When developments result in the destruction of wildlife habitat, planning conditions often require a new area of habitat to be created, particularly if protected species are affected.
Habitat creation, restoration and management
Expert teams at Thomson create areas that provide habitat for scarce and protected species including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, invertebrates and scarce plants.
We design, create and restore habitats for all ecosystems for private and public sector clients. We discuss the outcomes you need and the best methods of achieving them.
Our habitat creation projects have included: artificial badger setts, water vole ditches, bird and bat boxes, herptile hibernacula, ponds, wetland habitat areas, mixed habitat over extensive areas, grasslands and meadows.
We also carry out countryside management and soft landscaping including tree and shrub planting. You can rely on our ecology teams for ecological advice that is up to date and practical.
Types of habitat
The teams at Thomson environmental consultants have worked on a variety of brownfield sites all over the UK.
Brownfield land is land which had been previously used for industrial or commercial development, and which has become disused or derelict. Brownfield sites often require extra care when working, due to hazards such as unexploded ordnance (UXO), underground pipes, overground cables and contaminated soil.
Soil assessment may be required as part of a habitat creation scheme. We undertake soil invertebrate sample analysis, including biomass, as well as physical and chemical tests, soil type, pH, organic matter, soil moisture content and nutrient status.
We have worked on many sites with these hazards, and we ensure that our staff are fully health and safety trained, and always employ the correct methods of working, such as carrying out thorough catscans of the area, and deploying a trained UXO banksman.
Coast, estuary and river
Thomson undertake a large variety of works on coasts, estuaries and rivers. This has included fish rescue projects using electrofishing on several rivers, and the installation of fish passes and eel gutters to help fish and eels avoid river obstructions such as dams and weirs.
Our teams have vast experience in spraying herbicide on river banks, after gaining the required permission from the Environment Agency.
We have carried out silt translocation at a large reservoir in Essex, and worked with clients on several large scale flood defence projects, including great crested newt translocation on the Steart Peninsula and soft landscaping works as part of a flood alleviation project at Gatwick.
On one occasion, we helped a client in translocating wildlife from a large area on the Thames Estuary which was due to be flooded to create mud flats.
Grassland and heathland
Meadows contain some of the UK’s richest grassland flora; however, some grassland types have declined severely during the 20th century nationwide, and are now rarely found.
Teams from Thomson are experienced in grassland management, including enhancing grassland areas to recreate species-rich habitat, including rotavating soil, ploughing and cultivating, flailing and mulching vegetation, hay cutting, brush-harvesting seeds, and sowing seeds, including hydro-seeding.
Heathlands are a threatened habitat, but they are rich in plants and wildlife, including reptiles such as the sand lizard and grass snake, as well as birds and invertebrates.
We are able to help you maintain and manage heathland vegetation. We have experience in translocating scarce plants, and carrying out reptile mitigation works, including reptile fencing, refugia, and building and restoring reptile habitat.
Wetlands are waterlogged areas, such as marsh, fen or bog, and are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems.
Some dry up seasonally, whilst others stay wet permanently. They are a valuable habitat for wildlife, especially for many bird species, and can act as a natural flood defence system.
Wetland habitat has decreased considerably in the UK, with England having lost 90% of its wetlands in the last 1000 years, due largely to factors including urban and agricultural development.
Reed beds and wader scrapes are two types of wetland that provide invaluable refuge and habitat for a wide range of wetland wildlife.
Wader scrapes are constructed to imitate natural hollows where water would collect. They support high volumes of insects which feed birds and amphibians, and encourage many plant species which benefit water voles. Reed beds have a sloping profile and contain mostly common reeds. All parts of the reed bed are important for wildlife, from drier areas to the wettest, and are beneficial to water voles, birds, butterflies and amphibians.
As well as being the ideal habitat for many species of flora, woodlands provide shelter for many other species including invertebrates, birds and mammals, such as bats and dormice.
Thomson have worked on a large number of woodland projects. Our teams have cleared vegetation to improve reptile and invertebrate habitat and have installed dormouse boxes, bat boxes and barn owl boxes on woodland edges.
Woodland scalloping for structural diversity, glade creation, ride widening and coppicing, as well as hedge planting to aid connectivity for dormice are regular services we provide for our clients.
We have also put up dormouse bridges and then carried out a programme of monitoring their usage with specialised cameras.
We provide a full range of soft landscaping and habitat creation services. We deliver soft landscaping projects on a variety of sites, including flood defence, rail, housing, highways, renewables and development sites. Project sizes can vary from small tree-planting schemes to large habitat creation and restoration projects.
We provide advice on suitable solutions and methods of installation which can achieve the best from the existing site conditions, provide the best habitat for ecology, and provide you with the best value for money.
Services we provide include
- Ground preparation including herbicide application, subsoil and topsoil preparation and final cultivations
- Grass and wildflower seeding (including hydroseeding)
- Bulb planting
- Tree planting – including whips, extra heavy standards, and specimen trees
- Shrub, perennial & herbaceous planting
- Wetland planting
- Hedgerow planting, including instant hedgerows
- Habitat management including compilation of management strategies
- Landscape maintenance.
Specialist contracting services
We are always happy to receive enquiries and offer advice for bespoke, specialist services.
Our team has a diverse range of skills and we are often able to offer value engineering suggestions as well as innovative solutions to problems.
The specialist contracting services that we offer include
- Woodland translocation
- Grassland translocation
- Brush harvesting of wildflower & heather seed stock
- Flood alleviation
- Channel enhancement works
- Low ground-pressure machinery
- Heathland restoration
- Hay meadow restoration
- Footpath creation
- Scheduled ancient monument mitigation works including sensitive vegetation clearance and badger sett exclusions
- Wildlife features, including bird hides, steps and benches.