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susTaINabILITy Biodiversity in Key Output 1 (KO1) Measuring biodiversity targets Embedding biodiversity In KO1 the TLP delivered its ‘protect and In April 2012, the Department for best practice enhance biodiversity’ objective by following Environment, Food and Rural Affairs The TLP Sustainability Strategy (TLP, 2012) the mitigation hierarchy. Under the TLP (Defra) launched a biodiversity unit covers 20 objectives across environmental, Transport and Works Act 1992 planning calculation as part of a two year UK social and economic sustainability, with consent and environmental management national pilot test on biodiversity offsetting. biodiversity being just one objective. To system ecological surveys were undertaken This biodiversity unit calculation provided successfully deliver the TLP biodiversity and any mitigation requirements were a solution to TLP’s needs. First it was targets in a robust and transparent manner, incorporated into the works programme, a standardised tool issued by the UK the TLP decided to establish a unique policy in-line with seasonal constraints. On site Government to measure biodiversity. for biodiversity that defined its commitment enhancements such as landscaping and Second it provided a measurement of to have a positive effect on the natural planting schemes sympathetic to the ‘habitat biodiversity’ that added to the TLP environment and its approach to deliver biodiversity of the area were undertaken database of ecological survey data of phase biodiversity benefits. A procedure on along sections of the Thameslink route one habitat surveys and protected species. delivering biodiversity benefits was then within the restrictions of planting on railway This was important because, while the developed and is being rolled out through land due to safety regulations. unit calculation is being pilot tested, it was training workshops to TLP management, considered as only one of many measures project teams and contractors. The aim of In addition to programme’s planning and that TLP used to make informed decisions the training is to enhance staff knowledge legal obligations Thameslink planted ~1500 on how best to achieve a ‘net gain’. of and skills in biodiversity management trees at Woodland Trusts’ Heartwood and, more importantly, engage staff in Forest to compensate biodiversity impact During the summer of 2012, Amelia TLP’s drive for continuous improvement from all permanent vegetation clearance Woodley, environmental manager on the in its biodiversity work. Both the policy works along the route. As part of KO1 Thameslink Programme, led a biodiversity and procedure form part of the TLP ISO lessons learnt it was identified that a feasibility study of KO2 with support from 14001 certified Environmental Management standard method to calculate the amount of biodiversity specialist Julia Baker of Chris System (EMS), which includes auditing each biodiversity generated by such tree planting Britton Consultancy, Balfour Beatty. Amelia project team to monitor their compliance was needed to fully understand the level of and Julia first established the biodiversity with the procedure. biodiversity benefits delivered. baseline (ie biodiversity before habitat clearance) of KO2 in terms of the nature “The success to embedding conservation value and primary ecological biodiversity into a project the scale function of each site. They then assessed of TLP is about making it part of impact of habitat clearance on the baseline everyone’s day job. To achieve this it is and, using the Defra biodiversity unit important that we establish clear and calculation, calculated the number of robust processes through our EMS and biodiversity baseline units and the number provide our staff with the skills and of biodiversity units lost from habitat training to deliver our commitment” clearance. This approach of starting with a biodiversity assessment that included Amelia Woodley, TLP Environment identifying ecological functionality was Manager adopted to have a robust system in place for understanding what the numbers meant Delivering biodiversity benefits – in biodiversity terms. Finally all options for Opportunities to enhance the long-term TLP to achieve its biodiversity targets were nature conservation value of TLP sites are Figure 2: Examples of the variety of different limited. Firstly planting on railway land isidentified with recommendations for TLP to habitats on the Thameslink programme restricted by safety regulations, particularlyembed biodiversity best practice within its operational framework. the type and size of habitats planted near Setting biodiversity targets for to live railway tracks. Secondly biodiversity Key Output 2 (KO2) “The TLP set itself a challenging target features on railway land are at risk of To improve on KO1, for KO2 the TLP to achieve no net loss with an aim for disturbance from railway operations and Sustainable Development Policy (TLF, net gain as we aspire to go above legal damage from vandalism or fly-tipping. 2012) was launched with a new biodiversity compliance. Firstly, as a programme A major challenge for TLP is to achieve target to “maintain our habitat footprint it was important that we understood a net gain in biodiversity when enhancing to achieve no net loss” with an aim to our biodiversity baseline, our biodiversity on TLP sites might not achieve a ‘net gain’. This set an immediate biodiversity impact and the biodiversity be possible or in the best interests of challenge for TLP – to measure not only its compensation we need to deliver to nature conservation. habitat footprint in terms of the amount achieve no net loss with an aim for net of vegetated land on TLP sites, but to also gain. To deliver our target we need The feasibility study identified that offsite measure biodiversity to achieve the target to measure it…the Defra biodiversity biodiversity compensation was required of no net loss and direct efforts to achieving unit calculation provided the perfect for TLP to deliver its target of ‘no net loss’ a net gain towards measures that would solution” because of planting restrictions on railway land. Offsite biodiversity compensation also deliver benefits for biodiversity. This meant Amelia Woodley, TLP Environment provides an opportunity for TLP to add quantifying TLP impact on biodiversity Manager value to its biodiversity work and make a and measuring the outcomes for nature meaningful contribution towards nature conservation that result from its activities conservation. However, offsite biodiversity using a standardised and robust method compensation does not change current that could be implemented across KO2. actions by TLP to protect biodiversity, 18


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