The Ecology Consultancy was commissioned in 2011 to undertake an ecological scoping survey of land surrounding a proposed extension to the Lee Valley White Water Rafting Centre at Waltham Cross. The land was required to provide an emergency gathering point for the Olympic Games.
The purpose of our survey was to identify any ecological constraints associated with the proposed works, which included the removal of vegetation and the erection of security fencing.
The Ecology Consultancy undertook a scoping survey using standard Phase 1 survey methodology (JNCC 2010). This approach identified all broad habitat types present at the site, and their potential to support protected or ecologically notable species, as well as provide an overview of the site’s ecological interest.
The survey included external inspection of features on trees to assess their potential to support roosting bats, and areas of trees and scrub were searched for signs of breeding birds.
Checks of any potential hibernacula, suitable habitats and mosaics of habitats that may be used by reptiles, were also carried out. Ditches and rivers present were assessed, for potentially suitable habitat for otter and water vole. Water bodies and surrounding terrestrial habitat that lay within 500m of the development area were assessed as to their potential to support great crested newts.
An inspection of all habitats with the potential to support badgers and their foraging activities was also undertaken and evidence of badger activity – setts, droppings, pathways, snuffle holes, hair and footprints, was noted. A single badger sett was recorded within 30m of the proposed works area, located within an area of woodland and scrub. To avoid damage or disturbance to the active badger sett, we made a series of recommendations on the appropriate, safe, use of heavy machinery and hand tools.
The developer proposed a stump grinder to be used as part of the works as a precautionary approach, which was carried out under our supervision. Our ecologists also supervised the removal of a large log pile for the likely presence of reptile species, though none was found. They also supervised the vegetation clearance that was necessary ahead of the security fence installation, in order to protect any breeding birds.