Saving the bat commute in Loughborough
The Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP) covers 53 ha, making it one of the UK’s largest science parks, and is located at the heart of the Loughborough and Leicester Science & Enterprise Zone. As part of a planned 35-ha development on the site involving the construction of a new 10,000 m2 office building, RSK Habitat Management was contracted by Pick Everard to supply and install a 40-m bat foraging feature.
This was installed to mitigate the loss of a tree belt. It not only helped to screen a newly created bat house, but also to provide a linear foraging and feeding route for the bats. Such foraging features are important to the local bat population not only as food sources, but also as navigational landmarks for echolocation, which assists bats in finding their way to and from their roosts and other foraging locations. When the bats’ normal commute route or foraging habitat is disrupted by a development such as this new office building, it makes it harder for them to hunt and survive. Installing these foraging features at development sites helps to reroute the bats as well as to provide a new source of food.
The project used a comprehensive approach of not only supplying, but also installing, everything needed for the foraging feature. This included the fenceposts and two rows of 3-m-high wooden trellis to provide a higher-level linear feature. When the fence had been built, it was augmented by a species-rich native hedgerow. Owing to the tight timescale, this was an instant hedgerow to provide an immediate vegetative effect. Ivy and honeysuckle were also planted at the base of the posts to improve biodiversity. Several native standard trees were supplied and planted, and additional short-term screening was added.
Through applying practical knowledge, RSK Habitat Management was able to supplement the technical expertise of the client’s project team and licensed ecologist. This collaborative approach ensured that they were able to meet Pick Everard’s tight programme and prevent any costly delays.
As a result, the project was finished on time and to a very high standard, leading to the client stating that they would not hesitate to use RSK Habitat Management again.