Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Ecological Update - Dormice at Straitgate and the significance of Cadhay Bog

A report detailing the ecological significance of the area in and around Straitgate will be produced next year. In the meantime, much investigative work has already taken place and further studies will be undertaken next spring.

Aggregate Industries' consultants, SLR, have confirmed that the hedges at Straitgate act as a habitat for dormice, but consider that phased working over an extended period would give the protected animals an opportunity to move should quarrying take place. Natural England may of course take a different view. As expected, bats also populate the site.

SLR reconfirmed the ecological significance of Cadhay Bog, and recognise that mitigation here may be problematical. Cadhay Bog - ancient woodland with wetland habitats - has been confirmed to be "in very good condition", with "significant biodiversity interest"; SLR's ecologist thought it to be "wonderful woodland". Hydrologically, SLR believe that the primary impact of any quarrying would be on Cadhay Bog, and for AI's proposal to go forward this would need to be resolved. It may be possible to maintain water flows by creating ponds that would allow water to infiltrate back into the pebble beds - but again the Environment Agency may have something to say on such proposals. Any ponding, however, would obviously conflict with the requirements of Exeter Airport and the inherent risk of birdstrike.