Ecology Link has been commissioned by Carillion and Network Rail, to undertake desk-based environmental assessment surveys at multiple sites on the east and west coast mainlines.
Other cross country rail links are also included, particularly in the north of the UK. Using the data gathered during the desk review, we then undertake walkout surveys (if deemed necessary) to determine the risk of proposed plain line renewal works on protected species. Dependent upon the findings of the walkout, we can then recommend whether further specific surveys are needed, or if a precautionary method of work needs to be implemented. Methods can range between advanced habitat manipulation and considerate timing of works, to supervision by and Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW), or obtaining relevant species licenses, such as European Protected Species (EPS) great crested newt development and bat roost licenses, to Natural England badger sett disturbance or closure licences.
DNA (eDNA) sampling
Other rail work has included environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling to establish the presence or likely absence of great crested newts, at numerous sites along sections of railway line. This relatively new survey methodology has proven to be extremely time and cost efficient compared to previous standard survey methodology.
In addition, we have undertaken invasive species identification and recommendations for avoiding committing an offence (by spreading weeds during works) and control options.