Stoke Park SNCI; Parkland Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019 Non-licensable Method Statement - Great Crested Newt, Reptiles and ...

 
Stoke Park SNCI; Parkland Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019 Non-licensable Method Statement - Great Crested Newt, Reptiles and ...
Stoke Park SNCI; Parkland
                          Restoration Works September 2018
                                    to March 2019

                         Non-licensable Method Statement –
                          Great Crested Newt, Reptiles and
                                   Nesting Birds

                                      On behalf of Bristol City Council

                                                August 2018

Date: November 2018
Our ref: AE194.1

Avalon Ecology Ltd
Pendine House
6 Bridge Street
Chepstow
Monmouthshire
NP16 5EY

Tel: 07733097922
Email: craigstenson@avalonecology.org.uk
Stoke Park SNCI; Parkland Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019 Non-licensable Method Statement - Great Crested Newt, Reptiles and ...
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

Disclaimer

This report has been prepared by Avalon Ecology Ltd, with all reasonable skill, care and diligence within the terms of
the Contract with the client and taking account of the resources devoted to Avalon Ecology Ltd by agreement with the
client.
Avalon Ecology Ltd disclaim any responsibility to the client and others in respect of any matters outside the scope of
the above.
This report is confidential to the client and Avalon Ecology Ltd accept no responsibility of whatsoever nature to third
parties to whom this report, or any part thereof, is made known. Any such party relies on the report at its own risk.
Stoke Park SNCI; Parkland Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019 Non-licensable Method Statement - Great Crested Newt, Reptiles and ...
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

Document Number:

AE194.1
Date of Issue:

27th November 2018
Amendment Record:
       Revision No.                      Date                 Reason for Change             Authors Signature

                                                             Section 2 Summary of
             1                   27th November 2018
                                                             Survey Results revision

                                                            Revisions to methodology
                                                              required to take into
             1                   27th November 2018          account negative 2018
                                                              eDNA result for Barn
                                                                   Wood Pond

Main Contributor:

Craig Stenson

Issued by:
Craig Stenson

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Contents
 Summary
 1. Background                                                     5
 2. Summary of Survey Results                                      10
 3. Legislation and European Protected Species Licenses 13
 4. Risk Avoidance Measures (RAMs)                                 18
 5. Additional Recommendations – Great Crested Newt                30
 References                                                        31

Figures
 Figure 1: Stoke Park Parkland Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019
 Figure 2: Proposed Artificial Hibernacula Locations
 Figure 3: Ecological Supervision Requirements
Figure 4: Clearance of Dense Bramble and Thorn Scrub – proposed Long Reach Flail Use
 Figure 5: Retention of 6m Wide Vegetated Scrub Corridors for GCN
 Figure 6: Site Waterbodies Locations

Plates
 Plate 1.1: Dew Pond
 Plate 1.2: Dew Pond
 Plate 1.3: Duchess Pond
 Plate 1.4: Barn Wood Pond
 Plate 2.1: GCN egg found at Dew Pond
 Plates 4.1 to 4.2: Existing access routes across Stoke Park
 Plate 4.3: Existing access route leading to Dew Pond area in photo background
 Plates 4.4 to 4.6: Dense bramble and thorn scrub within vicinity of Dew Pond
 Plates 4.7 to 4.8: Woodland subject to ash and hawthorn thinning
 Plates 4.9 to 4.10: Historic hedgrows
 Plates 4.11 to 4.13: Over mature hedgerows

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1.    Background
1.1. This non-licensable method statement sets out a defined means of continued parkland restoration
     works (See Figure 1) at Stoke Park Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI). This report is
     intended to ensure that great crested newts (GCN) Triturus cristatus are not harmed and no offence
     committed under the Conservation of Habitats and species regulations 2010 (as amended) and the
     Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
1.2. Avoidance of harm is achieved by setting a pragmatic list of undertakings which constitute reasonable
     avoidance measures (RAMs). These measures identify the exact type, scope and timing of work,
     clearly define the working areas and show commitment to avoidance of harm through awareness and
     training of contractors and supervision staff engaged in the operations.
1.3. In addition to not harming GCNs, the RAMs outlined within the document will equally avoid harm to
     reptiles, other amphibians and nesting birds known to be present within the Stoke Park restoration
     works area.
1.4. The evaluation was undertaken by Craig Stenson, a highly experienced field ecologist of over 28
     years, including extensive experience in GCN survey, evaluation, licensing and mitigation on large
     scale development sites. For thirteen years he has held a Natural England Class Licence WML-CL09.
1.5. The methods and mitigation applied at the site are based on the known presence of GCN at the Stoke
     Park site, and a site visit to confirm features and formulate a method of ensuring GCN will not be
     adversely affected by the proposed works.
1.6. The non-licensable method statement applies to the restoration works as shown on Figure 1.
1.7. The Stoke Park parkland restoration works to be carried out between September 2018 and March
     2019 shall be implemented in full under the direct supervision and advice of retained suitably qualified
     ecologists.

     Site Location and Context
1.8. Stoke Park SNCI covers approximately 101 hectares in the north east of Bristol. It is a broadly linear
     site partly occupying the eastern flank of the Pur Down – Stoke Park ridge which lies on the western
     side of the Frome Valley. The site covers a number of landforms from plateau through scarp face to
     dry valley, it runs south west to north east for a distance of 2.7km and is 800m wide at its broadest
     point. There are many aspects but the south-easterly aspect is predominant, and the site is generally
     well-drained except for some areas of rush pasture in the north east. Altitude ranges between 20m in
     the extreme south to 89m in the north west. The M32 motorway forms the eastern boundary for much
     of the site’s length whilst the other boundaries of the site abut farmland and parkland which in turn are
     enclosed within residential, industrial and institutional development.
1.9. The western third of the site overlies Jurassic limestones of the Lower Lias Series whilst Triassic
     deposits distinguish the rest of the site: on the eastern side of the ridge the break of slope is marked
     by a band of Rhaetic Clay which gives way to a broader band of Keuper Marl. East of the motorway
     there are Triassic sandstones of the Keuper Series. A small area of foundered strata is present in the
     centre of the site and is associated with the areas that experience waterlogging.
1.10. The restoration works are taking place within the part of the SNCI area that is owned by Bristol City
      Council.
1.11. Some areas of grassland are subject to a hay cut in late summer.
1.12. A key feature of the site is the re-created Duchess Pond located in the north close to the site of the
      original Duchess Pond which was destroyed as part of the construction of the M32. The replacement

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     pond has been landscaped and is fenced against the rest of the site; there is considerable angling
     activity here, especially at weekends.
1.13. The site is complex and supports many plant communities in varying states of management and
      succession. Planted trees (mostly alien species) are frequent in the south of the site whilst mature
      field trees (mostly native species) are scattered throughout. Many grassland areas have scrubbed
      over, particularly with bramble and thorn, within the restoration project works area. Elsewhere, the
      character of the original parkland landscape has diminished due to further scrub and tree
      encroachment.
      Waterbodies
1.14. Waterbodies lying within the SNCI area shown on Figure 6.
      Dew Pond
1.15. The Dew Pond comprises a small semi-circular water body at the base of a northern slope (see
      Figure 1). The pond is rain-fed with an occasional outflow downhill to a small marshy area. The pond
      is bordered by amenity grassland to the south, scrub and rough grassland elsewhere. The pond is
      lined with stone setts (cobblestones) and has little marginal vegetation and no emergent vegetation
      (see Plates 1-1 and 1-2). Several the stone setts have become dislodged with silt and stone debris
      partially filling the pond. The pond is frequently disturbed by dogs.
      Plate 1.1: Dew Pond                                 Plate 1.2: Dew Pond

      Duchess Pond
1.16. The Duchess Pond (see Figure 1, Plate 1-3) is an enlargement of a smaller water body which
      replaced the original Duchess pond that stood in the path of the M32 motorway. The pond is broadly
      linear and has a small rounded island (with semi-mature trees and shrubs growing on it) towards its
      western apex. At the western end of the pond there is a considerable quantity of common reed
      Phragmites australis; other emergents include sea club-rush Scirpus maritimus, branched bur-reed
      Sparganium erectum, common spike-rush Eleocharis palustris, reed-mace Typha latifolia, great
      sweet-grass Glyceria maxima and common water-plantain Alisma plantago-aquatica. Bankside
      species include fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica, reed canary-grass Phalaris arundinacea, water mint
      Mentha aquatica and great Willowherb Epilobium hirsutum; white water-lily Nymphaea alba is
      present on the surface of the pond.

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      Plate 1.3: Duchess Pond

      Wildlife Conservation Pond
1.17. To the east of the Duchess Pond lies a small linear water body with adjacent riparian habitat and
      marshy grassland.
      Barn Wood Pond
1.18. Located approximately 260m north-east from the Dew Pond, Barn Wood Pond (see plate 1.4)
      comprises an old cart dip enclosed on three sides by stone walls.
      Plate 1.4: Barn Wood Pond

1.19. Historical records refer to a waterbody being located north of the northern boundary of Pale
      Plantation, approximately 250m west of the Dew Pond. However, a site survey carried out in
      September 2018, did not find any features on the ground indicating the presence of a waterbody that
      holds standing water

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      Details of Work
1.20. Between September 2018 and the end of March 2019 the following restoration works will take place:
          •   September and October 2018: clearance of dense bramble and thorn scrub that has
              encroached upon former grassland areas (see Figure 1).

          •   Necessity for clearance, September 2018 to March 2019, of dense areas of bramble and
              thorn scrub within woodland areas to take place at the discretion of the supervising ecologist
              (see Figure 1);

          •   October 2018 to March 2019: areas of dense young ash and hawthorn to be thinned to favour
              veteran trees, oak and other species, retaining 70% canopy cover; understorey to be cut
              above ground level to enable access for park users and grazing cattle (see Figure 1);
          •   October 2018 to March/April 2019: historic hedgerows to be laid. All mature hedgerow trees
              to be retained, to enclose grazed areas, and maintain habitat connectivity (see Figure 1);

          •   Late March/April 2019: historic hedgerows to be banked up, gaps replanted and fenced.
          •   October 2018 to March 2019: over mature hedges to be pruned to enable fencing, but not
              laid until other hedges have regrown (see Figure 1);
          •   November 2018 to March 2019: fencing to be installed parallel to above pruned hedges;

          •   April to November 2018 and 2019: extension to cattle grazing;
          •   Autumn and Winter 2018 and 2019: Orchard and parkland tree planting; and
          •   All year round: general works in the park with volunteers.

      Purpose of this Document
1.21. The purpose of this document is to summarise the background survey information relating to great
      crested newt, reptiles and birds within the area of the proposed restoration works. It then presents
      the specific precautionary methods of working to be adopted during the works. This information
      justifies the conclusion that the specific works described may proceed without the need for a great
      crested newt mitigation licence from Natural England and without the risk of committing offences
      against common species of amphibians, reptiles and nesting birds.

      Protected Species Risks
1.22. The existing species records and survey information confirm that a small GCN population exists
      within the vicinity of Stoke Park Dew Pond.
1.23. As regards reptiles, existing records and survey information confirm that slow worm Anguis fragilis
      and grass snake Natrix natrix populations exist at Stoke Park and are likely throughout most of the
      site. A common (viviparous) lizard Zootoca vivipara record for the area adjoining the sites southern
      boundary suggests that a population of this species might also be present at Stoke Park.
1.24. As regards common species of amphibians, existing records and survey information confirm that
      smooth newt Lissotriton vulgaris, palmate newt Lissotriton helveticus, common toad Bufo bufo and
      common frog Rana temporaria populations exist at Stoke Park and are likely throughout most of the
      site.
1.25. As regards hazel dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius, the 2018 hazel dormouse nest tube survey
      has found no evidence of hazel dormouse, it is therefore considered unlikely that hazel dormouse is
      present at the site. Hazel dormouse is afforded legal protection as a European Protected Species

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      under the Conservation of Habitats and species regulations 2010 (as amended) and the Wildlife and
      Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
1.26. The existing species records and survey information confirm that a Stoke Park supports a wide range
      of bird species.

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2.     Summary of Survey Results
       Great Crested Newt
       Dew Pond
       Bristol City Council Estate’s Ponds - Great Crested Newt eDNA & HSI Survey May 2018 (Wild
       Service)
2.1.   In accordance with ARG UK’s Advice Note 5 (Oldham et al. 2000), a Habitat Suitability Index (HIS)
       and a GCN eDNA (Biggs et al. 2014) survey was carried out for the Dew Pond (National Grid
       Reference (NGR) ST6161977035) by Gloucestershire Wildlife Management, analysis by ADAS. The
       Dew Pond HSI score was 0.58 and therefore considered of below average suitability for GCN. The
       eDNA result was negative. However, during a subsequent egg search, a loose dock leaf was
       observed on the surface of the water, partially opened, revealing the presence of a great crested
       newt egg (see Plate 2.1). Further evidence of leaf folding was observed on blades of grass that were
       overhanging the pond and lying in the water. After the egg search, at least one great crested newt
       individual was seen swimming to the surface for air. As presence was confirmed, netting and torching
       were not completed to minimise disturbance.
2.2.   The aforesaid survey confirmed that the dew pond is utilised by GCN for breeding purposes.
       Plate 2.1: GCN egg found at Dew Pond

       Duchess Pond and adjacent Wildlife Pond
       eDNA Great Crested Newt Survey Results 2017 Southern England (PondNet)
2.3.   Stoke Park: Pond 1 (Duchess Pond, NGR: ST6184 7690), Pond 2 (Wildlife Pond, NGR:
       ST61967692), GCN eDNA results negative for 5.6.2017.
       eDNA Great Crested Newt Survey Results 2016 Southern England (PondNet)
2.4.   Stoke Park: Pond 1 (Duchess Pond, NGR: ST6184 7690), Pond 2 (Wildlife Pond, NGR:
       ST61967692), GCN eDNA results negative for 24.6.2016.
       eDNA Great Crested Newt Survey Results 2016 Southern England (PondNet)
2.5.   Stoke Park: Pond 1 (Duchess Pond, NGR: ST6184 7690), Pond 2 (Wildlife Pond, NGR:
       ST61967692), GCN eDNA results negative for 2015.
       eDNA Great Crested Newt Survey Results 2018 Natural England

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2.6.    Stoke Park: Pond 2 (Wildlife Pond, NGR: ST61967692), GCN eDNA results negative for spring 2018.
        Habitat Suitability Index (HIS) methodology (Oldham et al 2000) score for Wildlife Pond determined
        as 0.8 (excellent).
        Barn Wood Pond
        eDNA Great Crested Newt Survey Results 2018 Natural England
2.7.    Stoke Park: Pond 3 (Barn Wood Pond, NGR: ST6205877374), GCN eDNA results negative for spring
        2018. HSI score for Barn Wood Pond determined as 0.62 (average).
        Other Waterbodies
2.8.    There are no survey records for the defunct Pond North of Pale Plantation located at ST6137477083.
        eDNA Great Crested Newt Survey Results 2018 Natural England
2.9.    South of Stoke Park: Two waterbodies located approximately 1km south of the Dew Pond at
        ST6107975958 and ST 6093276126, GCN eDNA results negative for spring 2018. HSI scores for
        latter ponds determined as 0.4 (poor) and 0.36 (poor) respectively.
        Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) Data
2.10. BRERC supplied records of great crested newt within a 0.5km radius of Stoke Park.
2.11. The data search revealed three records of GCN within the search area. The nearest record is for the
      Dew Pond at Stoke Park where individual male and female GCNs were recorded in 2009. The next
      nearest record (1998) is approximately 460m west of the Stoke Park western boundary. The third
      record (2000) is approximately 700m north-west of the Stoke Park boundary.

        Other Amphibian Species
        Dew Pond
        Stoke Park SNCI Favourable Condition assessment Report, 2004.
2.12. Approximately 16 smooth newt efts were recorded in the Dew Pond.
        Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) Data
2.13. BRERC supplied records of amphibians within a 0.5km radius of Stoke Park.
2.14. There are two records of common frog within the search area, the nearest record (2009) of which is
      for the Stoke Park Dew Pond.
2.15. There are nine records of common toad within the search area, the nearest record (2012) of which
      is approximately 350m north the Stoke Park boundary.
2.16. There are two records of palmate newt within the search area, the nearest record (2009) of which is
      for the Stoke Park Dew Pond.
2.17. There are six records of smooth newt within the search area, the nearest record (2009) of which is
      for the Stoke Park Dew Pond.

2.18.   Reptiles
        Stoke Park Reptile Survey, 2013.
2.19. Between April and June 2013, a reptile survey was carried out by Bristol City Council. Including the
      area of the Stoke Park subject to restoration works, a total of 39 artificial refugia (mats) were installed
      and checked on five occasions. Totals of ten slow worms and three grass snakes were recorded.

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      Although limited in extent, the survey findings suggest, particularly within areas of favourable habitat,
      Stoke Park likely supports a high population of slow worm and a medium population of grass snake.
      Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) Data
2.20. BRERC supplied records of amphibians within a 0.5km radius of Stoke Park.
2.21. There are three records of common (viviparpous) lizard within the search area, the nearest record
      (1998) of which is approximately 300m south of the Stoke Park southern boundary.
2.22. There are thirteen records of slow worm within the search area, the nearest record (2005) of which
      is for the southern end of Stoke Park.
2.23. There are two records of grass snake within the search area, the nearest record (2012) of which is
      for the Duchess Pond at Stoke Park. There’s also a record (2012) approximately 200m south of the
      Stoke Park southern boundary.

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3.     Legislation and European Protected Species Licenses
       Legislation
3.1.   This report has been prepared in accordance with relevant legislation. Primary documents of
       relevance are:
               •    The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended);

               •    The Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW Act), 2000 (as amended);

               •    The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (NERC Act), 2006; and
               •    The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.
3.2.   No part of this report should be considered as legal advice and when dealing with individual cases,
       the client is advised to consult the full texts of the relevant legislation and obtain further legal advice.
       Great Crested Newt
3.3.   Great crested newt is legally protected as a European Protected Species under Regulation 41 of the
       Conservation of Habitats and species Regulations 2010 in respect of:
               a. Deliberate capturing, injuring or killing of an animal;
               b. Deliberate disturbance of animals;
               c.   Deliberate taking or destroying the eggs of such an animal; and
               d. Damaging or destroying a breeding or resting place of such an animal.
3.4.   ‘’Deliberate disturbance of animals (meaning (according to case law) the species) includes in
       particular any disturbance which is likely:
               a. To impair their ability:
                    i.    To survive, to breed or reproduce, or to rear or nurture their young or
                    ii.   In the case of animals hibernating or migratory species, to hibernate or migrate.
               b. To affect significantly the local distribution or abundance of the species to which they
                  belong.
3.5.   GCN are also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) in respect of
       intentionally or recklessly:
               a. Disturbing any such animal while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for
                  shelter or protection.
               b. Obstructing access to any structure or place which any animal uses for shelter or
                  protection.
       Vegetation clearance
 3.6. Bristol City Council officers have consulted Natural England and a suitably qualified consultant
      ecologist regarding as to whether an EPS licence needs to be obtained for the vegetation clearance
      and habitat enhancement works. The consensus is that an EPS licence is not required provided the
      proposed works are reasonably unlikely to result in an offence under Regulation 41. It is considered
      that as long as the risk avoidance measures (RAMS) set out in Section 4 of the document are
      carefully adhered to, no offence will be committed.

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3.7.   As follows, there are several reasons why no offence in relation to GCNs is expected in relation to
       vegetation clearance:
               •    No ponds are to be affected by the restoration works;
               •    Low risk of harm to GCNs due to small population size, low pond density, short works
                    period;
               •    All vegetation within a 60m buffer zone of the Dew Pond will be retained (see Figure 3);

               •    The vegetation clearance of the most suitable (moderate risk) GCN terrestrial habitat
                    (dense and scattered scrub, rank vegetation) will be undertaken outside of the GCN
                    hibernation period, generally accepted to be late October to late February (weather
                    dependant), and when the temperature, including overnight, is 5°C or above;
               •    Suitable GCN refugia will not be disturbed November 2018 to March 2019;
               •    The restoration works are not a development activity but a land management and habitat
                    enhancement and restoration activity, therefore, suitable GCN habitat will be retained
                    with no net loss of suitable habitat;

               •    Other than the Dew Pond, given the distance and presence of barriers (main roads and
                    urbanisation) between Stoke Park and the next nearest GCN records, potential impacts
                    on GCN at Stoke Park are considered most likely confined to within a 250m radius of
                    the Dew Pond.

               •    Should a GCN be found, Natural England will be consulted;

               •    As required, vegetation clearance and hedgerow restoration works will be supervised by
                    a suitably qualified ecologist;
               •    If there is any doubt that vegetation removal would lead to an offence being committed,
                    further advice will be obtained from Natural England and relevant specialists; and

               •    Any additional measures deemed necessary by the project ecologist during the works
                    will be applied immediately and recorded on the Ecological Permit to Work and Task
                    Risk Assessment.
3.8.   Based on the points outlined above, Reasonable Avoidance Measures (RAMs) are the appropriate
       course of action in respect of GCN at the site.
       Other Amphibian Species
3.9.   The four widespread species of amphibian, the smooth and palmate newts, the common frog and
       common toad, are protected only by Section 9(5) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This
       section prohibits sale, barter, exchange, transporting for sale and advertising to sell or to buy.
       Collection and keeping of these widespread amphibian species is not an offence. Under the NERC
       Act 2066, common toad is also a species of principal importance in England.
3.10. The scarce species natterjack toad Epidalea calamita is afforded additional protection under Sections
      2 and 5 the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 Wildlife and Countryside Act
      1981 (as amended). UK and European law which makes it an offence to kill, injure, capture or disturb
      them; damage or destroy their habitat; or possess them or sell or trade them in any way. This also
      applies to larval stages and eggs.

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      Vegetation clearance
3.11. Offences under the W&CA 1981 relating to common amphibians are, in the context of the works, not
      licensable under the legislation.
3.12. It has been concluded by the consultant ecologist that the offences of intentional killing or injury of a
      common amphibian are unlikely to arise during the vegetation clearance and habitat enhancement
      works as long as the RAMS set out in Section 4 is carefully adhered to.
      Reptiles
3.13. All native British reptiles are protected in accordance with Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside
      Act 1981 (as amended). There are two different levels of protection afforded to reptiles through the
      Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; these result from different parts of Section 9 of the Act applying
      to the different species (as specified in Schedule 5).
3.14. The common (viviparous) lizard, slow-worm, grass snake and adder are protected against killing,
      injury and sale, etc. Only part of sub-section 9(1) and all of sub-section 9(5) apply; these prohibit the
      intentional killing and injuring and trade (i.e. sale, barter, exchange, transporting for sale and
      advertising to sell or to buy). It is not an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to
      disturb or possess these animals.
3.15. In 2000, the Wildlife and Countryside Act was supplemented by the Countryside and Rights of Way
      (CRoW) Act, which places a statutory duty on government departments to have regard to biodiversity
      conservation.
3.16. In June 2007 the UK List of Priority Species and Habitats was presented in a UK BAP report. Within
      this report slow-worm, smooth snake, sand lizard, grass snake, adder and common (viviparous)
      lizard are listed as species that are priorities for conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action
      Plan (UK BAP).
      Vegetation clearance
3.17. Offences under the W&CA 1981 relating to reptiles are, in the context of the works, not licensable
      under the legislation.
3.18. It has been concluded by the consultant ecologist that the offences of intentional killing or injury of a
      reptile are unlikely to arise during the vegetation clearance and habitat enhancement works as long
      as the RAMS set out in Section 4 is carefully adhered to.
3.19. As follows, there are several reasons why no offence in relation to reptiles is expected in relation to
      vegetation clearance:

               •   The vegetation clearance of the most suitable reptile habitat (dense and scattered scrub,
                   rank vegetation) will be undertaken outside of the reptile hibernation period, generally
                   accepted to be November to early March (weather dependant);
               •   Suitable reptile refugia will not be disturbed November 2018 to March 2019;

               •   As required, vegetation clearance and hedgerow restoration works will be supervised by
                   a suitably qualified ecologist;
               •   Any additional measures deemed necessary by the project ecologist during the works
                   will be applied immediately and recorded on the Ecological Permit to Work and Task
                   Risk Assessment; and
               •   If there is any doubt that vegetation removal would lead to an offence being committed,
                   further advice will be obtained from relevant specialists and Natural England.

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      Nesting Birds
3.20. Key legislation for birds in the UK includes:
3.21. Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds (the EC Birds Directive); and,
3.22. Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) [WCA].
3.23. Annex 1 of the EC Birds Directive lists rare and vulnerable species of regularly occurring or migratory
      wild birds that are subject to special conservation measures. The Directive also provides for the
      designation of SPAs for the protection of these species, which form part of the Natura 2000 network
      of sites protected by European wildlife legislation.
3.24. Part 1 of the WCA sets out how the provisions of the Convention on the Conservation of European
      Wildlife and Natural Habitats (the 'Bern Convention'), the EC Birds Directive and the EC Habitats
      Directive are implemented in Great Britain. Under Part 1, Section 1 of the WCA it is an offence to:

               •   Kill, injure or take any wild bird intentionally;

               •   Take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while that nest is in use or being built;
                   and

               •   Take or destroy the egg(s) of any wild bird.
3.25. Schedule 1 of the WCA lists a number of species which, in addition to the provisions listed above,
      are protected by special penalties at all times, including against disturbance when breeding.
3.26. The WCA requires the prosecuting authority to prove that an offence was intentional, however the
      Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000 strengthens the provisions of the WCA by
      introducing an additional offence of "reckless" disturbance, which means that ignorance of the
      presence of a protected species cannot be used as a reliable defence should a breach of the WCA
      be committed.
      Vegetation clearance
3.27. Offences under the W&CA 1981 relating to nesting and non-nesting birds are, in the context of the
      works, not licensable under the legislation.
3.28. It can be assumed that it is highly likely that a range of bird species will nest within the working area
      during the breeding season, which is generally accepted to be between February and early
      September (weather dependant).
3.29. Nevertheless, it has been concluded that no offence against nesting birds is likely as long as the
      RAM set out in Section 4 is carefully adhered to. As follows, there are a number of reasons why no
      offence in relation to nesting birds is expected in relation to vegetation clearance and habitat
      enhancement works:
               •   The vegetation clearance will generally be undertaken outside of the bird breeding
                   season;
               •   As required, vegetation clearance works will be undertaken under the strict supervision
                   of a suitably qualified ecologist and in accordance with the restrictions noted on the
                   Ecological Permit to Work and Task Risk Assessment;

               •   Should works take place in September, the end of the nesting season, or March, the
                   start of the nesting season, legally the absence of nesting birds would need to be
                   confirmed by a suitably experienced ecologist prior to any clearance works. Where an

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Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

                   active nest is found, a suitable buffer will be established around the nest. The nest site
                   must remain undisturbed until it has been confirmed that the nest is no longer in use;
               •   It’s anticipated that no Schedule 1 bird species are known to nest and or roost within the
                   works area;
               •   Should potential impacts upon a Schedule 1 species be identified, an appropriate buffer
                   will be put in place, and pending consultation with Natural England, works within these
                   areas will cease as a precaution;

               •   Any additional measures deemed necessary by the project ecologist during the works
                   will be applied immediately and recorded on the Ecological Permit to Work and Task
                   Risk Assessment; and
               •   If there is any doubt that vegetation removal would have an impact on any bird species
                   further advice will be obtained from relevant specialists.

      European Protected Species licences
3.30. Natural England has produced guidance in its publication ‘’How to get a Licence’’ as to when a
      Natural England licence is needed in respect of European Protected Species (which includes GCN):
3.31. ‘’Natural England’s view is that:
      A licence is needed if the consultant ecologist, on the basis of survey information and specialist
      knowledge of the species concerned, considers that on balance the proposed activity is reasonably
      likely to result in an offence under Regulation 41 (animals) or 45 (plants); or
      If the consultant ecologist, on the basis of survey information and specialist knowledge of the species
      concerned, considers that on balance the proposed activity is reasonably unlikely to result in an
      offence under Regulation 41 or 45 then no licence is required. However, in these circumstances
      Natural England would urge that reasonable precautions be taken to avoid affecting EPS during
      works, and that an audit trail is kept on the decision-making process. If EPS are found, then works
      should cease until you have assessed (in consultation with a consultant ecologist) whether you can
      proceed without committing an offence. A licence should be applied for if offences are committing an
      offence. A licence should be applied for if offences are unavoidable and the work should not be re-
      started until a licence is obtained’’.
      RAMs Evaluation:
3.32. The RAMs evaluation is based upon Natural England guidance and the ecologist's expert knowledge
      of the species and its requirements. In this instance it is considered that the proposals are not
      licensable as potential impacts can be effectively removed by the implementation of RAMs.
3.33. In accordance with Natural England’s advice, without the implementation of RAMs the effect on GCN
      would be low impacts and might include small numbers of individual newts being encountered, and
      thus disturbed during the restoration (vegetation clearance) works.
3.34. If RAMs are implemented, then the risk of harm to GCNs can be removed and the effect on GCN is
      predicted to be no effect-negligible.
3.35. English Nature’s Great Crested Newt Mitigation Guidelines, 2001, states: ‘’Small scale losses of
      terrestrial habitat, especially over 250m from the breeding pond, will probably have little effect on
      populations but some mitigation may be required’’

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Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

4.     Risk Avoidance Measures (RAMs)
       Purpose of this Section
4.1.   This section sets out the manner in which the vegetation clearance and habitat enhancement works
       shall be undertaken.
4.2.   As a precautionary approach RAMs will be adopted in order to avoid and/or minimize any unforeseen
       disturbance impacts on local GCN populations:

       Scope and Programme of Stoke Park Restoration Works
4.3.   This Non-Licensable Method Statement covers Stoke Park parkland restoration works due to take
       place between September 2018 and the end of March 2019.
4.4.   It should be noted that this methodology has been set out so as to protect against the risk of harm
       from the project arising to protected species. The project ecologists will work with this principal in
       mind. The project ecologists will be at liberty to depart from this methodology if (i) he/she considers
       that this is preferable in the interests of protected species or on the basis that the departure will have
       no worse impact on protected species: and (ii) no offence will consequently arise: and (iii) where a
       Variation from the Non-licensable Method Statement form is completed.

       General Site Management
4.5.   All consumables and equipment are to be stored inside suitable storage containers or raised off the
       ground to prevent the creation of habitats suitable for protected species, including GCNs.

       Access to Works Areas
4.6.   Access to the areas of restoration works will be via established vehicular access tracks (see Plates
       4-1 to 4-3).
4.7.   Use of established tracks will maintain any required buffer zones around sensitive ecological
       features.
4.8.   The Ecological Permit to Work and the Task Risk Assessment will set out a description of the relevant
       access route and will note any prohibited areas.
4.9.   Vehicles will not be permitted within the vegetation clearance areas unless necessary, ideally only
       tracked or low ground bearing plant is to be used in such circumstances. The routes used must also
       be agreed in advance with Bristol City Council and the project ecologist and the procedure below
       followed:
               •     There will be a preliminary ecological walkover of the proposed route;
               •     An Ecological Permit to Work and Task Risk Assessment will be undertaken;
               •     Long reach flail/excavator access will be strictly limited to areas of relatively flat ground
                     on the outside of the site woodlands eastern and northern boundaries;
               •     As required, a hand/fingertip search of the proposed route of the vehicle will be
                     undertaken by the project ecologist;
               •     Other than GCN, if any protected species are identified then the ecologist will capture
                     and translocate the animal in accordance with best practice as appropriate. If a GCN
                     or nesting birds are found, taking into consideration the context and safety of the
                     animal/s, they will be left in-situ with a suitable buffer zone left around it and an
                     alternative route used. Natural England will then be consulted of any GCN found.
               •     The Ecological Permit to Work and Task Risk Assessment will then be updated and
                     issued and the route or an alternative route can then be used when permitted by and
                                                           18
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

                    as specified in this document. Any GCN or suitable GCN resting place will not be
                    disturbed and Natural England notified of any GCN found; and
             •      This will be repeated as frequently as is considered necessary by a project ecologist
                    when vehicles will be using that route. This will vary depending on the ground conditions
                    and the features present along the identified access route.
4.10. In addition to track ways, no go areas, such as prohibited scrub, will be briefed to all staff who will
      also be provided with plans where necessary (these may form part of the Ecological Permit to Work
      and task Risk Assessment). Such areas will also be demarcated with construction tape if necessary.
      Plates 4.1 to 4.2: Existing access routes across Stoke Park

      Plate 4.3: Existing access route leading to Dew Pond area in photo background

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Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

      Vegetation Clearance
4.11. Given the survey findings, likely low population status of the site for GCN, the suitability of the site
      habitats for GCN within the vicinity of the Dew Pond, the area of vegetation within a 50m radius of
      the pond is considered a high-risk zone for disturbing GCNs, the area of vegetation between 50 and
      250m of low to moderate risk, beyond 250m of negligible to low risk (see Figure 3).
      Clearance of dense bramble and thorn scrub
4.12. All dense bramble and thorn vegetation clearance within 250m of the Dew Pond will be undertaken
      under the strict continuous supervision of a suitably qualified (Natural England GCN Class licence
      holder) ecologist. Ecological supervision requirements for dense bramble and thorn scrub clearance
      outside of the 250m pond buffer zones will be at the discretion of the supervising ecologist.
4.13. Areas of most suitable GCN habitat (dense bramble and thorn scrub) within a 250m radius of the
      Dew Pond will be cleared by the end of October 2018.
4.14. No vegetation removal will be permitted unless authorised under an Ecological Permit to Work and
      Task Risk Assessment.
4.15. Vegetation clearance will be undertaken by a specialist contractor under the instruction and
      supervision of a suitably qualified ecologist.
4.16. All areas of dense bramble and thorn scrub within a 60m buffer zone of the Dew Pond will be retained
      (see Figure 1).
4.17. Two 6m wide corridors of vegetation will be retained connecting the retained vegetation (restored
      hedgerows) within the Dew Pond buffer zone to retained areas of dense nature trees and thorn scrub
      (see Figure 5).
4.18. Both prior to and during vegetation clearance works, under ecological supervision, seven artificial
      hibernacula will be constructed at suitable locations (see Figure 2) on the peripheries of the areas of
      retained vegetation. The provision of new artificial hibernacula will increase shelter, including
      hibernation, opportunities for amphibians and reptiles. Proposed hibernacula design is shown on
      Appendix 4.
4.19. Features with potential to shelter GCN will be left undisturbed. If a GCN is found, taking into
      consideration the context and safety of the animal, it will be left in-situ with suitable buffer zone left
      around it. Natural England will then be consulted.
4.20. Any reptiles and common species of amphibians found during ecological searches and or vegetation
      clearance works will be moved by the supervising ecologist to the nearest suitable place of shelter,
      including artificial hibernacula (see Figure 1).
4.21. Where possible, areas of vegetation clearance will be subject to pre-clearance, including
      hand/fingertip, searches by a suitably qualified ecologist before being cut to the specified height.
4.22. All vegetation cleared as part of the clearance works will be sensitively initially reduced to a minimum
      height of 15cm and no lower to the ground, thereby reducing the potential for animals to be injured
      or killed.
4.23. The clearance of vegetation will start from the middle of an area outward, to minimise any animals
      becoming stranded in ‘vegetation islands’.

                                                          20
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

      Long reach flail use
4.24. Where ground conditions and ecological constraints permit (see Section 4.9), access routes for
      machinery will be created through the areas of vegetation to be cleared. The use of a long reach flail
      has several advantages over the use of machinery such as a relatively short reach tractor mounted
      flail or hand-held power tool reduction of scrub as this method reduces the number of access routes
      needed thereby reducing the likelihood of trampling/crushing animals. The following de-veg
      procedure will be adopted for long reach flail clearance of bramble/thorn scrub area:
          •   If possible due to dense bramble, ecological search followed by cutting, no lower than 15cm
              above ground, of first access route using hand held power tools only;

          •   In order to avoid leaving a deep layer of mulch on the ground into the amphibian and reptile
              hibernation period, and in order to facilitate further ecological searches, above access route
              to be raked off, using wooden hay rakes with blunt teeth only, soon after being cut;

          •   Metal rakes are not to be used and rake tooth contact with the ground should be avoided;
          •   Further ecological search undertaken;

          •   Long reach flail will enter and use access route to reach out and cut vegetation 15cm above
              ground level within a wide area;

          •   Under no circumstances should the flail cutting head come into contact with the ground;
          •   Long reach flail will leave above work area via same access route;

          •   Strip of flailed vegetation, searched, raked off, will be used as the next long reach flail access
              route;

          •   Above procedure repeated,
          •   Subject to further ecological searches, during the amphibian and reptile hibernation period,
              areas of vegetation previously flailed to 15cm above ground level, using brushcutters only,
              will be cut down to ground level and the arisings removed soon thereafter, and
          •   Potential amphibian and reptile natural refugia will be left in-situ.
      Hand held power tool (brushcutter and chainsaw) use
4.25. Within areas deemed unsuitable for machinery such as excavator mounted long reach flail,
      vegetation clearance will be undertaken using hand held power tools such as brushcutters and
      chainsaws only, and adhere to the following de-veg procedure:

          •   If possible due to dense bramble, ecological search followed by initial cut, no lower than
              15cm above ground level;

          •   In order to avoid leaving a deep layer of mulch on the ground into the amphibian and reptile
              hibernation period, most of the arisings will be lightly raked off, using wooden hay rakes with
              blunt teeth only, soon after being cut;

          •   Metal rakes are not to be used and rake tooth contact with the ground should be avoided;
          •   Subject to further ecological searches, during the amphibian and reptile hibernation period,
              areas of vegetation previously cut to 15cm above ground level will be cut down to ground
              level and the arisings removed soon thereafter, and

          •   Potential amphibian and reptile natural refugia will be left in-situ.
4.26. The arisings will be raked up, and where possible removed from the site.

                                                          21
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

4.27. No artificial lighting will be permitted, and no twilight, dusk or night working is permitted.
4.28. All plant, equipment and consumables are to remain inside the defined areas at all times.
      Plates 4.4 to 4.6: Dense bramble and thorn scrub within vicinity of Dew Pond

      Areas of dense young ash and hawthorn thinning, understorey removal
4.29. As required, thinning works will be undertaken under supervision of a suitably qualified (Natural
      England GCN Class licence holder) ecologist. With particular regard to areas of dense
      bramble/scrub, areas of habitat affording significant opportunities for supporting GCNs, continuous
      ecological supervision will be required for works within 250m of the Dew Pond (see Figures 3 and
      6).
4.30. In order to avoid the bird nesting season, all thinning works will be completed by early March 2019.
4.31. No thinning operations will be permitted unless authorised under an Ecological Permit to Work and
      Task Risk Assessment.
4.32. Thinning works will be undertaken by a specialist contractor under the instruction and supervision of
      a suitably qualified ecologist.
4.33. Both prior to and during thinning works, five artificial hibernacula will be constructed at suitable
      locations on the peripheries of the areas of retained vegetation. The provision of new artificial
      hibernacula will increase shelter, including hibernation, opportunities for amphibians and reptiles (see
      Figure 2).

                                                          22
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

4.34. Any reptiles and common species of amphibians found during ecological searches, including
      hand/fingertip, and or thinning works will be moved to the nearest suitable place of shelter, including
      artificial hibernacula.
4.35. Features with potential to shelter GCN will be left undisturbed. If a GCN is found, taking into
      consideration the context and safety of the animal, it will be left in-situ with suitable buffer zone left
      around it. Natural England will then be consulted.
4.36. For areas within 250m of the Dew Pond, searches will be undertaken prior to thinning works. For
      areas beyond 250m, searches will be carried out at the discretion of the suitably qualified ecologist.
4.37. Thinning will be undertaken using hand held power tools, including brushcutters and chainsaws.
      Vegetation will be assessed for potential to support protected species. Vegetation will be reduced to
      ground level where features affording negligible potential to support protected species are absent,
      or where suitable features are present, the presence of protected species can be ruled out. For
      vegetation affording potential to support protected species where the absence of protected species
      cannot be ruled out, the vegetation/tree will either be left in-situ, or if reduced in height, stumps will
      be reduced to a minimum height of 30cm.
4.38. Regarding processing of thinned vegetation, the following procedure will be adopted:

           •   Large timber, together with some smaller brash will be used to create habitat piles, including
               linear dead hedging, within suitable locations within retained areas of tree cover.

           •   The use of machinery will be limited and restricted to existing access tracks, sparsely
               vegetated areas and other areas affording negligible opportunities/potential refugia for
               hibernating animals. All machinery access routes and working areas will be subject to
               ecological searches carried out prior to machinery access.

           •   Some timber will be chipped. Chipping should either take place in suitable areas outside
               thinning areas and then removed off-site, or alternatively, chippings will be added to habitat
               piles, thinly dispersed throughout woodland floor or used for future path surfacing works.

           •   No artificial lighting will be permitted, and no twilight, dusk or night working is permitted.
4.39. All plant, equipment and consumables are to remain inside the defined areas at all times.

                                                          23
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

      Plates 4.7 to 4.8: Woodland subject to ash and hawthorn thinning

      Historic hedgerow laying and associated bank profiling, gapping up and fencing/Over mature
      hedge pruning and fencing
4.40. As required historic hedgerow restoration works will be undertaken under supervision of a suitably
      qualified (Natural England GCN Class licence holder) ecologist. For areas of habitat affording
      significant opportunities for supporting GCNs, continuous ecological supervision will be required for
      works within 250m of the Dew Pond.
4.41. In order to avoid the bird nesting season, the vegetation clearance works appertaining to the
      hedgerow restoration works, and any hedge laying, will be completed by early March 2019.
4.42. In order to avoid potential disturbance to hibernating amphibians and reptiles, fencing and ditch
      excavation works within areas of suitable GCN habitat will take place outside the amphibian and
      reptiles hibernation period i.e. during spring 2019.
4.43. No works will be permitted unless authorised under an Ecological Permit to Work and Task Risk
      Assessment.
4.44. Hedgerow restoration works will be undertaken by a specialist contractor under the instruction and
      supervision of a suitably qualified ecologist.
4.45. Both prior to and during hedgerow restoration works, two artificial hibernacula will be constructed at
      suitable locations on the peripheries of the areas of retained vegetation. The provision of new
      artificial hibernacula will increase shelter, including hibernation, opportunities for amphibians and
      reptiles (see Figure 2).
4.46. Any reptiles and common species of amphibians found during ecological searches and or works will
      be moved to the nearest suitable place of shelter, including artificial hibernacula.
4.47. Features with potential to shelter GCN will be left undisturbed. If a GCN is found, taking into
      consideration the context and safety of the animal, it will be left in-situ with suitable buffer zone left
      around it. Natural England will then be consulted.

                                                          24
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

4.48. For areas within 250m of the Dew Pond, as required, searches, including hand/fingertip, will be
      undertaken prior to hedgerow restoration works. For areas beyond 250m, searches will be carried
      out at the discretion of the suitably qualified ecologist.
4.49. Vegetation clearance will be undertaken using hand held power tools, including mechanical
      brushcutters and chainsaws. Vegetation will be reduced to a minimum height of 15cm.
4.50. For areas identified by the project ecologist as affording negligible risk for disturbance and or harm
      to come to protected species, the use of machinery and equipment such as vehicular mounted post
      drivers for fencing operations, small tracked excavators for ditch digging/ soil dispersal will be
      permitted. Ecological searches will be carried out for all areas where the use of the latter is needed.
      Regarding processing of cut vegetation, the approach outlined within Section 4.39 will be adopted.
4.51. No artificial lighting will be permitted, and no twilight, dusk or night working is permitted.
4.52. All plant, equipment and consumables are to remain inside the defined areas at all times.
      Plates 4.9 to 4.10: Historic hedgrows

                                                          25
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

Plates 4.11 to 4.13: Over mature hedgerows

                                                    26
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

      Orchard and parkland tree planting
4.53. Given that this activity will take place during the winter, reptile and amphibian hibernation period, and
      within areas of cleared vegetation and amenity grassland etc, it is considered that no ecological
      supervision of orchard and parkland planting operations is required.
      General works in Stoke Park with volunteers
4.54. It is considered that no ecological supervision of orchard and parkland planting operations is
      required.

      Ecological Supervision, Risk Assessments and Permits
4.55. As has been described above, no work or mobilisation is to take place relating to these vegetation
      clearance and habitat enhancement works without the following documents having been
      completed/signed off by one of the project ecologists:

           •   The Ecological Permit to Work and Task Risk Assessment (see Appendix 1); and
           •   Where necessary, the Variation from Non-Licensable Method Statement (see Appendix 2).
4.56. The variation from the Non-Licensable Method Statement form is to be used in the unlikely event
      that unforeseen circumstances require an alteration to the methods described within this document.
      This form will be completed by a project ecologist. As noted above the project ecologist will be at
      liberty to depart from this methodology if (i) he/she considers that this is preferable in the interests of
      protected species or on the basis that the departure will have no worse impact on protected species;
      (ii) no offence will consequently arise; and (iii) where a Variation from the Non-Licensable Method
      Statement form is completed.
4.57. The Ecological Permit to Work and Task Risk Assessment includes the following details:

           •   Description and location of task including vegetation clearance/habitat enhancement works
               and location plan (if considered necessary);
           •   Description and location of access routes including location plan (if considered necessary);
           •   Confirmation that work team (contractor) has attended site induction and/or attended daily
               briefing;
           •   Confirmation that the risk assessment section has been completed and actioned and a
               summary of the constraints raised by this – this assessment is for ecological purposes only
               to address the risk to protected species not covered by the EPS licence;
           •   Confirmation that all pre-works checks have been made by a project ecologist; and
           •   Confirmation of the level of supervision required during the works – supervision may be
               constant if there is on-going ecological risk or regular checks made during the works if the
               risk is considered to be minimal. This will be noted on the permit and made clear to the work
               team (contractor).
4.58. This permit will only be valid for the day and the task in respect of which it is issued. If a task is to
      span more than one day, more than one permit will be required. This is to ensure that any changes
      to the working area are recorded and addressed appropriately.
4.59. Daily logs and photographs will be maintained as part of the Ecological Permit to Work to
      demonstrate full traceability and an ecological audit trail. Records of any animals found will be noted
      on the permit along with any additional notes or observations of relevance to the works. A recording
      form will be used to keep records of species discovered and other information to be recorded will
      include:

           •   Project ecologist present;

                                                          27
Non-Licensable Method Statement - Stoke Park Restoration Works September 2018 to March 2019, November 2018

           •   Duration of ecological supervision;
           •   Weather (percentage cloud cover/rain/sun);
           •   Temperature;
           •   Species discovered;

           •   Sex of individual discovered;
           •   Age of individual discovered (adult/juvenile);

           •   Area on site from which individual discovered;
           •   Individuals of species seen but escaped; and

           •   Other - general observations.
4.60. Project ecologists will be identifiable either through the use of approved, project specific badges or
      through carrying approval letters. Project ecologists will also be introduced each day to all staff as
      part of the daily site briefing.
      Response in the event that great crested newt, reptile or nesting bird or other animal is found
      during the works
4.61. If a great crested newt, reptile or nesting bird or other animal is found during the works when a project
      ecologist is not present, the works must cease whilst a project ecologist is notified and determines
      the appropriate course of action. Non-ecological site staff must not touch move or in any way disturb
      the animal. Any material which or within which the animal is taking refuge will be replaced
      immediately with caution taken not to harm the animal.
4.62. In the event that this occurs, a project ecologist will undertake a full assessment as to the next steps.
      If a GCN is found, taking into consideration the context and safety of the animal, it will be left in-situ
      with suitable buffer zone left around it. Natural England will then be consulted. Reptiles and common
      species of amphibians will be moved by one of the project ecologists.

      Inductions/Toolbox Talks and Site Briefings
4.63. A suitably experienced project ecologist will deliver an ecological toolbox talk as part of the overall
      site induction to all members of the site team, including the additional supervising ecologist, as the
      start of the project (prior to commencement of any works). Attendees will be required to sign a register
      (see Appendix 3) to confirm their presence and understanding.
4.64. The induction including the tool box talk will be repeated for any new full or part time staff (including
      contractors) member who joins the project after the first day. They will also be required to sign the
      register. They will not be permitted to commence works until this is completed.
4.65. The tool box talk will cover the following key issues:
           •   Background to the site restoration works;
           •   Basic ecology and identification of GCN, common species of reptiles, common species of
               amphibians and nesting birds and how to identify their features of importance;
           •   Legislation, offences and penalties;
           •   The Non-Licensable Method Statement;
           •   Permit to work system including an explanation of the Ecological Permit to Work and task
               Risk Assessment; and
           •   Explanation that if a GCN, reptile, common species of amphibian, nesting bird or any other
               animal is unexpectedly discovered then works will cease whilst the project ecologist is

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