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In 2018, Ecology Link was commissioned by HSP Consulting, on behalf of the Department for Education to survey between 15 and 19 sites nationwide to meet the demand for an increased number of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Schools.

Sites were located between Blackpool, Ipswich, Portsmouth and Hereford, with Local Authorities allowed to identify sites where a new school provision would benefit their area.

Protected species surveys

Many sites were located on derelict or vacant former school sites and required Phase 1 Habitat Surveys and Tree Surveys and Protection Plans. Further survey work started in 2019 has included specific protected species surveys and tree Arboricultural Implications Assessments (AIA’s).

Root Investigations & GPR Surveys

Within urban environments, root systems cannot always be depicted by the classic anticipated Root Protection Area radius. Underground structures, roads, footpaths and buildings will restrict root growth in certain directions. This can often be explained through simply observing the above ground features. However, digging trenches to identify main root structures can aid knowledge and guide good development design.  

The use of ground penetrating radar can provide evidence of root structures beneath ground where it is not practical to excavate. This technique can identify roots with a diameter greater that 20mm. Smaller, more fibrous roots will be present and may extend outside of the plotted data, but may not pose significant impact to the development, although any larger clumps present do show up in the imagery. This is a useful tool in urban areas, suggesting if root structure spread has been restricted beneath hard surfaces, or exploited the resources available along grass verges and open areas.

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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)