EcoNorth > Northern Spire bridge Ecological Clerk of Works

Northern Spire bridge Ecological Clerk of Works

The New Wear Crossing is an impressive new bridge structure, ECoW, bridge, sunderland

The Northern Spire bridge is an impressive new bridge structure for Sunderland City Council. The design involves the construction of a three-span, cable-stayed bridge with a 105m A-frame pylon, crossing the River Wear. The bridge will have two lanes of traffic in both directions, as well as dedicated cycleways and footpaths along its full length. One of the region’s biggest civil engineering projects, Sunderland City Council envisage the works will revitalise the locality, creating more jobs and economic growth. Farrans-Victor Buyck Joint Venture are the principle contractors.

As the Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) for the project, EcoNorth’s role comprises protected and invasive species site inspections, as well as checks during clearance operations along with ecological permit production and documentation of works in relation to ecology. We have also utilised our specialists such as arboriculturalists and invasive species managers to ensure a wide range of expertise can be managed and deployed rapidly as and when required.

Our Ecological Consultants have produced method statements in ecologically sensitive areas as well as undertaking detailed botanical survey and monitoring, to ensure construction activities do not damage sensitive sites; most notably Timber Beach, which forms part of Baron’s Quay Local Wildlife Site (LWS) and is designated for a range of habitats and species, with saltmarsh being the most notable habitat.

While the project was in its early stages our ecologist provided pre-construction surveys, aiding the project on site set-up. From there we have provided site inspections and checks in areas capable of supporting protected species immediately prior to site clearance. This included breeding bird inspections, otter and badger inspections (including use of remote camera traps) as well as invasive species checks.

Our Ecological Consultants have also devised an Ecological Monitoring and Restoration Plan informed by consultation with the Local Authority and Environment Agency to achieve consent for works within the LWS. This involves the monitoring of saltmarsh habitat and botanical species coverage present in the works area during the construction phase to ensure that the site can be restored to its previous condition post construction.


Project Start & End Date July 2015 to Ongoing
Client Farrans Victor Buyck
Location Sunderland, Tyne and Wear
Contract Value £15,000

‘Farrans Victor Buyck Joint Venture appointed EcoNorth as Project Ecologist for the Northern Spire bridge principally to assist with the discharge of planning conditions relating to the River Wear ecology. EcoNorth have demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the applicable legislation as well as an in-depth knowledge of the local ecology. Throughout the Project they have provided a proactive, collaborative approach and given clear, concise, impartial advice. They have been flexible in dealing with site teams and adapted to changing circumstances where necessary. EcoNorth have assisted the Joint Venture in discussions with our Client and the Environmental Agency in a professional manner to agree practical solutions while maintaining Ecology protection standards. We would have no hesitation in considering EcoNorth for future Projects’  – Stephen McCarthy Engineering Manager, Farrans Victor Buyck Joint Venture, 2017