Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, Caerphilly: Habitat Enhancement and BREEAM Assessment


BSG Ecology led the ecological input to the BREEAM assessment for a unified new breast care unit at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, Caerphilly. This enabled the Health Board to adopt an approach to development and management that will help deliver their obligations under the Environment (Wales) Act (2016) by achieving significant net gain for biodiversity as well as securing an overall score of “Excellent” under BREEAM 2018.


The ecological challenge with regard to the development was to maximise BREEAM ecology credits and help the scheme to achieve an overall score of “Excellent”. Measures needed to be practical and compatible with the function of the development, which is to centralise breast care services from across Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr.


A desk study and extended Phase 1 habitat survey were carried out which provided a baseline from which to identify areas of the site with specific ecological constraints and opportunities. The work identified opportunities for biodiversity enhancement within the hospital grounds including the creation of rain gardens, enhancement of existing grassland through seeding and appropriate management, and provision of bat and bird boxes. We worked closely with the Architect, Landscape Architect and BREEAM Assessor to ensure all biodiversity enhancements would be fit for purpose, and to add biodiversity value to the development whilst also respecting it as a working hospital building.


The results were incorporated into the BREEAM Change in Ecological Value Calculator, which resulted in a percentage score of 191 %, indicating that the development will achieve significant net gain in biodiversity terms. This will also help the development to achieve an overall score of “Excellent” under BREEAM 2018.  A Biodiversity Enhancement Scheme (BES) for the development was produced which will inform the delivery of the habitat creation and enhancement for the new breast care unit. This work will help the Health Board to deliver their environmental obligations under the Section 6 Duty of the Environment (Wales) Act (2016), which places a duty on public authorities in Wales to maintain and enhance biodiversity and promote the resilience of ecosystems in the exercise of their functions.


“It was a pleasure to work with Joanne Conway of BSG Ecology at Unified Breast Unit, Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr. Jo provided proactive ecological advice and support to the project team throughout the design of UBU. Her judgement as a professional ecologist enabled the team to clearly understand existing ecological constraints and opportunities across the site. Her proactive and collaborative approach to design was invaluable in assisting the project achieve a BREEAM 2018 rating of Excellent, including the identification and implementation of significant ecological enhancement opportunities, of which the overall ecological value of the site increased by 191%. I would highly recommend Jo as an ecologist and look forward to working with her on future projects.”

Mark Morant (BREEAM Assessor), Director at MM Sustainable Design Ltd.


Key Services

Projects, Projects, Residential/ Commercial Development, Wales