Icknield Port Loop, Birmingham 2022

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Biodiversity enhancement in Birmingham’s canal-side neighbourhood…

Icknield Port Loop is an urban regeneration project in the heart of Birmingham’s ex-industrial centre. The initial phases of the site have already won awards for their regenerative initiative in housebuilding.

Prior to development, Icknield Port Loop was home to numerous brownfield sites, acting as a space for nature in the heart of the city. Ecology Resources began working on the project in 2021 to deliver arboricultural surveys and in 2022 began work on ecological impact assessments (primarily bird and bat surveys). Our initial work found that the site was used by Schedule 1 species black redstart Phoenicurus ochruros, a bird closely associated with our urban spaces, and common pipistrelle bats. As the project developed it became clear that the site offered a brilliant opportunity to enhance the site’s biodiversity.

Black redstart Phoenicurus ochruros

By 2023, Ecology Resources had begun working in collaboration with town planners, architects, and environmental consultants to ensure that the 4th phase of the project is delivered with biodiversity at the forefront. Artificial integrated bat and bird boxes were recommended and well received by project architects and a bat friendly lighting strategy was designed to make the space safe for residents without disturbing local bat populations.

A habitat survey and preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) was then conducted to inform the Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) Metric and determine the value of the site for nature. By working closely with landscape architects, we were able to design a biodiversity enhancement strategy and post-intervention proposal aimed at maximising the BNG output of the site. Habitats were carefully selected for their value and suitability and fed into a soft landscaping plan to provide space which can be shared by wildlife and people.

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