Case Study - Bats at West Ferry
Elm Horticulture Limited is soon due to start work on a 1 acre site bordering West Ferry station on the Docklands Light Railway. This is a joint venture between Elm and Taylor Woodrow on behalf of DLR. The project will include scrub clearance and tree felling thus enabling extension to the railway line and other workings to proceed.
After Elm had undertaken an environmental assessment and habitat survey the possibility of a bat presence came to the fore. Many of the trees to be felled were ivy clad and had sections of loose bark and trunk crevices all potential habitat for bats.
Good working practice dictates that two questions must be asked when dealing with a possible bat presence in trees to be felled. Firstly - is the felling absolutely necessary ? The answer to this is a definite yes , the trees must be removed to allow the line extension. Secondly have bats been sighted or are there any visible signs of bats using the site ? The answer to this is not as straightforward !
Elm has been monitoring the site over a 12 month period whilst undertaking work nearby. So far there have been no reports of bat activity. Visual inspections of the trees looking out for droppings and signs of staining around crevices and trunk holes have also indicated that bats are not present.
As bats may only use certain roosts for a few days before moving on , Elm has asked Taylor Woodrow to send one of their bat specialists to visit and assess the site before any felling work commences. A more thorough tree inspection can then be carried out utilising a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) .
Hopefully this will confirm Elms belief that bats are not present on the site and work can continue with some peace of mind.
After completion of the project the site will be re landscaped with a view to encouraging wildlife back into the area. This will include dense planting of native trees and suitable shrubs.
Like it or not it is a fact of life that sometimes work has to be done that will damage existing green landscape. This in turn disrupts and even destroys the habitat of both resident and visiting wildlife.
Elm Horticulture Limited is sympathetic to this scenario and always strives to minimise the impact these actions may have on the environment.