Minerals - Dormouse displacement
Freemans Quarry, Bristol, North Somerset
In order for CEMEX UK Operations Ltd to implement Mineral Planning Consents at Freemans Quarry it was necessary to relocate dormice from mature hedgerows under licence from Natural England.
Unlike many other protected species, dormice are generally ‘displaced’ from sites rather than trapped and translocated. As dormice are primarily arboreal and spend the spring, summer and autumn months in holes in trees and in woven nests in the canopy of trees and shrubs, displacement was achieved by reducing their arboreal habitat to ground level during the winter months, while they were hibernating under-ground. The following spring, when it could be predicted that no dormice would be present, the hedgerows were translocated to an agreed receptor location. The hedgerows were aligned to surround areas of advance compensatory planting. In addition, 50 wooden nest-boxes were deployed in a mature hedgerow on the site perimeter.
In order to provide sufficient information to inform management actions, but also to assess when translocated hedgerows and compensatory planting become suitable to hold dormice, AEcol designed a monitoring scheme using our own Monitoring Framework. The scheme assesses the survival of individual translocated hazel stools and planted trees and shrubs, measures the arboreal connectivity and fruiting status of the translocated stools and compensatory planting and uses static vantage-point photography to assess the progress of the scheme year on year. In addition, dormouse surveillance is performed in order that the ongoing status of dormice in the locality is known.
The translocated hedges have achieved arboreal connectivity, but the advance planting is not expected to represent suitable dormouse habitat for several years to come. In 2015 dormouse nest tubes will be deployed in the first phase of the translocated hazel to see whether dormice have begun to use it.