructed the removal of unsafe trees. Following the discovery of a rare species of bat (lesser horseshoe), we carefully designed a replacement roost alongside a lighting plan to ensure that bats and other wildlife were not unduly disturbed once the site was occupied.
The on-site pond was also surveyed for great crested newt, which would have been a major constraint if identified as present. There was also the possible presence of badger. Fortunately, absence was confirmed for both species, and site management concentrated on the protection of reptiles, including grass snake, common lizard, and slow worm translocation.
Due to the critical phasing of the site, working closely with the client and communicating issues at the earliest opportunity was key to success. We identified pragmatic solutions to some challenging constraints relating to the schedule of works, and therefore ensured the project remained on track. This involved detail discussions with the local planning authority (Cardiff County Council) and the protected species licensing body for Wales (Natural Resources Wales).
We also had the opportunity to use our experience in identifying and implementing significant opportunities for biodiversity net gain. We provided advice in relation to the provision of bat and bird boxes, bee bricks, wildflower meadow creation, green roofs, and pond management. These were confirmed and delivered in the form of a ten-year Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP). The ethos of the site was to maximise the site’s position within the natural landscape and embrace wildlife, rather than restrict it to the boundaries and off-site locations.
Wildwood Ecology helped to identify ecological issues at an early stage which enabled the design team to manage risks and identify opportunities to create an award winning eco village on the edge of Cardiff.
LivEco’s Great House Farm project, on the outskirts of Cardiff in St Fagans, is a low to zero carbon residential housing development, consisting of 35 homes.
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