Protecting and Developing Site Biodiversity

The Mepal site is a unique asset for biodiversity in the District.  Consequently, any future use of the site must ensure the protection and enhancement of the biodiversity on the site in accordance with the Council’s Environment and Climate Change Strategy. The Council has therefore undertaken a comprehensive Ecology Impact Statement for the proposed project and for recreational uses of the site. The conclusions of the Ecology Impact Assessment are set out below:
  • The site supports several protected and notable species and habitats which could be impacted as a result of the development
  • Mitigation, precautionary and compensation measures have been recommended by the ecologist and endorsed by the Wildlife Trust. They have been subsequently incorporated into the development proposals for the site to ensure that the proposed design for the project and work programme will minimise any adverse impacts on the ecological features
  • With the implementation of the proposed mitigation and precautionary measures within the Ecological Impact Assessment report, the proposed development is not anticipated to result in any significant adverse residual effects to the identified ecological features. The commitment is to through the development of the site to protect and improve the ecology of the site
  • The Council has been working to establish what recreational activities are possible on the site which are compatible with its ecology.  The ecologists, supported by the Wildlife Trust, have established that recreational activities need to be limited to low impact activities, and limited to certain locations: recreational fishing, lakeside walking, and bird watching. The site will require monitoring in place for five years to assess any potential ongoing impacts from the proposed recreational activities on site
  • Monitoring needs to be undertaken to ensure that the mitigation and compensatory measures described in the Ecological Impact Assessment report have been undertaken to a satisfactory standard. This applies to both the construction and operation phases of the development 
  • Enhancement measures have been recommended within the Ecological Impact Assessment report to ensure net gains for biodiversity are in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the East Cambridgeshire Local Plan
The summary of the Ecological Impact Assessment regarding the future Use and Development of the Mepal Site is available to view below: