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Mitigation and Management Plans | MBEC

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Mitigation, Habitat Protection and Restoration, Protected Species Licence Applications, Construction Supervision

MBEC has extensive experience of devising and undertaking mitigation measures before, during and after development. This also includes supervising and monitoring the implementation of mitigation as Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) and similar roles. MBEC has been involved in undertaking standard and novel mitigation in a number of projects for a wide range of species and habitats. These include peatland, grassland and woodland habitat restoration schemes, and specific mitigation for bats, birds, lizards, adders, great crested newt, badgers, otter, red squirrels, pine marten, water vole, fish species, cetaceans, seals and invertebrates.

Taking habitats and species of conservation concern into consideration at an early stage in the development of a proposal increases the potential for a positive outcome in minimising the impact of the proposed development on important habitats and species and can also reduce costs and delays in the planning process. MBEC regularly undertakes ecological constraint studies for our clients in order to inform the development design process. This also helps to effectively address ecological mitigation requirements early in development planning and reduces the risk of taking projects forward that could result in significant impacts and have a high risk of not gaining consent.

MBEC also has extensive experience in developing mitigation measures to address impacts from development proposals on protected species. This includes assisting clients in obtaining development licenses from the relevant authority (e.g. for European Protected Species and under the “social, economic or environmental purposes” licensing administered by SNH) where it is not possible to avoid all potential impacts on protected species. A “development” licence allows an action to proceed, in relation to a protected species, that might otherwise be against the law. Although we undertake such licensing and works regularly, often on a precautionary basis, it is best to avoid this situation, if at all possible, through the design of a development or through construction timing.

To obtain such a licence there are legal “tests” which have to be satisfied. These tests include demonstrating that there is no satisfactory alternative and that the activity is for reasons of a social or economic nature. As part of the licence application process a site-specific protection plan and/or method statement is developed, in discussion with the licensing authority, to explain how the works would proceed whilst ensuring that these legal tests are met. With a successful outcome to the application the plan is then implemented such that the impacts of the works are reduced, as far as practicable, and to ensure that works proceed without affecting the conservation status of the species.

Site Management and Habitat Management Plans (HMPs)

Developing a detailed plan to restore a habitat to a former undamaged state and/or to increase the quality and attractiveness of a habitat or suite of habitats for a particular species may sometimes be a part of required mitigation for a development proposal. MBEC has extensive experience in the development of Habitat Management Plans for a wide range of projects and habitats and always try to ensure that such plans are as ecologically effective and cost effective as possible.

Ecological Clerk of Works and Watching Briefs

A watching brief is sometimes an important part of a mitigation plan. With specialists across a wide range of taxonomic groups and habitat types, MBEC can supply ecologists to carry out watching briefs for many types of projects. Longer-term Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) roles are also a speciality, with the clear advantage of experienced ecologists to assist with the implementation of ecological mitigation / protection for larger construction projects. Experienced construction ecologists on site offer numerous advantages for contractors and developers, particularly in relation to early intervention, rapid problem solving and good environmental management. These all assist is preventing unecessary construction delays.