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‘40% increase in woodland’: This is how the new £40m Gedling Access Road will impact local wildlife and the environment

Work is now underway on constructing the Gedling Access Road (GAR) – a £40m relief route being created to ease congestion in Gedling Village.

And although the benefits to motorists are obvious, concerns have been raised over the impact the new road will have on the local landscape and also the environment, with anti-GAR campaigners saying wildlife and ecology will suffer once construction begins.

But VIA East Midlands and Nottinghamshire County Council, who are responsible for the new relief road, have stated that this isn’t the case and recently shared more details on how the scheme could benefit wildlife and the environment.

Landscape

Nottinghamshire County Council has said that to construct the GAR, 4.16 hectares of woodland needs to be removed, however the landscape design includes for the planting of 5.84 hectrates of new woodland. This represents a 40% increase in woodland area.

They said: “The aim of the landscape scheme for the GAR is to integrate the new road into the surrounding countryside and reduce the visual impact for local residents, users of public rights of way and the paths within Gedling Country Park. The landscape treatments also aim to mitigate ecological impacts and maintain biodiversity.

“The majority of the proposed planting is native species, in keeping with the Mid Nottinghamshire Farmlands local landscape character and includes tree planting, woodland, wet woodland, woodland edge planting and hedgerow planting.  Grass seeding includes species rich mixes and a wetland grass mix to the balancing ponds. 

They added: “Native aquatic/marginal planting will also be carried out to the balancing ponds to help improve biodiversity.”

A JCB begins work clearing land for the Gedling Access Road next to Lambley Lane (PICTURE: Gedling Eye)

Ecology 

The council has stated that the Gedling Access Road scheme includes ‘a substantial programme of ecology mitigation measures and habitat enhancement’.

Badgers

The council said that ‘the design includes badger fencing to prevent encroachment onto the new road’.

They also plan to construct badger tunnels along the route, which have been designed on the alignment of known badger commuting / foraging routes.

The council said they hope ‘complimentary landscaping’ will encourage the use of the tunnels and that the system of road lighting ‘has been designed to prevent the entrance to the tunnels being in areas of higher light intensity’.

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Badger
Tunnels will be built for badgers

Bats

The council said: “Swarming sites at the tunnel entrance and the pepperpots have been retained and protected by the design, which will involve the construction of a 7m high retaining wall around the pepperpot.

They also revealed that a new bat house featuring loose waney edge timber cladding, mortar gaps, wall slots, bat access bricks, cavity wall boxes, and gaps in the mortar ridge, has been constructed at Glebe Farm ‘to mitigate for the loss of a maternity roost in the demolished farm buildings’.

They added: “‘Bat hop overs’ will be planted to minimise disruption to commuting and foraging routes. This will be achieved by planting taller and denser trees up to the road verge. The ‘hop overs’ will be planted between the road lighting columns, to take advantage of the lower light intensity.”

Amphibians

The council has revealed that the Gedling Access Road design includes amphibian tunnels to allow amphibians to safely commute beneath the four arms of the roundabout between the two settling lagoons located within the proposed Gedling Country Park and to the south of GAR from the new waterbody east of the new lagoons.

The also claim landscape proposals include ‘increased scrub planting to the south of the Gedling Country Park lagoons for frogs and toads to overwinter’.

They also said that amphibian and reptile refugia such as log piles and chipping piles will also be included in the landscape scheme design.

Butterflies

The council has said that 100mm of soil which includes seeds that form Birds Foot Trefoil (an important Butterfly larval food plant) will be scraped off during construction and translocated to three receptor sites within the Country Park.

In addition to this, an area of Open Mosaic Habitat will be created adjacent the 4-arm roundabout and seeded with a flowering lawn seed mixture containing Birds Foot Trefoil.

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