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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.

Start of rail track renewal

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.

Ecology Link has continued to undertake a variety of surveys along the UK railway network and has been involved in a range of habitat management and species protection projects.

Rail embankments, due to their restricted public access, provide diverse and species rich habitats and a haven for wildlife. They provide excellent linear connectivity to the wider environment and a mosaic of adjacent habitats.

We have been providing ECoW’s for large scale vegetation management projects over the last 12 months. This has involved overseeing tree pollarding and felling of overhanging specimens; surveying for nesting birds; identifying bat roost potential; protection of badger setts; protection of hibernacula for reptiles and amphibians; and identifying invasive and toxic plant species. We have worked closely with contractors and Network Rail staff in managing the habitats within rail land, ensuring the retention of valuable habitat features for protected species.

Vegetation removal

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Ecology Link Ltd

61 Middlewatch, Swavesey
Cambridge, CB24 4RW, UK

Telephone: 01954 231 375
Mobile: 07506 703 540 (Jonathan)
Mobile: 07917 208 040 (Helen)