Client: Defence Estates
Location: Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire
Defence Training Estates Salisbury Plain is recognised for its importance for nature conservation with both international and national designations. Parts of the training area are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The grasslands are the largest area of continuous chalk grassland in north-west Europe and constitute about 40% of the remaining area of this habitat in Britain. The area is also notified for juniper Juniperus communis scrub, the marsh fritillary butterfly Eurodryas aurinia, a number of bird species including stone curlew Burhinus oedicnemus and a range of other rare species such as the fairy shrimp Chirocephalus diaphanous.
The Ministry of Defence identified an urgent requirement for 3 new training features to support training in two areas within the SSSI/SPA/SAC. These consist of separate tunnel and trench systems in one area and a network of wet ditches in a second area. Three separate planning applications were required, each with an accompanying ecological report.
Nicholas Pearson Associates provided ecological support to the Defence Estates staff in preparing the ecological reports at the planning stage, collating and analysing data, assessing potential impacts and proposing mitigation. Planning permission was granted and we were subsequently engaged to act as ecological clerk of works to monitor the works on site, particularly to ensure construction did not impact nesting birds, badgers, reptiles and Fairy Shrimp. This involved nesting bird and badger surveys, destructive search of potential reptile habitat, providing tool box talks and obtaining a badger licence.