Combined Heat & Power Unit Development: Slow Worm Translocation


BSG Ecology were appointed by Centrica Business Solutions to provide information to help discharge ecological planning conditions relating to the delivery of a consented Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit development at Becton Dickinson Vacutainer Systems, Plymouth. The key consideration was a population of slow worm that required translocating from the construction area into an adjacent receptor site. BSG Ecology’s input enabled Centrica Business Solutions to deliver the CHP in a timely manner while avoiding the killing and injury of slow worms.


The ecological challenge was to deliver the CHP in accordance with project timelines, complete the slow worm translocation during the optimal period, and avoid / minimise the potential for killing and injury of the species during site clearance and construction. In addition, the measures implemented for the consented development also had to consider potential impacts from ongoing maintenance works that were being undertaken adjacent to the construction site.


BSG Ecology undertook a review of the planning decision notice and associated ecology documents to understand the project background. During this review it was noted that the proposed location for reptile exclusion fencing, which would surround the construction area, would unnecessarily impact an area of retained woodland. Consultation with the client and Local Planning Authority (LPA) enabled the reptile fence to be realigned to avoid the woodland completely. Agreement was also sought from the LPA to begin the translocation prior to the discharge of planning conditions so it could be undertaken during the optimal period for slow worm.

The adjacent maintenance works required vehicular access through the construction area surrounded by reptile fencing. The solution was to adapt the reptile fence and install an access point that could be lowered and re-attached at the end of each day. Fence checks were undertaken and repairs made as necessary to ensure the reptile fence remained fit for purpose.


Over 50 slow worm were translocated from the construction area and moved into the adjacent receptor site; impacts to the species were therefore minimised, and killing and injury avoided. Impacts to the retained woodland were also avoided, and construction of the CHP was able to begin in in line with project aspirations. The adjacent maintenance works were undertaken as planned and an access solution achieved. Monitoring surveys will be undertaken once the development is complete to understand any potential changes in the slow worm population and provide further enhancement recommendations for the receptor site as required.


“We were delighted with the work BSG Ecology carried out on the site. Carrying out our Planning and Ecological requirements is of paramount importance to us on our projects and we trust BSG to guide us through this process”

Paul Bennett, Head of Consents, Centrica Business Solutions


Centrica Business Solutions

Key Services

Energy, Projects, South West