VBA, a joint venture of VolkerStevin, Boskalis Westminster and Atkins, worked on behalf of Northumberland County Council to re-instate the B6344 at Crag End where the road was subject to a major landslip in 2012.
In addition to the complexity of the road repair, the works took place close to and within sites which are of very high value to nature conservation. The slopes below the road and the river at the foot of the slope are part of the River Coquet and Coquet Valley Woodland Site of Special Scientific interest (SSSI).
The project won the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East’s Robert Stephenson award. ICE North East presented the award at an annual celebration of civil engineering excellence in the region. With three category areas for entrants to win, the project won against tough competition from five others shortlisted in the large project category (value more than four million pounds).
EcoNorth is proud to have supported the road reinstatement project, having been appointed by firstly Northumberland County Council in early site investigation and by principal contractor VBA during the main construction period. EcoNorth had the privilege of working closely with the project’s team, as the site was not without its environmental challenges, due to the sensitive nature of the location and the abundance of protected species present. The main roles for EcoNorth included undertaking protected species surveys and impact assessments prior to development and later as the appointed Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) during development.
EcoNorth was involved with ecological survey work to inform impact assessments on protected and notable features, this was undertaken in liaison with Natural England, to ensure the protection of the River Coquet and Coquet Valley Woodlands SSSI, along with mitigation measures to protect fauna and habitats.
The project challenged our ecologists surveying capabilities, with surveys ranging from badger, bat, amphibian, reptile, moth and pine marten surveys, using traditional field surveys along with camera trapping surveys for otter and badger and light trap sampling for moths, all co-ordinated to inform the potential effects from the project.
The extensive ecological survey work revealed an abundance of protected species in the area and most notably the south facing slopes provided a haven for reptiles, which provided a challenge during all phases of the project, but have also been very positive in engaging the whole construction team in the biodiversity of the area.
Even following the extensive survey work, the rich wildlife of the area kept everyone on their toes, through some surprises which included a pair of grey wagtails opting to nest in a cavity within the collapsed road and due to awareness of the whole team and zoning of activities still managed to fledge young from this location.
We are delighted the road is re-opened to serve the community of Rothbury but as ecologists we will miss the privilege of working in this location which is one of the most biodiverse sites EcoNorth have worked on. We are also glad to say the site remains a haven for the flora and fauna identified thanks to the co-operation of all the team working to deliver the project.
|Project Start & End Date||2013 to 2016|
|Client||Northumberland County Council and VBA Ltd|
“EcoNorth have proved an invaluable source of assistance during all the phases of our project, from ECI, tender and construction and their professionalism has shone through, they are definitely part of the site team not a passing consultancy. EcoNorth have had the time and professionalism to explain the issues and legislation plus in-putted on methodology to use that would least disturb the ecology and be acceptable to the regulatory authorities. The ultimate plaudit is would you employ them again and the answer to that for EcoNorth is a definite yes.””EcoNorth have proved an invaluable source of assistance during all the phases of our project, from ECI, tender and construction and their professionalism has shone through, they are definitely part of the site team not a passing consultancy. EcoNorth have had the time and professionalism to explain the issues and legislation plus in-putted on methodology to use that would least disturb the ecology and be acceptable to the regulatory authorities. The ultimate plaudit is would you employ them again and the answer to that for EcoNorth is a definite yes.”
Peter Vickers – Project Manager
VBA Joint Venture Ltd