Kent - Ecology/Junction Improvements

Kent - Ecology/Junction Improvements

Project Scope and Delivery

SYSTRA were commissioned by Kent County Council to carry out some detailed ecological assessments of two proposed highways Junction improvements near the busy town of Sittingbourne in Kent.

SYSTRA’s Approach

The SYSTRA ecology team mobilised to undertake some ecological appraisals for Kent County Council for two proposed Junction Improvement Schemes at Key Street and Grovehurst on the busy A249 highway. Initial stages involved integrated Preliminary Ecological Assessments with Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys to highlight the key ecological features and to identify protected species and sites in and around the Scheme footprints.

Drawing on their field expertise visits to the sites by the Ecology Team revealed the presence of a more diverse assemblage of protected species than was initially expected. The highways soft estate and surrounding habitats were home to the hazel dormouse, the slow worm and the scarce chafer beetle. With the nearby European Designated Swale Estuary classified as a Special Protection Area based on its wetland birds, the Ecology Team have been working closely with Engineering colleagues to ensure the ecological implications of the development are mitigated for in the design, and are also seeking ways of strengthening the ecological network and enhancing habitats through targeted biodiversity offsetting opportunities. Further surveys are now planned in order that to meet and exceed environmental compliance for project deliverables.

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