Protecting the natural habitat and wildlife
The River Gwenfro flows around the site and poses a number of ecological and logistical issues. Says our Construction Manager Ian Greener: “It supports otters, which are a protected species, so we set up otter proof temporary fencing until permanent fencing could be installed. This extends into the ground and excludes burrowing mammals from the site both during construction and when the facility is operational.”
One condition of sale by the local council was that a 15m wide ecological corridor be maintained along the length of the river bank. This applied during construction and had to be incorporated as a feature of the design proposal. It protects the whole biodiversity of the watercourse and river bank habitat and creates a buffer for 35 trees.
Inside the corridor, the team then discovered the rapid growth of Himalayan balsam, a cousin to Japanese Knotweed, which required treating.
Approximately 12,000 m3 of excavated earth had been stockpiled on the site from a previous housing development. This needed treating and by re-designing the site levels the team were then able to reuse 10,000 m3 to create a flood platform. The rest was unsuitable and had to be taken away. Ian Greener adds: “We got on site to find asbestos, domestic refuse and old gas cylinders left over by unauthorised temporary occupants.”