Nicholas Pearson Associates

Projects /
A350 Westbury Bypass

Client: Wiltshire County Council
Mouchel Parkman (now Mouchel)

Location: Westbury, Wiltshire

The town of Westbury in Wiltshire lies on the A350 trunk road.

This provides a major link from the M4 motorway to the south coast and forms a key part of the strategic road network and is an important economic corridor serving the West Wiltshire towns. Heavy traffic passes through the centre of Westbury, causing congestion, noise and air pollution and affecting residential and pedestrian amenity and safety.

For the reasons set out above Wiltshire County Council proposed to construct a new bypass to the east of the town. The proposed route corridor was predominantly through open countryside below the Salisbury Plain escarpment. It was recognised that this area was highly sensitive in terms of bat habitat, with significant flight lines and foraging areas: 12 species of bat were recorded, including all four Annex II species and a number of roosts were identified in proximity to the scheme.

Nicholas Pearson Associates worked with Wiltshire County Council and Mouchel to carry out detailed surveys, including static point, transect survey and radio-tracking to establish bat usage in the area. A number of significant bat flight routes were identified and the Greater Horseshoe bats were shown to have connections to the local Special Area of Conservation. We developed extensive mitigation proposals to minimise potential impacts on the bat populations.  These included green bridges, underpasses, directional planting, bat gantries and bollard lighting to encourage bats to fly at height.

Natural England were involved with developing these innovative proposals throughout - they removed their holding objection when the planning submission was made. We gave evidence at the Public Inquiry where the scheme attracted considerable interest. The community was divided on its acceptability, but it was turned down by the Secretary of State in 2009.