Inquiry date: 26 June 2008
See notes part 1; part 2
Original document(PDF): Day_6_Jones.pdf
S5.7 full proof. Wildlife casualties. Bats should be added to list?
-A question for Mr Billington
Road lighting adversely affect wildlife. Including bats?
Effects taken into account. Difference between mitigation and compensation?
-Mitigation measures seek to reduce or cancel out effects, compensation alternative provided.
When mitigation no longer possible, compensation begins?
How has practicable been interpreted in the context of avoidance, mitigation and compensation?
-Under CPO, must be shown that land essential to the scheme.
Is practicable the same as necessary?
-Land acquisition necessary, enhancement practicable.
P5.9. Description of species of likely to be affected. Mitigation based on species surveys between 2002-06. Verification surveys would be taken prior to commencement. Ongoing process?
At the present time, what surveys are continuing to be taken?
Surveys in 2008?
-Only bat surveys
Surveys since submission of planning application in Feb 2007?
-Only bat surveys, dormice finished Nov 2006.
Last newt survey?
Even though there have been amendments to the scheme since 2004, there have been no surveys of newts?
-Amendments would not affect newts
-Normal practice not to repeat survey within two years.
Have there have been any amendments since 2004 to the Bitterne brook to Glenmore link?
P5.67. IS it correct that to date, there has been a presence/absence assessment and popn size assessment.
Some habitats within 500m of pond would be lost. DMRB10,s4,5.3. Important to check water within 1km within route?
-500m was extent of survey
On what basis, when guidance recommends 1km?
-500m normal range of great crested newts from breeding sites.
Guidance specifically refers to newts.
-not clear why guidance would recommend 1km
-beyond 500m, popn would be highly unlikely to be affected. 250 m normal range.
P5.71. License would be required.
-Would be no effect on breeding pond.
P5.79. Water vole. Date of last survey?
Proposal to put large attenuation pond near Bitterne brook. Has the construction impact been assessed?
-Voles do not move far from water course, very likely to have an effect.
Proposal to put attenuation pond later than 2004?
Maintain there would be no effect?
-Probably have beneficial effect.
Volume 4, Ecological appendices, part 2. Appendix 9.13. Dormice survey by NPA, Dec 2006. p17 of response. 3.37. No perfect survey tool for dormice. Pg2 NPA survey, para2. Found that dormice do not always use tubes when given opportunity. Woods' statement that tubes not perfect survey tool, backed up?
-Agreed, but dormice handbook based on survey, takes into account finding and still recommends use of tubes as one survey tool.
NPA correct when state that dormice do not always use tubes?
-Agreed, but handbook takes into account.
Pg19 response. Badger consult 3.33. Dormouse nest in tube 2. 3.47. Unlikely that leaves would be fresh. IS it not possible to find green leaves in November?
-Not impossible, but would be very surprised
Impact of climate change?
State that RPS could not find honeysuckle near nest. Pg3 NPA report. Where honeysuckle was present, tubes placed close. Appears that honeysuckle is in fact present?
-NPA survey extended to larger area. Still have not found honeysuckle near hedgerow.
-May have been taken from standard methodology.
Mr Langton asked Dr Jones if he were accepting that dormice were present. Dr Jones said WCC were working on the assumption that they were there.
P7.52. Majority of mitigation measures based on well established guidance. Does that mean that not all measures based on guidance and practice?
-Particularly dormice issue, cutting edge mitigation being used
P7.53. Test of overriding public interest is met by scheme.
-Others for establish, but is the case of WCC
Should be imperative reasons of overriding public interest?
P7.55. Only other EPS newts. Now accepted dormice?
What is meant by the 'species' in the area?
-Refers to all EPS
Your evidence that species not be affected?
-Con status not, may be some effects
P7.56. Slight adverse. How arrived at?
-Stage 3 scheme assessment report. 9.12. Table 9.1. Sets out value of species.
-Also look at magnitude of effects. Criteria for assigning effect 9.2
-Matrix on how arrive at level of significance.
-Slight adverse, assessment that popn was of medium importance. Minor negative effect. Equals slight adverse significance.
Effect on great crested newt?
-Slight adverse, for same reasons as dormice.
-Otters would be neutral.
-Slight adverse. Badgers are not EPS.
-Intermediate negative effect. Due to unthreatened conservation status, only slight adverse.
P7.101. No significant effect on sites within 2km. Where does 2km come from?
-Normal search area from Environmental assessment guidance. Could be some effects beyond 2km.
-Took view that no reason to look beyond.
Accept that some annex 2 species have range greater than 2km.
Must assess direct and indirect.
Response 3.22. Site visit 11/06/08. May be that status of sett increased, but road would pass between two social groups, reducing need for crossing.
What was extent of corridor survey?
DMRB. Guidance on mitigating effect on badgers. HA5992. 7.3. 1km necessary to widen area
-Was referring to 500m either side, meaning survey does extend to 1km.
Interactions between groups important?
-Agreed. Road that cut through territory of 1 group would have greater impact.
Could have adverse effect?
-Agreed, will provide badger crossings.
DMRB 8.4. Badgers aggressive, genetic variance achieved from males mating with females from different group. If effected could affect genetic make up.
-Agreed, but stress reduced by badger crossings – well established mitigation measures.
R3.25. Good practice to carry out further surveys prior to construction. Satisfied that all crossing points have been identified?
-In terms of major construction, badger tunnels straight forward to construct, can be easily adjusted.
-will look at again.
-minimal costs to added tunnels.
R3.76, refer Appendix D. Article by Mr Woods. Problems facing dormice fragmentation of habitat. No evidence that dormice use rope bridges. Green bridges should be aimed at, but have down sides?
Take some time to become usable by dormice. Relevant to R3.80, bridges at Chalford at Newton.
How long will planting take to be effective in terms of dormouse mitigation?
-Can plant preformed hedges, dormice require robust vegetation
In intervening what will the effect be?
-Will not cross road on green bridges, but tubes will be constructed to cross road.
For 2 years GB's not taken up by dormice?
What effects will this have on fragmentation of habitat?
-Environmental status report 4.3B, 9.2A. Fig2A in full proof appendices. On the basis that dormice are woodland animals, main habitat are woodlands. Only place where dormice evident between hedgerow Beres Mere and White Scar Hanging. Extent to which dormice move around valley restricted. Permeability not good currently. Provision being provided at location where dormice currently cross. Fig4.3B. Planting along road connects with GB's.
-At the moment connectivity is not good, but there will be connectivity in the future
At present habitat not fragmented by road?
Considered that for popn be sustainable, 20hec required?
-At present around 18 hectares.
Close in principle to providing sufficient area for LT sustainable popn?
Will not be the case unless mitigation will work?
-Enough different methods to ensure mitigation work
How high would you put requirement of certainty?
Means balance of probabilities?
Not as high a standard as beyond reasonable doubt?
Further problem is that popn not at FCS?
R3.87. Agree that license be required?
R3.94. Net gains of 9.2hec. Compensation?
-Compensation and enhancement
How long will take to reach maturity?
-Tall trees would be present from outset.
-Normal planting scheme would take 5 years for continuous vegetation cover.
-Broad leaf veg would take 40 years.
R3.94. Scheme would not have adverse effect on conservation status. However slight adverse effect on dormice. How would slight advice effect on species which does not have FCS, not effect conservation status?
-Given provisions in scheme, con status not effected in LT
What is meant by LT?
-Up to 5 years for cover
R3.95. Natural England satisfied with measures. Does sentence make sense?
-Not grammatically sensible.
R3.100. Dormice encouraged to cross road by tubes. How are dormice encouraged to cross road?
-Not good word.
-Able to cross road
Mr Moorland's Questions
Would other roundabouts have adverse impacts on wildlife interests?
Reptile habitat on old railway embankment.
FP5.62. Suitable reptile habitat. Has field work been carried out on this land?
-ES Appendix 9.7
-Good population of slow worms on disused railway
Any difficulty in clearing slow worm popn?
-If there was a good reason for developing site, then translocating reptiles relatively easy, does not require license.
Difficulty in translocating slow worms from disused to operational railway line?
-Possibly could be carried out.
Would low level lighting designed for bats affect other species adversely?
-Not aware of possibility that other species could be lured.
PPS9 pg3 sets out key principles. 1.2 states that in taking decision appropriate weight should could be given to protected species. 1.6 aim of planning decisions should be to prevent harm to conservation interests. In the absence of alternatives, appropriate mitigation should be provided, or if not then compensation provided or permission refused.
LA's should attach conditions when a planning decision threatens conservation. Statutory requirments must be adhered to. Para99, extent of species should be established before planning permission granted.
European law and PPS9 entirely compatable.
NE will advise on the effect of the proposal on the conservation status.
No inadequancies in survey work that has been carried out. Intensive and extensive. Beyond work done for other schemes.
4m high trees at roundabout would need considerable maintainence, but could be successful if properly maintained.
The biodiversity action plan has been released on 26/06 and is a core document.
A major increase in noise and a major deterioration in air quality would be needed to harm species.
FP5.33. Selection of trees is primarily a landscape issue, but would be determined in one area by their effect on the dormice popn.
FP5.95. Tubes would be hung from the roof of the underpass. There is no experience of using these in the past. Other options could also be considered, including encouraging hedgerow growth at each end of the underpass.
Ongoing maintenance would be required in the underpasses and bat gantries. There is no experience of doing this.
Underpasses would need to be drained and dry for badgers to use, but badgers would use steep slopes.
The frequency at which dormice tubes needed to be replaced would depend on whether they were located on gantries or in tunnels. Tubes in tunnels would need to be replaced more frequently. Expected to last at least 5-6 years.
Original document(PDF): Day_7_Billington.pdf
Evidence in Chief
Mr Billington was asked to read from Para 10 until the end of his summary proof.
Mr Billington was asked to read from s1 and s4 of his response proof.
Mr Billington said that very minor changes could be made to the scheme.
Full proof (FP)4.39. Are terms 'minor negative' and 'slight adverse' using same scale of assessment as Dr Jones?
What is the source of this scale?
-TAG assessment criteria
-Attempted IEA criteria, but did not give level of detail.
Impact will be reduced to minor negative. Overall effect slight adverse. On presumption that all mitigation be successful?
-Would not argue mitigation would be 100% successful
Without mitigation, what would impact and effect of construction be?
-Could be disastrous
-Emphasise that plan is with mitigation
Impact and effect without mitigation in Year 1?
-Only considered with mitigation
-Could be major negative without mitigation
Equate to major adverse?
-again major adverse
Number of bats likely to be killed?
-Have not gone as far as estimating numbers
-Likely to be extremely low
-Almost impossible to calculate
-Mitigation expected to have extremely high level of success
Number killed during construction?
-No deaths during construction
Year 1 deaths?
-Small number of individuals, possibly, at the maximum
-Coming down to zero
-Bats teach youngsters flight routes that they use
-Bats that got it wrong 'not there anymore'
-15 years represents generation for many species
Are any bat species more susceptible to adverse impacts?
-Big, high flying bats least susceptible
-Light sensitive species – two horseshoe species (Annex II), all myota species
Presumably, if there were no road in the Wellhead Valley, there would be no impact on bats?
-No impact from road, e.g. Cold winter
Risks that are present anyway?
-Horseshoe popn currently booming due to mild winters
ES,V4, Part 2. Appendix 9.14. Bat survey 2004. s3 results. Pg8. Evaluation 4.1.1. Surveys suggested hedgerows important White Scar Hanging. Confirmed?
Some bats travel 15-20km.
-Only some species, applicable to area
Bats recorded along route line that have links to BBSAC?
Appendix 1. Greater Horseshoe Bats. Currently restricted South England and Wales. Priority for conservation. Still the case?
-Extended range – breeding colony in North Pembrokeshire. Non-breeding in N Wales.
Wiltshire not priority area?
-High priority wherever they occur.
Wiltshire particularly important for becstine?
Several species listed as vulnerable. What is meant by vulnerable?
-At risk from popn decline.
-Not currently proven to be declining.
Appendix 9.15. 2006 NPA survey. 1.2. 11 species, up to 13. Still the case that there are 11 species?
-13 species now confirmed.
Particularly rich assemblage?
Possibly even richer than BBSAC?
Don't know how many are in BBSAC?
-Do not have data.
Of 13 species, how many Annex II?
-At least 17, up to 21 species, recorded in UK
How rich is the assemblage near Frome?
-Not aware, aware of horseshoes.
Would you disagree with any of the statuses. E.g. Lesser horseshoe endangered?
-In some areas lesser horseshoes common, e.g. SW England
At the time of 2006 survey, various minutes taking place. What is taken from minutes, reflected in report.
Minutes from 26/07/06 meeting. pg2. 4.2. Activity surveys. JK raised issue that assessment was needed to ensure scheme should not have significant impact on SAC.
-Agreed, though JK later agreed no further assessment needed.
CD8.9. ODPM circular 2005. Para 9, consideration of new plans and projects. Reg48 Habitat reg. Appropriate assessment must be carried out.
Para13. Quote from ECJ case. Sets out test for whether appropriate test required.
Para20. Decision taker should not grant permission if project would have significant effect on SAC.
Competant authority must be certain that project would not effect. Reasonable doubt test.
Test should have applied in this instance?
-Data collected throughout year. Concensus of expert opinion that no significant effect on BBSAC.
18/10/06 meeting. Agreed that NPA would include section on SAC and discuss whether scheme would have effect. Left to NPA to consider whether scheme would have adverse effect on site?
-No, lack of detail in minutes
Had it already been decided by October 2006 that no appropriate assessment required?
-May have been other meetings
-Would guess that decision taken at this meeting
ES pg38. Para4.2.4. Reitieration that number of Greater Horseshoe Bats had connections to SACs.
ES4.2.5. Slight adverse. Still position now?
Surveys in 2007 and 2008 not changed assessment?
-Would never remove slight adverse, always risk despite mitigation
ES4.3 Discussion of SACs by NPA. Number of recorded linkages between bats along route and SACs.
-Primary bat route to the W of Westbury.
ES4.3.7. 8% of bats from Brown's folly from SAC. Mitigation regarded as adequate.
-Also English Nature's opinion
-Never found anything in writing from NE.
-If were not happy would have raised objection
NE continue to object in principle?
-No, have changed opinon
-Judged as experts that would not have significant impact
Test is that no reasonable scientific doubt. Very high threshold?
Over what distance is radio tracking possible?
-Keep persuing it, realistically over a range of several miles
Can only be certain that bats that have been ringed and tagged from BBSAC?
What methods used in survey area to catch bats?
-static hand nets in roost
-in earlier surveys misnetting carried out.
Netting for bats comparable to netting for fish?
-Bats use much smaller nets, very fine.
If one casts one's net in the water and casts it in, similar to how bat netting?
-More difficult to intercept bats, require knowledge of where bats fly.
Satisfied that data from netting surveys, provides good scientific judgement of bats in area?
-Netting surveys not adequate, only catch small proportion.
-Netting on its own ineffective
Vol3 ES appendices, excluding ecological appendices. Appendix 3.2. Comparison of routes. E route has detailed information. FW route thorough, but not as detailed. E route: Moderate adverse impact on bats. FW route: slight adverse impact on bats. Nothing like the surveying of the E route done for FW route?
-Not been involved in FW route surveying.
Do you know whether the FW route was surveyed, and to what level?
-Desk studies covered area.
Far more information on bats for E route than FW route?
-Agreed, incomparably more detailed.
-Desk studies variable in quality, and mostly incomplete.
FP5.2. If one component not 100% effective, another component is provided. Vital that safe flight routes maintained?
Designs based on review of road mitigation around the world. FP5.3. No other road scheme has proposed level of mitigation.
Appendix I. Slater. Assessment of discrepancy between deaths and record of deaths. Death rate can be 12-16 times greater than deaths recorded. On average road kill removed within 30 minutes of daylight?
FP5.6. Appendix C, Bondartina. Pg1. Use of artificial hedgerows. Maximum proportion of bats following corridor 20%.
-Only after six weeks, 20% a high success rate after that time
-Proportion would increase after a season
Range 12-20%. Maximum mean 12%.
Accept that majority of bats did not use new route?
-Very encouraging after six weeks
-Must be consdiered that this was a completely new flight route. In scheme, flight route maintained.
Not found figure for proportion of bats who would use new route after existing route severed and replaced.
-20% after six weeks impressive result, as exisitng routes remain,
No evidence to show what percentage of bats will use new routes as envisioned by scheme.
-Agreed, very little data. Cutting edge approach.
-Using best knowledge that is currently available.
FP5.15. Appendix D, pg19. Aware that 67 bats crossed, not aware of proportion?
-Cannot measure proportion
-Maximum of 80 bats crossed route at the beginning of project. 100 bats recorded later.
Clearly figures fluctuate?
Not a great deal of certainty?
-No, problem of studying wildlife.
FP5.17. German study. Satisfied with data?
-Satisfactory data, but would have preferred to have seen data before project.
Relatively low numbers?
-Not per hour, but for one night they yes.
-'How long is piece of string' question
-Must be taken in context of local area
FP5.19. Appendix T. Data does not allow for quantatative analysis. Smaller bats use smaller tunnels, larger bats would only use larger tunnels. 11 species use tunnels, only 5 use bridges. Bridges barely used by bats. Implication that not great deal of research done on effectiveness of tunnels against bridges?
-In the UK no GB's specifically for bats.
-Very little information on UK bridges
Difference in behaviour between UK and German bats?
-Not for the same species, though may be affected by landscape.
FP5.20. Gantry design unproven. Appendix H.
-Very little information on scheme.
No actual data?
-Terrible from a data point of view
FP5.28. Detailed monitering plan being prepared. Still the case?
-Baseline monitering should be in supplementary proof.
-'Hiccup' in document compiling.
-Plan provides data from before scheme comes under construction so can be compared, provide information for minor alterations.
Prof Altringam's proof. 3.1.8. Primary roads significantly more effective at genetically isolating. This scheme is a primary road?
-Yes, but only two lanes.
Difference between genetic isolation and genetic diversity?
-Refer to gene flows between populations, could refer to either isolation or diversity.
Minute from 26/07/06. Rep from English Nature, Julie Swane. Also rep on 18/10/06. Still with Natural England?
-Now working for MoD as ecologist
When stopped working for English Nature?
Bat monitering plan. Solely concerned with pre-construction modelling?
-Agreed, updating previous information
Do we yet have a monitering plan for during construction?
-Higher intensity of monitering
Post construction plan?
When will be available?
-Draft plans drawn up, waiting for feedback from Natural England.
Current surveying work require license?
-Not Reg 48 license.
Not great deal of work before 2004?
-Possibly limited field survey
-First detailed study in 2004
By the time the application submitted in 2007, a great deal more information available.
Difference in information pre-2004 and 2007?
-Extra two species discovered.
-More extensive hedgerow studies.
-Capture and radio tag of bats in nest expanded in 2006. Horseshoes and Bechstein's recorded.
-Buildings within 3km radius studied more extensively – possible roosting site in building found NW of Westbury.
-Other horseshow sites found
-Inspection of Bechstein's roost in Wellhead Springs.
-Other information to be processed
Pickett and Clanger Wood particularly important for Bechstein's?
-Bechstein's's bat tagged, found to be moving north.
WHA116. 26/07/06. 4.2. JK was indicating that an assessment was conditional on survey results. Surveys led to concensus that appropriate assessment not required.
Meetings held around monthly. Two meetings in October.
ES V3 Appendix 3.2. Comparitive table. Volume of information in ES indicated slight adverse impact. Continues to be the case. Slight adverse impact reached because impossible to claim that there would be no impact. 'Slight adverse' at the lower end of the impacts, would not damage populations.
FW route likely to have higher impact, especially on Greater Horseshoe Bats. FW route covers more open countryside. Woods closer by. Higher risk that FW route would have greater impact.
Appendix C. Major part of case to ensure fly-over routes not disrupted. Scheme very different to the Bondardina study, as scheme involves existing route being disrupted and re-built. Bondardina scheme involved construction of completely new route, without destruction of existing route. Far greater chance of success than Bondardina.
FP4.12.2. Bratton Rd does not require licensing, but the other places do. Should be full stop after 'Bratton Rd.'