One of The Ecology Consultancy’s largest projects has been our ongoing involvement with the M25 road widening scheme. Works on the 188 kilometre long motorway were divided into sections and phased over a number of years. The Ecology Consultancy has carried out works in four of these sections, spanning five years to date, with work on the recently opened Junction 23 to Junction 27 section having been completed this week. The Ecology Consultancy’s involvement has included providing ecological advice to the Skanska Balfour Beatty Joint Venture team, producing EPS mitigation licences with innovative solutions for linear developments and carrying out ecological clerk of works roles. Ecology and the environment have been a major consideration for all sections of the widening scheme, with Section 4 (Junction 27 to Junction 30) winning a CEEQUAL excellent award.
The M25 passes through seven counties; Kent, Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Greater London and Essex. As a result, works have been carried out in a variety of habitats and teams of up to 20 ecologists have encountered an array of animals. Works have included surveys and mitigation for great crested newts, reptiles, water voles, hazel dormice, bats, badgers and breeding birds. Teams have spent months trapping and translocating significant populations of reptiles and great crested newts from the verges adjacent to the motorway. Mitigation has also included some more unusual measures including Roman snail and anthill translocations.
With such a range and number of animals encountered during the works, it was inevitable that there would be some surprises along the way. The most unusual of these have included a dormouse found nesting in a plastic bag and a common lizard with two tails!