Riverside Energy from Waste Plant: Protecting & Enhancing Water Vole Habitat

BackgroundRiverside Thames water ditch 1

The Riverside Resource Recovery (RRR) Facility involved the construction and operation of an Energy from Waste (EfW) Power Station of 72 MW capacity on the southern bank of the River Thames off Norman Road, Belvedere, Bexley.  The main station site was located on a former industrial park, however, the access road was a narrow single track road adjacent to Erith Marshes, a non-statutory site of Metropolitan Importance. Adjacent to the road was an old marsh ditch which despite receiving fly-tipped material supported a small population of water vole. To facilitate the development, the existing access road needed to be widened which required the ditches to be re-located by 10 metres to provide sufficient space  for the upgrade.

BSG Ecology’s role in the project

BSG Ecology was commissioned by LDA Design to undertake surveys of the ditches for water vole and to propose and agree a suitable mitigation strategy. Time frames were critical to the start of construction, which meant that the water voles had to be trapped and held in a captive breeding programme over winter to enable the road widening to be completed at this critical point of the construction project.

BSG Ecology undertook detailed negotiations with the client, the planning authority, the Environment Agency and the London Wildlife Trust Water Vole project officer in the development of a work programme and habitat restoration programme.

Riverside Thames Ditch Water VoleBSG Ecology undertook the capture of the watervoles and worked closely with the landscape architects to develop a new ditch design and a planting programme to ensure that the captive animals could be re-introduced the following early summer after the completion of work.

Outcome

The access road was successfully completed within the required timescale and the new ditch creation resulted in a significant improvement in the quality of available water vole habitat. All fly tipping was removed and new diverse marginal vegetation was established to provide cover and food for the water voles that were successfully released back into the new habitat.

Riverside Energy from Waste Plant: Protecting & Enhancing Water Vole Habitat – Project Profile

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