Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lucky dormice get £190,000 bridges

Dormice will be able to cross a new bypass safely, thanks to three special bridges costing £190,000. The bridges are over the Church Village bypass near Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and are part of plans to protect ecology along the 4.6-mile road. The bridges consist of wire mesh tubes suspended between trees and tall poles.

The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) said the "special treatment" for the dormice met EU rules and it criticised "negative reporting" of the matter. When completed, the tubes will be solid mesh to stop the dormice falling out. As dormice live in trees as opposed to on the ground, their routes have to stretch between trees instead of along underpasses used by, for example, hedgehogs and badgers.

Newts, toads and slow worms have also been given new ponds along the £90m route, which is due to open next month. The specialist work has been carried out by Rhondda Cynon Taf council and contractors Costain, who were legally required to outline wildlife protection plans before the bypass was approved. The Welsh Assembly Government has funded the bypass, including the dormice bridges.

A Rhondda Cynon Taf council spokesman said: "The council and Costain, its contractor in delivering the bypass, is proud of the working relationship it enjoys with the Countryside Council for Wales and the Environment Agency, who required the ecological work to be carried out before planning permission could be secured for the road. Both statutory bodies fully endorsed the ecological work undertaken by the team which enabled planning permission for the road to be built. Such measures are now commonplace across the country and adhere to the current legislation in protecting species of this nature."


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