Ecology

No protected species were found on Phase 1 walkover survey (2015) though a limited number of potential habitats were identified.  No Tree Protected Order (TPO) trees were identified, though a number of Category B trees and/or groups of trees (e.g. large willow trees lining the banks of water stream) were identified as being worthy for retention or replacement.  Further Bats, Breeding Birds, Reptiles and amphibians’ surveys were undertaken in late 2015; in summary no reptiles nor GCN were identified and no mitigation was required. Bats were identified and mitigation was recommended whilst a presence of a barn owl was identified and suitable mitigation recommended, which has been undertaken.

The south eastern portion of the main site comprised open areas of landscaping, car parking and vegetated areas formerly occupied by the Aylesford Newsprint Research and Development facility which was demolished some years ago. It was recommended that much of the tree and scrub along the southern boundary of the site is retained and where vegetation removal is required, mitigation planning will be required.

A visual inspection for water voles was undertaken as part of the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal. No signs of otters or water voles were identified, and no impacts are currently anticipated. It was recommended that an additional survey check is undertaken prior to the commencement of construction work to demonstrate continued absence of both species within the immediate vicinity of the proposed development.

Set within the context of the current demolition programme, an updated ecological survey was undertaken in July 2018. The demolition has included the Ancillary Buildings in the Water Treatment Works where a bat roost was previously identified. The licence has been completed by AECOM during the demolition phase and the survey identified that the bat boxes are still in place subject to the licence. Habitats within the Site are largely unchanged with the exception of some trees which have been removed. The updated survey will be interpreted in a Phase 1 Addendum Report available August 2018 and will be provided in the data room.

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