Protecting the environment
Protecting the site’s existing natural habitats is important to us and that’s why we have a separate Ecological Design and Management Plan within our overall vision. .
The Ecological Design and Management Plan considers the impact engineering activities may have on wildlife and sets out standards and procedures to minimise this impact. We have also put action plans in place to help us manage each of the key species on the site including eight ecologically protected species.
The development of Dargavel Village gives us many interesting opportunities to create habitats of different types which will sustain wildlife and help it thrive. A mosaic of water, woodland, and open grassland already provide the perfect place for many different wildlife species.
Within the boundaries of the site, we have at least 24 species of mammal, four species of amphibian and over 100 species of birds, alongside some rare species of fungi.
By working closely with Scottish Natural Heritage, we can ensure that the wildlife and their habitats are preserved or, where necessary, repositioned in the right way. Dargavel Village is unique in that Scottish Natural Heritage has granted five-year renewable licences for managing badger habitats, otter habitats and bat habitats.
Our wild residents
There are a number of active badger clans across the site that tend to feed in specific, reasonably well defined areas on the development. The presence of badgers brings with it certain responsibilities. As a result we have a specific Badger Management Plan in place that outlines the particular actions to be followed to ensure that any work takes account of the conservation status of the badgers.
Our ecologists are continuously monitoring their locations to ensure that the badgers are not disrupted by any of the remediation or construction works. Our ‘Stealth Cams’ capture the badgers’ movements and enable us to track the number of badgers in any one area. As part of the remediation work, we have constructed a number of new setts to relocate some of the badgers to ensure that they are in a safe environment.
We have a variable bat population on the Bishopton site and we have installed bat boxes to provide safe areas for the bats to live. Our ecologists regularly carry out bat surveys on the buildings and surrounding trees before any work is carried out.
We have at least three otters living within Dargavel Village. To make our otters feel safe and at home, we have created, what we call, the Otter Park - a 1,000 meter long waterway in a quiet area on the south side of the site where our otter family can live and play.
Barn owls are a protected species and we have several living within the development. To ensure their safety, we have two purpose-built ‘barn owl manors’ – small wooden houses on stilts that provide the owls with shelter – and a number of smaller owl boxes around the site to provide alternative nesting locations for the owls. We have also worked with our contractors to be build barn owl nesting towers using reclaimed construction materials which give a robust, long-lasting structure.
Throughout the year we monitor the birds visiting and living on the site, especially during the nesting season, and since work began on the development, our team of ecologists have spotted around 100 bird species.
We have to ensure that birds nesting in the trees, buildings or on the ground around the site are protected from any potential construction or remediation works. We have a Bird Management Plan for the protection of birds and mitigating action to avoid flocking birds becoming a danger to local air traffic.
We regularly provide the Scottish Ornithologists Club and Scottish Natural Heritage with details of our bird population.