To enable our client to develop an area as a training site within MOD land in Oxfordshire, we arranged for a number of different assessments of habitats and protected species. Of particular interest was dormice, a European protected species and one that has been considerably threatened by loss of habitat.
We monitored the site for dormouse activity through tree and hedge surveys, we put up and monitored dormouse nest boxes and nest tubes and carried out hazelnut surveys. We prepared and submitted dormice licence applications and a master plan which have been approved by Natural England. A further licence application is under way.
Following this we designed dormouse bridges to maintain habitat connectivity for the dormice on the site, supervised the installation, and installed cameras to monitor the effectiveness of the bridges. This monitoring will continue into next year and possibly beyond.
Through creative strategies and in consultation with natural England and negotiation with our client, we have helped them to achieve their aims within wildlife regulations and at the same time protect and enhance sufficient suitable habitat for the dormice to survive.
Our ongoing monitoring will confirm how successful the strategy has been.