A school in North London was awarded the top environmental award for sustainable design in April. The Ecology Consultancy was commissioned by Willmott Dixon to carry out a Phase 1 habitat survey and BREEAM(1) Education (2008) Ecology Assessment of a new site for Ashmount Primary School in the London Borough of Islington.
The School achieved an ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM rating for its plans for exceptional environmental enhancement of the site, the first primary school in the UK to do so.
Our ecological scoping survey, as well as bat, reptile and breeding bird surveys were used to provide the ecology section of the BREEAM Schools (2008) Assessment required for the development of the site.
The site, of 1.63 hectares, includes a disused recreation centre, a youth club and a nursery as well as hard-standing, amenity grassland, trees and shrubs. The proposed development extends into Parkland Walk, a former railway line designated Local Nature Reserve (LNR) of metropolitan importance. The LNR supports important populations of bats as well as locally uncommon birds and invertebrates.
To ensure all existing features of ecological value will be fully protected from damage during site preparation and construction works and that nature conservation legislation was not breached, safeguards were put in place: mitigation for breeding birds, mitigation for bats; control of light spillage; correct management of Japanese knotweed and protection of retained trees and shrubs.
The Ecology Consultancy also advised on the creation of a biodiverse brown roof; climbing plants on walls and other vertical structures; wildflower plug planting in amenity grassland; ground cover planting; native hedgerows; shrub planting; woodland edge planting and woodland under-planting – all to increase foraging for bats, birds and insects. In addition we suggested that bird and bat boxes and log piles, which were a requirement for planning permission, also have great potential for class projects.