Wildlife relocated to new homes as work on Worthing site continues

Released: Tuesday, 02 February 2021

Hundreds of snakes, lizards, mice and voles have been relocated from a former landfill site as part of Worthing Borough Council's sustainability commitment.

As work to bring Decoy Farm back into use continues WSP Ecology have been supporting the council on the preparation of the site. This included ensuring all wildlife, including the reptiles and amphibians found on site, have been moved to more suitable habitats before any work begins.

As part of the ecological work 74 slowworms and 12 common lizards were moved to Worthing's Heene Cemetery, where their habitat is being looked after by the Friends of Heene Cemetery.

The team worked with the Council's Park Rangers to release all of the grass snakes found into suitable areas of Larkfield, in Lancing. Ecologists also worked with Natural England to close two badger sets.

Rosie Pope, a senior ecologist for WSP Ecology, worked on the Decoy Farm evacuation scheme. She said:

“A total of 235 invertebrate species were recorded at the site. Removing the grass snakes was a slippery task but these beautiful creatures are crucial to local wildlife.

“A successful reptile translocation exercise was completed in that we safely removed approximately several hundred individuals, all now relocated to suitable receptor sites in the local area.

“Reptiles across the UK are declining and protected, so this exercise has been of great value in terms of conservation. Many other measures have been recommended to protect species such as eels and groups such as foraging and commuting bats.”

There are more than 17 acres of land to prepare at the old household waste site due to decontamination, and the work will be complete by the end of March, at which point an outline planning application will be ready.

Worthing Borough Council is looking to develop flexible unit spaces for a range of uses and for various business demands.

The ecology team undertook various baseline surveys to inform recommendations for the construction and design of the remediation and development of the site, in line with wildlife legislation and planning policy.

These included baseline habitat surveys and further surveys for bats, badger, hazel dormouse, water vole, reptiles, great crested newt, fish and invertebrates.

The most valuable habitats have been retained at the site, including the Teville Stream to the west and south, and the willow and poplar tree belts to the east and north, and these will be managed and protected.

Worthing Borough Council is also securing an off-site habitat compensation site that will achieve a net gain for biodiversity based on the latest Natural England assessment methods.

This assessment will be submitted in support of the forthcoming employment-led planning application at the site.

Photo:  One of the lizards of the hundreds of snakes, lizards, mice and voles that have been relocated from Decoy Farm

PR21-020 - One of the lizards of the hundreds of snakes, lizards, mice & voles that have been relocated from Decoy Farm

Photo: WSP Ecology worked with Park Rangers at the Council to release all of the lizards, grass snakes and other wildlife found into suitable areas

PR21-020 - WSP Ecology worked with Park Rangers at the Council to release all of the grass snakes into suitable areas

Photo: Wildlife has been relocated from the former landfill site at Decoy Farm to new homes

PR21-020 - Wildlife has been relocated from the former landfill site at Decoy Farm  to new homes

(PR21-020)

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Page last updated: 10 June 2021