17th June 2015
During an ecological appraisal it was identified that our Stonehills site supported populations of Skylark bird species. On the 3rd June 2015, Avalanche Road was thoroughly checked for the ground nesting birds and Ecologists concluded that even though the survey was conducted within typical bird nesting season, no active nests were found. However, due to the potential high levels of breeding activity which usually take place between April-August, Albion Stone have made the precautionary decision to delay the opening of our Stonehills Mine.
Albion Stone have appointed Woodmace Civil Engineering Ltd to complete the first phase of the half a million pound operation to open the Stonehills Mine. The operations were planned to commence with the top soil stripping in conjunction with the Archaeological Programme of works on Monday 8th June 2015.
Michael Poultney, Albion Stone’s Managing Director commented, ‘Whilst it is difficult to suspend such an enormous, well planned operation, we recognise that Skylarks although not rare, have been declining in numbers and the breeding of such bird species needs to be protected. Since we took control of the surface nearly 10 years ago, we have worked with Natural England DCC Ecology teams and the RSPB to enhance biodiversity and the habitat for farmland birds in particular. The management plan has clearly been successful and we are oddly now a victim of that success!’
Joshua Eiles-Clarke of Woodmace Ltd Operations Department also stated ‘We have carefully planned the operations and were commencing with the final public consultation when the news came through that there was a concern about potential nesting Skylarks on the site. Therefore, we are now looking to delay the start date until after the nesting season and will ensure that a suitably trained ecologist gives the site the all clear and we receive confirmation from the planners before the operation commences.’