We provided Bradford Estates with a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal and Biodiversity Baseline Assessment of their large agricultural estate in Shropshire, to inform the client’s proposals to take forward a new urban village development. The sheer scale and complexity of the estate posed a logistical and resourcing issue, which we solved by the pragmatic but innovative use of digital data capture.
Bradford Estates are proposing a garden village settlement (‘J3 Shropshire’) at Junction 3 of the M54, providing jobs (in a new Technology Park) and homes (2,500 new and affordably priced homes) alongside community facilities (including a medical centre, school & nursery).
RSK Wilding are helping the client to understand the ecological constraints associated with the site and how the project could help deliver a net gain in biodiversity across the wider estate.
Scope of services:
We used the GIS experience of the RSK Group company Binnies to pre-map habitats using satellite data that were then ground-truthed and validated with targeted field surveys. This allowed us to carry out a UKHab survey cost-effectively over not only the garden village development site but also the wider Bradford Farming estate (comprising a total of 5,000 ha of farmland).
Our Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) for the garden village site identified all the key habitats and likely protected species constraints, with a view to informing more detailed design of the scheme Masterplan that will be required to support a planning application.
Using the UKHab data we also produced a Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) feasibility report, in which the Defra Biodiversity Metric was used not only to determine the baseline biodiversity of the site but also the extent to which various options for enhancement and restoration could deliver BNG, and where best on the estate to deliver this habitat creation.
We have recently set some ecological objectives and Key Performance Indicators to help influence the future ecological and regenerative agricultural management of the estate. ADAS (another RSK Group company) are currently adding value considering what wider Ecosystem Service Benefits the estate can deliver, and we are also discussing options with Severn Trent Water for wetland creation opportunities across the Estate to enhance biodiversity whilst also improving water quality.