Nottingham Island Urban Regeneration Project
Nottingham Island is a 12ha site located within the heart of the city and so plays a key role in the Council’s regeneration initiatives. The project site comprises mainly derelict land and buildings, yet brownfield sites can be surprisingly rich in wildlife. Ecology for urban redevelopment can subsequently be more challenging than perhaps might be expected, especially given the obligation on local authorities to ‘protect and enhance’ biodiversity in NPPF2 and under the NERC Act (2006), as well as to deliver a ‘net biodiversity gain’. The increasing emphasis on redevelopment of brownfield sites suggests this challenge will recur again and again. Avian Ecology was commissioned to determine the site’s biodiversity value and ensure legislative and policy compliance through the EIA process for an outline planning application. Like all projects, it was important to complete the correct scope of surveys to allow the determination of the application, but also without accruing unnecessary costs or programme delays. The Avian Ecology team engaged early with the Council and other consultees to agree a proportionate survey schedule, and subsequently undertook surveys for roosting bats, invertebrates and reptiles, as well as overall habitats. Evidence of roosting bats was found, along with a diverse invertebrate assemblage of notable value. The Avian Ecology team therefore worked closely with the project designers to incorporate novel greenspace features into the redevelopment masterplan which will enable both bats and invertebrates to continue to live within the newly developed area, without compromising the developers design aspirations. This in turn provides the planning authority with the assurances required under local and national planning policy, enabling the application to be determined without concerns on ecology; an urban win for both the developers and wildlife.