Peter Brett Associates LLP, working on behalf of Dandara, engaged BSG Ecology to provide ecological survey and assessment work for a proposal to develop a plot of land at St Saviour, Jersey, for residential purposes. This was a positive opportunity for BSG Ecology to work in the Channel Islands, and given the unique legislative and policy context, it was of particular importance to ensure that the work undertaken was in line with the expectations of the States of Jersey Environment Division (JED).
BSG Ecology’s role in the project
To ensure that the ecological work was focussed and robust in ecological legislation terms, we reviewed both the Conservation of Wildlife (Jersey) Law (2000) and the Jersey Island Plan (2011). A range of species, some of which are common in mainland France and the UK are afforded special protection under Jersey Law. Many of these have been identified as priorities for conservation through the Island Biodiversity Strategy, and over 50 Species Action Plans have been produced as a result. The Island Plan provides a policy basis for ensuring appropriate consideration of biodiversity during the planning process and specifically identifies the need for planning applications to include an appropriate level of ecological information with regard to protected sites and species.
We initially undertook an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey at St Saviour. This identified that while the site was of relatively limited conservation interest, it did support tussocky grassland and, in ecological terms, was linked to residential gardens. As a result, and following a detailed desk study, an initial ecological appraisal of the protected species likely to be associated with the site was prepared and submitted to JED. This highlighted that there was the potential for the endemic Jersey vole, French shrew, common toad, hedgehog and slow-worm to be present. Mitigation was proposed as an inherent part of scheme design to ensure legislative compliance and minimise potential ecological impacts.
The development was subsequently consented, subject to conditions relating to protected species survey and mitigation. In order to discharge these we secured a licence from JED to complete mark and recapture surveys of Jersey vole, and completed bespoke surveys for the other species noted. The findings of the surveys were used to more closely specify enhancement initiatives aimed at conserving the biodiversity value of the site. The work was well received by the client, and has since led to BSG Ecology’s involvement with several further projects in Jersey.