Preventing birds of prey at Hydrock Group Development

Mitigating Peregrine falcons

The site was formerly home to a coal fired power station and also retains a Grade II listed engine shed as well as the rail line, the development is due to be completed during 2018. The presence of peregrine falcons was a risk to the planned remediation works as peregrine falcons legal protection under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to conserve their numbers.

It is an offence to intentionally take, injure or kill any UK bird or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs and young. It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the birds close to their nest during the breeding season which was the main concern for Hydrock.

Project overview

A specialist remediation contractor, Hydrock Group Ltd, commenced works on the 55 acre site of Northampton’s £330m town centre campus for the University of Northampton in 2014. The site posed an ecological challenge due to rare orchids being present (now relocated) and the appearance of peregrine falcons in the area.  

Our solution

At the time the peregrine falcons had not begun nesting so could not delay remediation works however the potential risk was that it would do so. At time of survey there were clear signs of sustained occupation – guttering and metal work showing signs of being used as larders – which means the site was being used by the peregrines for hunting it primary diet of pigeons.

The objective was to allow operations to continue on site without impacting the peregrine falcons and avoid delays but their potential nesting in area marked for remediation. The main area of risk was a north facing wall that was earmarked for demolition. The height (20m) and ledges it provided along its considerable length (100m) meant it was a high risk area due to its attractiveness for nesting.

The recommended and best solution was to enclose the length and height of the wall with bird netting thereby preventing the peregrine falcons access to it. This would prevent delays allowing operations to continue alongside the peregrine falcons activity without conflict. Further surveying with the site ecologist identified additional areas of risk and suitable methods of proofing were installed.

For advice on legal and risk free bird mitigation measures call your local NBC team on 0333 567 2020.

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