A destructive search is the final means of ensuring any given site is free from protected species. Destructive searching can involve a number of different services, depending on the species that have been cleared from the sites and depending on the habitat and terrain. Operations might include:
- Strimming or brushcutting
- Flailing and mulching
- Tree Felling
- Topsoil stripping
- Weed spraying
Destructive searches require specialist knowledge and experience, and Knighton Countryside Management Ltd has all the skills in house to carry out these operations – a great asset, as we can easily cope with the unexpected! All destructive searches are carried out on the instruction of an ecologist, and would be supervised by an Ecological Clerk of the Works.
Destructive searches for reptiles and amphibians involve the careful removal of turf and 100mm of topsoil in potentially suitable habitats. This is done with a 360° excavator & bucket under close supervision from an ecologist. Other habitat features such as log, refuse or brash piles can be removed at the same time.
Water vole habitats, such as streams, ditches and ponds, are surveyed by an ecologist and known burrows are excavated under close supervision. The destructive search is often done following phased vegetation clearance to discourage the water voles from re-inhabiting the site.
Badgers – targeted excavation under a watching brief by an ecologist (particularly around badger setts), is only carried out after an exclusion period has been completed. A 360° excavator will be used to dismantle all chambers and connecting tunnels, and the badgers will be prevented from returning to site by the use of one-way gates and meshing over the ground.
Bats – careful dismantling of trees is required, lowering of branches, checking for cavities, leaving wood piled on the ground to allow evacuation (preferably leaving the wood stacked on-site)
Our assorted collection of plant is easily transportable, and because some of our staff are also HGV drivers and plant operators, the necessary machinery can be deployed to site fast using one of our own lorries. This allows us to keep the cost of hiring in, transporting and operating machinery to a minimum. It also means that foremen have a vested interest in arriving on site with the correct equipment, as they take ownership of the job from start to finish.