The site measures 3.2 hectares and comprises areas of poor semi-improved grassland, dense scrub, tall ruderal, bracken, hedgerows, scattered trees, farm buildings, a dry ditch, stone walls and a mature treeline.
The site was surveyed in November and December 2020 based on standard extended Phase 1 methodology.
The site itself is not subject to any statutory or non-statutory ecological designations.
The site lies within 2km of Ulverscroft Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and Billa Barra Hill Local Nature Reserve (LNR). The site lies immediately adjacent to Hill Hole Meadow Local LWS, and a further 12 LWS are located within 1km of the site.
On-site green play and open space, as well as local nature reserves in the wider area mean increased recreational pressures resulting from any proposed development could be appropriately mitigated, preventing damage to the integrity of the designated sites caused by leisure uses.
The habitats of the most ecological importance on site include the hedgerow and treeline (local importance), and the scattered trees, scrub, bracken, tall ruderal and poor semi-improved grassland (site importance). The habitats to be lost in the proposals are predominantly of site ecological importance or lower. The loss of onsite habitats can be compensated for through the provision of new areas of habitat creation including National Forest green infrastructure.
The site is considered to have potential to support a range of protected and priority species, the effect upon which can be mitigated through design and retention of ecological features, and therefore further surveys will be undertaken in the appropriate seasons, these include:
- Update Phase I survey (in optimal season for vegetation);
- Bat emergence/re-entry surveys;
- Bat activity surveys (including static detector deployment and manned transects); and
- Reptile surveys.
The proposals have sought to minimise impacts and subject to the implementation of appropriate avoidance, mitigation and compensation measures, it is considered unlikely that the proposals will result in significant harm to biodiversity. On the contrary, the opportunity exists to provide a number of biodiversity benefits as part of the proposals.