Ecology survey to build up picture of wild bridge users

As part of long-term plans to give Rochester’s bridges a thorough overhaul, investigations have been taking place to build up an understanding about every aspect of the bridges and how they are used.

This includes our previous investigations on the Esplanade, as well as much less intrusive works carried out on a day-to-day basis by our Term Maintenance Contractor FM Conway. It also includes a large ecological survey.

All of this ensures we have the maximum amount of knowledge about the bridges and are able to plan works to create the minimum possible disturbance.

The ecology survey is taking place over an extended period, but bridge users may recently have noticed one part of it being carried out: bat monitoring.

This is important because bridges can become a habitat for wildlife, and should any protected species be present they will need to be considered before our works can begin.

An initial ecological constraint assessment identified Rochester’s bridges as having the potential for roosting bats, and so thermal imaging equipment and handheld bat logging devices were brought in to record any activity. Dusk and dawn surveys were carried out according to guidance published by the Bat Conservation Trust.

We now have the results of this survey.

Photographs courtesy of Rob Gilbert, Arcadis