Early engagement with the architects and landscape designers resulted in inclusion of biodiversity enhancement measures that contribute to many actions in the Tayside Local Biodiversity Action Plan. Collaboration ensured bird and bat bricks were integrated into 50% of the new two-storey houses. Swifts are particularly great neighbours as they are very clean with no nesting materials such as twigs or moss for a nest and often swift nest boxes are used by other birds such as sparrows.
To create and improve habitats, a wildflower meadow has been created and native shrubs and trees planted to create connectivity across the site with nearby woodland. A new community orchard will provide food for wildlife and the local community in years and wildlife kerbs have been installed around the new sustainable urban drainage pond. Working with the Street Lighting Partnership has ensured permanent lights are low lux-level, downward facing and directed away from trees and woodland to encourage bats.
To help hedgehogs move around the new gardens, "hedgehog highways" have been created. A network of interconnected nature-friendly gardens includes small holes (13mm x 13mm) incorporated into screen fencing at ground level. This allows hedgehogs to roam freely and access interconnected patches of feeding and nesting habitat. Signage in every garden lets residents know the importance of keeping the highways clear. Hedgehog numbers have declined by 50% in the last 20 years and are now considered vulnerable to extinction. As part of their Mind the Gap project, the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership are asking all householders to go the whole hog and become Hedgehog Champions, and this project is an opportunity to raise awareness among residents.
These measures are being integrated in other housing developments in Scone and throughout Perth and Kinross and has been incorporated into the Council’s new build homes Design Guide so will feature as standard in future builds except off the shelf purchases from developers. As well as influencing future Council projects, the Glebe can be highlighted as an exemplar to other developers.
Embed biodiversity into the project at the earliest stage and work with architects to discuss what is feasible and what can be delivered.
Ensure all biodiversity enhancement measures are carried over onto drawings for buildings and roads to ensure they are not missed and must be retrofitted at extra cost and possible time delays.
Explain the benefits of biodiversity measures to everyone you are working with. Just because you know doesn’t mean others do!
Explain or provide a FAQs sheet for housing staff and residents so they are aware swifts don’t build nests or cause a mess!
The most important advice is to take people with you.