Winged pigs and Unicorns!

The Applicant claims that the: “existing grass ley fields are of low intrinsic ecological value”. They also claim that replacing them with their ‘improved grassland’, then forever shading it with about 114 acres of impervious PV panels, will suddenly bring about a ‘net increase’ in the biodiversity of the area of 53.69 %. Now that is going to take some doing as the proposed development Site is already wonderfully biodiverse.

The existing high levels of biodiversity are, in part, because the area is surrounded by ancient hedgerows, waterways and fields that have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages. The hedgerows are a ‘Priority Habitat’ which form species rich bio-motorways (the only sort in Dorset!) for wildlife to thrive in the area.

The Applicants Breeding bird surveys identified the likely presence of at least 26 breeding bird species, 9 of which appear on one or more schedules or lists of species of conservation importance. Most of these species were associated with the hedgerows at the Site, except for skylark and corn bunting (which uses arable fields for both breeding and foraging). Territorial displays by skylark were observed throughout the breeding bird surveys indicating nesting. Corn bunting breeding is assumed to occur.

Wintering bird surveys identified at least 36 species using the Site, 17 which appear on one or more schedules or lists of species of conservation importance. Small flocks of corn bunting and linnet were recorded over the arable fields. Both species are Red Listed.

The Proposed Development and removal of the arable fields would impact on notable/protected bird species though the disruption of breeding, and a reduction in foraging and nesting opportunities.


Local Brown Hare is present on Site including arable farmland which will be lost during construction of the Proposed development. Brown Hare is a Species of Principal Importance (SPI). Development at the Site has the potential to cause significant direct effects on brown Hare (e.g., injury/death of leverets, loss of habitat supporting this species, and habitat fragmentation). These effects could lead to reductions in populations of this species at the Site.

The Great crested newt receives substantial protection under wildlife legislation and is also a SPI. Development at the Site has the potential to cause direct effects on Great crested newts (e.g., injury/death, loss of habitat supporting this species, and habitat fragmentation). These effects could lead to reductions in populations of this species at the Site and outside of the Site.


● The Applicant’s Assessment notes that 36. species of birds were recorded during the visits to the Site, including 13 Red and 4 Amber listed. Almost all were associated with the existing field boundaries and mature trees.

● Nine species of bats were recorded in the Assessment. Great crested newts are certainly present in the pond on Site, and the four (unsurveyed) ponds within 500 metres of the boundaries are known to support a local population. The pond on Site is described as dry “for most of the year” but shown in Fig 5. To be full of water!

● Fifty-two species of Moths and butterflies are recorded. Many are rare and associated with the national and international designated sites close by. (Within their zones if influence)

● There are Records of Brown Hare, Badger, Otter, Water Vole, Harvest Mouse, Roe Deer, Squirrel, Hedgehog and Mole.

● Key ‘Interest Features’ include River, brook streams and ditches, an avenue of oak trees. Wide linear features, the pond and ancient hedgerows are a Priority Habitat.

● There is a risk of mortality of Hares during construction and dismantling phases of the development.

● Harvest mice would be impacted by the loss of arable seed production. As would seed eating birds including Skylark, linnet, Yellowhammer and Corn bunting.

● Ground nesting birds would potentially be harmed.

● Six ‘Potential breaches of wildlife legislation’ during construction and dismantling stages of development are identified.

● Fifteen ‘Minor adverse (environmental) effects at site level’ identified in the Applicants Assessment.

● The ‘Internationally Designated’ Rocksmoor Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is 1900 metres from the proposed Site. And the Nationally Designated ‘Blackmoor Vale Commons and Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is 1300 metres northwest of the Site. The ‘Alners Gorse Conservation Reserve is just 1100 meters away northeast.

● There is a Plantation on Ancient Woodland (Humber Wood to the west of the site.

● With six ‘Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) within 2000 metres of the proposed development.

● Mitigation is offered for the identified harms– but it is simply an attempt to ‘gild a Lilly’. The area and proposed Site are already exceptionally biodiverse. The mitigation proposals, while welcome is little more than a land owner would be expected to aim for under the Government’s policy. Government to pay more to farmers who protect and enhance the environment.

Table 3. Species records.

Aardvark EM Ltd 16 SWE Project Ref No: 176  North Dairy Farm August 2020

South West Ecology Ltd.  Ecology Assessment E:  T: 07931 332925 Web:


Brown Hare Lepus europaeus

Brown Long-eared Bat Plecotus auratus

Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus

Eurasian Badger Meles meles

European Otter Lutra lutra HR (2010), W&C

European Water Vole Arvicola amphibius

Harvest Mouse Micromys minutus

Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii

Serotine Eptesicus serotinus

Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus EPS, Hab (1992),

West European Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus NERC (2006)


Barn Owl Tyto alba

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros

Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris

Hobby Falco subbuteo

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Marsh Tit Poecile palustris

Merlin Falco columbarius

Red Kite Milvus milvus

Redwing Turdus iliacus)

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

Skylark Alauda arvensis

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis


Great Crested Newt Triturus cristatus


August Thorn Ennomos quercinaria

Autumnal Rustic Eugnorisma glareosa

Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis

Blood-Vein Timandra comae

Brindled Beauty Lycia hirtaria

Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae

Buff Ermine Spilosoma lutea

Centre-barred Sallow Atethmia centrago

Cinnabar Tyria jacobaeae

Deep-brown Dart Aporophyla lutulenta

Dingy Mocha Cyclophora pendularia

Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages

Dot Moth Melanchra persicariae

Dusky Brocade Apamea remissa

Dusky Thorn Ennomos fuscantaria

Ear Moth Amphipoea oculea

Figure of Eight Diloba caeruleocephala

Forester Adscita statices

Garden Tiger Arctia caja

Ghost Moth Hepialus humuli

Grass Rivulet

Perizoma albulata subsp. albulata

Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae

Grey Dagger Acronicta psi

Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae

Heath Rustic Xestia agathina

Knot Grass Acronicta rumicis

Large Nutmeg Apamea anceps

Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa

Marsh Fritillary

Euphydryas aurinia

Minor Shoulder-knot Brachylomia viminalis

Mottled Rustic Caradrina morpheus

Mouse Moth Amphipyra tragopoginis

Oak Hook-tip Watsonalla binaria

Oak Lutestring Cymatophorina diluta

Pale Eggar Trichiura crataegi

Powdered Quaker Orthosia gracilis

Rosy Minor Litoligia literosa

Rosy Rustic Hydraecia micacea

Rustic Hoplodrina blanda

Sallow Cirrhia icteritia

September Thorn Ennomos erosaria

Shaded Broad-bar Scotopteryx chenopodiata

Shoulder-striped Wainscot Leucania comma

Small Blue Cupido minimus

Small Emerald Hemistola chrysoprasaria

Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus

Small Phoenix Ecliptopera silaceata

Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi

Sprawler Asteroscopus sphinx

Wall Lasiommata megera

White Admiral Limenitis camilla

White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda

Protection levels

EPS European Protected Species includes species from Bird (1979), Hab(1992)

and HR(2010)

W&C (1981) or WCA species included in the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) Schedules

1(birds), 5(animals) and 8(plants)

Hab (1992) European Protected Species from Habitats and Species Directive II and IV

HR (2010) or Hab 2/4 Habitats Regulations (1994) includes those now covered by Conservation of

Habitats and Species Regulations (2010)

PBA (1992) species protected by the Protection of Badgers Act (1992) S41

NERC (2006) Species of Principle Importance in England, NERC Act (2006), Section 41 list

Government to pay more to farmers who protect and enhance the environment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: