The client required an extended Phase 1 survey to inform site investigations ahead of the recapping of a former landfill in the Swansea Valley. We completed a site survey, provided initial advice and produced a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal within two weeks of the initial enquiry, enabling the client to proceed in accordance with their project plan, allowing them to access time-constrained funding to deliver the works, and benefitting their business.
The site comprised a former landfill to the south of the River Tawe, Swansea. It was initially capped in 1995, but recapping was required to allow the surrender of the current landfill license.
Consultation between Natural Resources Wales and the client had established that an ecological survey and report need to be completed. The aim of this was to inform whether vegetation on site was of ecological value, and to confirm whether further protected species survey was needed ahead of site clearance. To address the brief we proposed a desk study, Phase 1 habitat survey and Preliminary Ecological Appraisal report, all of which is in line with industry standard guidance.
The challenge was in the timing of the approach, which was in February 2019. The issue was that all of this initial work needed to be condensed into a two week period in order to allow time to confirm the way forward with Natural Resources Wales. Initial small-scale site investigations were needed ahead of the bird breeding season in order to meet project timelines ahead of the proposed stripping of the site later in the year.
An internal meeting was held to reallocate work and to identify how time could be made available for the most appropriate technical staff to complete the work. This allowed the Phase 1 survey to be completed by a specialist botanical surveyor, while other staff completed the desk study, which was actioned immediately, and the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal report.
The site visit was completed within two days of commission, and the report for the site issued, following internal review, just over a week later. The work identified that small areas of the Annex 1 and Welsh priority habitat dry heath were present, with the remainder of the site largely dominated by scrub. A number of non-native invasive plants were noted, together with the potential for otter (associated with the nearby River Tawe) to use the site, and for reptiles and badger to occur (a disused sett was present).
It was concluded that site supervision and a working method statement would be needed ahead of any small-scale site investigations, and that reptile surveys needed to be completed to inform a planning application for site clearance later in the year. It was also recommended that the restored site be subject to a habitat management plan, aimed at maximising its biodiversity value.
Client feedback was very positive. Ben Rees, Director and Environmental Geoscientist at Geotechnology Ltd said, “We really appreciate all your efforts. I have been very impressed with BSG from start to finish.”