From Signal Boxes to Bat Houses, Dorset and Surrey
New Leaf Ecology was commissioned by Network Rail to carry out building inspections of redundant signal boxes in Dorset and Surrey to identify potential for roosting bats. Where roosting potential was identified emergence surveys were carried out and where roosting bats were found, appropriate mitigation was put in place for any proposed works.
It was recommended that wherever possible the redundant signal boxes, or their associated relay rooms, be retained and converted to bat houses.
At Ash Vale in Surrey, the relay room was retained as a Bat House. New Leaf Ecology worked with Network Rail and Dyer & Butler to develop enhancement measures for bats, re-using materials from the signal box. These included the re-use of breeze blocks with missing mortar gaps and and re-use of wood panelling to create crevices for roosting bats, original holes and crevices were retained, a bat access point was created and soil was spread on the ground to increase humidity.
To determine if the enhancements were successful monitoring was carried out the following year by New Leaf Ecology with evidence of bats found.
The measures incorporated as a result of this project were used by Network Rail to develop a guidance document for the conversion of signal boxes to bat houses on other Network Rail projects.
"Alison worked closely with the client team, helping to effectively deal with complex situations and providing timely and pragmatic advice. Her approachable manner enabled positive communication on the projects and therefore led to successful outcomes being achieved." Octavia Neeves, Environment Manager, Network Rail