18 January 2016

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 January 18, 2016
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New roads can have a major impact on ecology and often require a lot of survey work. In the UK the standards for this are set out in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB). Volume 10 gives the most detail but general principles to be followed are also covered in Volume 11 

Volume 10 contains both an overview of how to deal with ecology and biodiversity when planning a road and more detailed advice on bats, badgers, otters, dormice, amphibians and reptiles.
Surveys are needed in any area that may be affected by a proposed road, which means along the proposed route and for up to 1km either side depending what you are surveying for and the type of habitats. Where a route is still being decided on it might be necessary to survey and even broader area to help road designers pick a route that has the least implications for wildlife.
Initial surveys will pick up issues that need to be covered in road design and will typically lead to recommendations for further work. This might include mitigation measures such as fencing to prevent badgers going onto a road or underpasses to allow animals to cross underneath – detailed standards are given for these.
Road schemes will often also include an element of monitoring to look at any changes in the activity and distribution of important species and habitats. This makes it possible to see how they respond to the building of the road and to both alter mitigation and improve future plans. Monitoring can take place immediately before construction, during the construction phase and for several years afterwards.

This will be the last of these posts due to the Christmas break, the series will be back in the new year with  S for Schedule.

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