Situated, in central Bolton, this project aimed to refurbish the beautiful Bolton Albert Hall, transforming the building internals, including the Function Hall and Lancaster Suite, and creating a new café. The project also comprised of extensive external works to create new terraces, fountains and stone repairs, as well as an award-winning roof renovation.
These works, in particular the roof renovation, had potential to affect protected or notable species that may be present.
EcoNorth’s role was to provide ecological support to the project in relation to bats and birds. In particular, the impact of the project on a pair of breeding peregrine falcons that breed on the clock tower.
In order to assess the baseline conditions our ecologist undertook both daytime preliminary surveys and nocturnal surveys on the roof! The result of the surveys aided our consultants in providing recommendations into the work schedule for the project in order to prevent disturbance to both the peregrines and a bat roost located at the very top of the clock tower.
To help Willmott Dixon achieve their programme goals for the project, our ecological consultants were involved at the early stages of the design and build, undertaking an initial daytime bat roost risk assessment and an inspection for breeding birds. During this survey we found that the building stonework was in very good condition, with the main risk to bats being the clock tower and the surrounding roof at this location. On this survey we also recorded the peregrine falcons, but were conscious to not disturb the nest due to their protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
Based on the results, we then recommended bat activity surveys on the structure to record any roosting bats. This involved nocturnal surveys on the roof with a very comprehensive risk assessment and safe working methods, ensuring no disturbance to the peregrines.
A bat roost was discovered at the very top of the clock tower, with a single bat emerging from the area, however we could not pick up the bats echolocation due to the distance between the bat and the surveyors.
From our assessment, it was determined that the bat roost was not to be affected by works. Therefore, our consultants recommended works be undertaken to a Method Statement that would ensure the bats and the peregrine falcons were not adversely impacted. This allowed the project to go forward without delays to the programme as well as continued breeding success for the peregrines, which in 2017 continued to successfully breed on the clock tower.
|Project Start & End Date||April 2015 – November 2015|
“EcoNorth have always provided a prompt and pragmatic service. They have assisted us with a range of ecological issues from Peregrine Falcons and bats in the North West to Kittiwakes and invertebrates in Yorkshire.”
Alison Brough, Senior Environmental Manager, Willmott Dixon Construction